Do you like visiting museums? Here's a thing that I do when I travel, that you can do too.

Look up local public libraries and university libraries. Click around their website to find their "special collections". Contact the library & ask if you could spend some time in that collection. They will often give you a "finding aid" and ask you to tell them what stuff you'd like to handle. Do that instead of or in addition to visiting local museums. It's like a museum but you are the only person there

I have described this as "the opposite of going to a nightclub" and it's my favorite tourist activity.

Here, I wrote a little blog post detailing how I go about making these appointments with libraries when I travel.

@darius you are an inspiration. this is definitely preferable to museum visiting for me!

@darius That's awesome, I am going to try to remember to do this next time I go anywhere. Maybe @RAPIDPUNCHES has cool stuff in their library

@darius this is honestly the best blog post I’ve seen in years

@darius I am extremely interested in the specifics of how this works. Like, I tried to do this once at the Strong Museum archives but I only had a very vague idea of what I wanted to look at and NO idea of what the norms around it were - what is reasonable to ask to do, what it would be like when I got there. They replied with some helpful suggestions of things I might be interested in looking at but it still felt super intimidating and I didn't end up going.

@darius I should do this more. Also, Museums often have interesting special collections you'd be surprised exist because even the Museum doesn't know what to do with them.

Two local examples of surprising special collections I've bumped into:

The University of Louisville has a giant Edgar Rice Burroughs collection for odd reason.

The Kentucky Science Center has a fascinating collection of Circus miniatures from an old gift to the Louisville Museum of Natural History.

@darius As an addendum don't forget to look into large galleries, which have (sometimes multiple) storage places you can go to checkout works that aren't on display. And there are lots of film archives and things like that too, though some places get a bit restrictive. I also saw a video about a synth museum the other day, so there are gazillions of places you can access all sorts of stuff you might not expect to ever be able to!

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