Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: Reflections of Asia

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Hello everyone,
It has a been a while since I last wrote a review for Rebecca’s blog and this one will be a very detailed and interesting review of the new Reflections of Asia exhibition now on at the Powerhouse Museum until 2020. As a volunteer, I am responsible for exhibition interpretation and program delivery via tours. This review will encompass both the exhibition experience as a visitor and as a volunteer.


The exhibition encompasses over 500 objects from the 10,000 strong Asian collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). These objects are divided into 7 main themes that reflect the main collection areas, including wood and laquer work, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and dress, small treasures, and contemporary fashion and art. In the exhibition, each theme is highlighted by a particular individual responsible for contributing to the current state of that collection area. Continue reading “Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences: Reflections of Asia”

Iolani Palace

On our final day in Honolulu we visisted the stunning Ioalni Palace located in the Capitol District near Downtown Honolulu. The palace was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and served as home for the last reigning monarchs of Hawai’i. In 1962, the palace was registered as a National Historic Landmark and is the only royal residence in the United States.  Visiting both the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace truly allowed us to gain a much deeper understanding of Hawai’i, its culture and its history.

There are two main ways to explore the palace, by guided tour or by audio guide. We decided to opt for the guided tour as audio guides can be a little frustrating. Both tours run through the first and second level of the palace. Continue reading “Iolani Palace”

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

As well as swimming at Waikiki Beach and enjoying the amazing food, I really wanted to visit a couple of museums and heritage places in Honolulu. The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (aka Bishop Museum) is the State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Primarily, I wanted to visit to learn a bit more about the history of Hawaii. In particular, how it became a state of America. This post is going to cover both a temporary exhibition currently on display titled Unreal: Hawai’i in Popular Imagination and highlights from the Bishop Museum’s permanent collection.

Unreal: Hawai’i in Popular Imagination

This sounded like a very intriguing exhibition, displaying how Hawai’i has been presented and ‘sold’ to the world. When you think of Hawai’i what comes to mind? Hula dancers, surfers and beaches have been used for decades to paint a picture of Hawai’i as a literal tropical paradise. The exhibition looked at how these images aren’t as harmless as they seem and integrated artworks produced by native Hawaiian artists to show alternative depictions. Continue reading “Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum”

Los Angeles Conservancy Walking Tours: Art Deco

Yesterday was our final day exploring Los Angeles. We have had an amazing time enjoying some of the museums and heritage places on offer. This morning, we joined Los Angeles Conservancy Walking Tours for an Art Deco tour of Downtown LA. In total, we visited 12 stunning examples of this architectural style. Our guide, Janis Ashley, was so knowledgeable and presented such a fascinating tour. It was less about the niche architectural features and more on the stories of the buildings and their owners.

We started, however, with a quick refresher on what makes a building Art Deco. This style was popular from circa 1925 to the start of World War II. It was named after the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs held in Paris in 1925. There aren’t any hard and fast rules for what makes a building Art Deco. Some constant features include vertical lines that draw the eyes up and ornamental features. Continue reading “Los Angeles Conservancy Walking Tours: Art Deco”

Museum of Tolerance spending our morning at the famous Santa Monica Pier, we decided to visit the Museum of Tolerance. I had heard about this museum a couple of times during my postgraduate study so I was interested in experiencing it for myself. We hadn’t planned on going because it was a bit out of the way from everything else we wanted to do/see. That was until I discovered there was a bus from Santa Monica that stopped literally at the entrance to the museum.

When we first arrived we were directed by a lovely volunteer who gave us a lot of information about the exhibitions. She also recommended a route through the museum that we followed. Continue reading “Museum of Tolerance”

The Getty Center

Today we spent the entire day at The Getty Center…literally the entire day. We arrived just after 10 am and didn’t leave until 4.30 pm, an hour before closing. My feet are screaming at me, but, it was so worth it. As well as exploring on our own, we joined a collections highlight tour and went on a Museum Hack tour!

I am going to write about our day hour-by-hour. It seems like the most rationale way to approach what was an absolutely massive day. I don’t think I’ve ever spent this long at one cultural institution. Continue reading “The Getty Center”

The Griffith Observatory


Perched high above Los Angeles is the Griffith Observatory. It is often publicised to visitors as the perfect place to see the Hollywood sign and learn a little something about the universe. If that doesn’t persuade you to visit, you might also recognise the Observatory from the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause. This film is one of the 300 that feature the observatory’s facade.

We visited purely because I wanted to see the skyline of Los Angeles and watch one of the many films on offer in the planetarium. I love seeing anything to do with space even though it completely freaks me out how small we are in the bigger picture. Continue reading “The Griffith Observatory”