In many places on the internet, my username (when it’s not Nicole) is “iheartmuseums”. Back when I was trying to go with something a little more personal but not my actual name, I figured.. well, this is pretty accurate! Despite all the other things I’m into, I’m a museum lover for life. I’ve had a few people wonder recently about my username and what it is I love so much about museums, so I figured this irregularly scheduled TILT can be about that!
(I’m just going to pepper this post with some of my fave museum pics from the large Flickr set I have, to make it not a giant wall of text!)
I grew up in a rural town not near any large cities with museums. I was lucky enough to travel each summer to Sydney with my mum and/or grandmother, and would frequently visit the Australian Museum and the Powerhouse Museum. It was astonishing and awe-inspiring for a kid like me who grew up watching all the Attenborough docs she could to be able to walk around institutions like those and see the collections and research and exhibitions all around me and realize there were people doing this as their jobs and their careers.
As I got older I traveled to Sydney each year less and less. My connection with museums waned. It wasn’t until my last (or second last?) year of high school that it sparked again. My ancient history class took a field trip to Brisbane (about a 5 hour drive from where I lived!) to visit the Antiquities Museum at the University of Queensland, as well as the Anthropology Museum at the same campus, and also the Queensland Museum. I remembered that same wonder and awe, being surrounded by objects and information and stories.
A few years later, I ended up attending the University of Queensland. In my first semester as an anthropology/archaeology student, we visited both the museums I’d been to back in high school and I had this weird feeling. Not (just) of deja vu and realization that hey, I was back in these places, but also that I belonged there. That finally I’d decided to study something and be in a place where I could engage with museums not just as a visitor but as a student, a theorist, a collection manager, and… well, and a nerd.
Sure, you say. I get excited about museums. But why do I heart them?? Hold your breath.. There’s quite a few reasons. Starting with that physical feeling – being surrounded by the architecture of museums, the large gallery spaces, the historic buildings and the enormity of that. The interesting and necessary research being done behind the scenes. Being in exhibitions that show you the history of a place or of a people. Learning things outside your limited experience of the world. Expanding your understanding of the world and how that can positively impact your respect of the environment, animals and people living in it. The beauty of objects, natural or made by humans (or even sometimes animals).
What draws me in most of all is objects. This really reached out to me during my studies, and shaped my interest and focus on museums and material culture. Objects have such power and history and information and stories contained in them. Every little thing about a piece in a museum’s collection says something. Be it a stone tool from Africa, a fossil from China, a textile from India.. Where did it come from, what is it made of, who made it? When you look at the texture of it, you think about how it came to be. What was it used for? Natural history specimens tell a whole story of their own, not being made by humans – but their origin and genetics are key; a lot of research is done looking at museum collections over many years to see the narrative of the change of species and their environments. There are quite a few museums with specimens of extinct species, which as objects are full of information and history. Looking at a Dodo in Oxford was something that sparked a lot of things for me.
Nothing drives me more as a museum visitor and as an enthusiast than fascinating objects and how they connect me to the world. When I’m working in a collection, I’ll always crave finding out more through the databases and object history files. When I’m in a gallery, I’ll always seek out interpretive information. Objects have stories – some of them short, long, interesting, simple – and museums go a long way to sharing those stories. I love that, and I love museums.
See as I’ve been traveling/living abroad since 2007, there’s a few things I miss not just about home, but also my first ‘home away from home’, London. Getting a bit nostalgic today for things & places that I can’t have with me here in Toronto.
Beaches. Not that there’s no beaches in the UK or here in Canada. But I miss those beautiful sandy Pacific beaches! This is Avalon Beach in North Sydney, where I spent many summers as a kid. Things only get better as you go north up the coast into Northern NSW and Queensland, too!
I miss the stuff I packed up & left in boxes with my mum. Books, records and comics. And awesome art like this gorgeous museum sketch by artist Phil Jimenez.
There’s tasty things I miss. I seriously was so in love with these tofu bites, it’s like they were laced with something addictive. Last time I was in London I ate a whole package riding transit back to my friend’s place.
And wonderful Australian vegan treats like these cruelty-free versions of Tim Tams and Mint Slices! omg.
And never mind all of the sweet, tart, amazing ciders that I used to have access to living in England. And drinking my fair share at the Green Man pub in Central London!
But I don’t have to be far away from some things I love to miss them. While I still bake for fun and treats, I do sometimes miss the fun of making delicious vegan (and some gluten free) treats like I used to at a certain board game cafe. I was proud of my work, even when I was undervalued for my contributions. Like, c’mon. Check out these donuts, man!!
Hello! Here’s an excuse to share cute pictures of Jake putting up with the gaming we do. Poor tortured soul.
Then there was that one time he just gave up and slept on the shelf.
But sometimes he comes to conventions with us!
In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, it’s great to see discussions online already. The wonderful organization White Ribbon here in Canada led an International Women’s Day Town Hall discussion on Twitter, which talks about all of the intermingling issues such as healthy vs toxic masculinity, violence against women, feminism and sexism. I love the work they’re doing – take a read of this short piece on Men’s Roles and Feminism to see just one of the reasons why. This is all pushing my brain to write something up for IWD this Sunday.
I love this website designed to seamlessly loop a variety of ‘white noise’ in various flavours, however you wanna mix them. I’m finding it’s really helping with my ability to focus and relax during a work day, and I’ve even tried the timer fade out in the app, which is awesome for calming my brain at the end of the day when i’m trying to sleep. Right now I’m enjoying some waves, fire and a touch of singing bowl.
I can sincerely say that I never thought I’d be this in love with the Gilmore Girls. So far this year I’ve ripped through 3 and a bit seasons of it on Netflix, and while it’s not perfect, it’s still a gem. Positive female characters, looking at all the different kinds of people women can be, how making mistakes is a part of growing up, and (the biggest thing for me) showing a mother/daughter relationship like Rory & Lorelai, are all rich parts of the show.
My new sweats! I fucking LOVE them. So comfy. I got in on the black-on-black action so I can be sneakily sweary at all times wearing them. Hahahaha.
As a lovely coincidence, today is my 13th vegan anniversary! Being vegan is one of the things I love most, and I never look back or question it. By now it’d be kinda weird to be any other way, it feels. For me, for the planet, for the animals, for the delicious food. And yes, for the super powers.
I mentioned it earlier in the week, but my love for Sleater-Kinney is all-encompassing right now and especially for this animated Bob’s Burgers video for A New Wave.
Trivia and related things are something I really love, and also museums – recently I got to combine going to a museum and a scavenger hunt, and it was super fun! We did the “Murder at the ROM” scavenger hunt organized by Urban Capers (not associated with the museum). It was great. I knew my way around pretty well which helped, but we ended up tying for 2nd place! Sigh. Here’s a couple of pics I Instagrammed on the day.
I love becoming more active and being a contributor to the board game community! I’m hoping to keep it up and get to BGGcon to meet some of the folks I am chatting with online a lot too. For now, I’ve been writing a bit for the Daily Worker Placement, and also chiming in for the Spooning Meeples round tables and it’s been good fun.
I don’t love that Parks & Recreation is over, but I did like the way it all wrapped up. A nice send-off. The cast was on Late Night with Seth Meyers which was pretty fun, and they had a little singalong (below) along with some general chats about the finale (here and here).
Alright friends. Let’s think happy thoughts. First up, because Craig on the show and his anger management tactic of listing things he loves is totally relevant..
We spent much of our anniversary evening last night catching up on the latest season.. It’s gonna be over soon 😦 So sad. This is really the only comedy/sitcom I’ve legit laughed out loud at in forever. That and maybe Bob’s Burgers.
I’m still loving where I work and my new job! It’s been a great couple of months settling in and starting to get to know people. I love the spaces, the places, the people, the programs, the objects. It’s just great being here, y’now?
I still can’t believe how amazing Bunners is. That bakery is killin’ it, with amazing and delicious vegan & GF treats. I mean, I love gluten, but I will ALWAYS put Bunners in my mouth. Here’s a couple of recent, love-themed highlights. So delish.
And finally, I love sending/receiving snail mail! I’ve probably mentioned it before. But I get so excited. This week I sent a little package off to a Twitter friend in the Seattle area, and also started on doing Postcrossing. It’s so neat just having people on tap to send postcards to! Postcards are my fave, I love their little snapshots and their sense of ephemera. If you, reader, ever want to exchange postcards, I’m more than willing to do so!
Tofurky pockets! Dude, they’re vegan hot pockets. Oh man, so good. I have these ones and they’re handy for a quick work lunch snack.
I got myself a new water bottle recently, and I’m finding it is actually helping me drink more throughout the day! It comes with me to work, and the gym, and if i’m out for the day too. Solid!
I’m very fond of Isa Does It, and we’ve still got so many things to try. Right now our constant go to is her “lentil-a-roni” dish, which I LOVE and is so freakin’ quick to put together and you can tinker it if you really like. We use GF pasta, and usually throw in some kale or spinach at the end. It’s a treat with some almond parm on top! I don’t want to link to the recipe where I’m not sure it’s reproduced with permission, so get your hands on the book! It’s worth it.
I’ve started rewatching Twin Peaks (my shiny blu-ray set!) in advance of a trivia night at the start of Feb. I love this show so damn much. And I about flew out of my seat when I heard the news Kyle McLachlan will be back for the new episodes. COOP.
Book club! My friend MeShell started up the Toronto Veg Book Club, and I love it because it (a) gives me a chance to read books I might not normally think to and (b) I get to get together and hang out with lovely vegan folks and eat delicious food while we chat about the books! This weekend we’ll be chatting about the Lucky Ones, which I just wrote about. And eating all the things at Bloomer’s. CANNOT WAIT.
How’s your Thursday, folks?