Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ottawa -- part 2 (with more photos)

I didn't dwell on it, but I thought it was actually kind of neat that the kids first visited Ottawa after the fall of Harper.  Anyway, hopefully next time we'll score some tickets to the Parliament Building tour.  It's hard to say what the best part of the trip was, since we saw so much.  I think both the kids enjoyed the Aviation and Space Museum but agreed it would be a one-time visit.

My daughter really liked the Children's Museum, and I have to say it was probably one of the better ones I've seen in a while, though the play it encouraged was definitely more centered around learning about other cultures than moving blocks around or trying out pneumatic tubes or what have you (a bit more physics oriented).  My son feels that he is too old for a children's museum and just wanted to get through it at quickly as possible.  I thought the main area of the Museum of History (formerly the Museum of Civilization) was nice, but a bit one-note.  Essentially everything except an odd gallery of postage stamps was about First Nations culture, and, even within that framework, it was dominated by First Nations from the Pacific Northwest.  I saw very little that explored the peoples of the Arctic or near Arctic.

As a total aside, I was joking with my son about how the house he wanted to build -- totally open plan -- sounded like a wigwam.  He said he needed more space than that, so I said he should build a two story wigwam.  We riffed on that for a while and decided that The Split-level Wigwam sounded much funnier.  I think I will lift it and stick it in my novel somewhere.

My favorite museum was naturally the National Gallery.  As I mentioned, I enjoyed the Monet exhibit.  Probably my second favorite (after the one actually in the National Gallery collection) was this one from the Musee d'Orsay.

Claude Monet, The Coal-Dockers, 1875

My daughter was generally a bit bored in the National Gallery, but did enjoy the workstation where she was able to make her own art.  She also liked the big spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois that was outside the entrance (my wife did not like this at all, especially when she saw there were spider eggs about the size of ostrich eggs up inside the sculpture).

Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999

Interestingly, it does not appear I posted any photos from my solo trip to the National Gallery (except a couple of Lawren Harris paintings here).  Many came out ok that time, though I was able to get better photos of a few paintings this time, include the Tom Thomson and A.Y. Jackson paintings below (my son particularly liked the Jackson).  I still couldn't get a good shot of Yvonne Housser's Cobalt, however.  Well, maybe third time lucky on our next visit.

Tom Thomson, Autumn's Garland, 1915-16

A.Y. Jackson, The Red Maple, 1914

I can't possibly post all the interesting paintings, but I will add this Pissarro painting which prominently features a bridge, since it ties together so well with the Monet exhibit.

Camille Pissarro, The Stone Bridge in Rouen, Dull Weather, 1896

I was also pleased that I managed to get some better shots of George Segal's The Gas Station and Cales Oldenburg's Bedroom Ensemble.

We were getting a bit weary, but we pushed on to the Museum of Nature.  Clearly the big draw was the dinosaur bones, but the other floors had interesting exhibits as well, including this huge tarantula (that predictably thrilled my daughter and left my wife flustered).

I think that sufficiently covers the trip.  As I already mentioned Kingston was ok, but probably not a place I will visit again without a very good reason.

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