At The St Louis City Museum of Fun

View through a screen at St Louis City Museum

The weekly photo challenge asks us to share something that is layered, with depth, density or texture. My first choice is a view through a mesh screen into a cafe in St Louis’s City Museum. It’s not really called the City Museum of Fun, but it’s a play house for all ages, and a bewilderingly fertile gathering of inspiration and creativity.

How many galleries can you think of that hold family sleepovers – i.e. can persuade whole families to spend that much time in a museum? The longer I was there, the more I felt like my head was going to explode with impressions.

A pair of retro robots

In the midst of the madness, the repose of these retro robots completely captured my heart – although I’d have felt a bit worried if the closest one had started shaking that cocktail shaker. I can be cautious when it comes to interior decoration, but these two can come and live with me any day. The pattern on the apron looks like it’s been dreamed up by some form of artificial intelligence and the coloured lights reflecting in the metal create a nice, vertical layering effect.

City Museum Hall of Mirrors

The mysteriously lit hall of mirrors, with its patterns and echoes, seemed to sum up the sensory overload I was feeling, after scrambling through tunnels, climbing, regularly losing my companion and being enchanted by some detail – texture, colour, material, sheer fantasy – everywhere I glanced.

Child on a slide

Our visit to the City Museum had been a payback from the fates, which had peremptorily imposed an extra, unplanned overnight stay in St Louis by rendering our vehicle temporarily inoperable.

The first treat came from an 80 year old navy veteran, now a part time security guard, who gave us his bottle of water when he noticed we were stranded in the sunshine. Then a thoughtful taxi driver made us aware that the museum existed, determined that we would like it, and pretty much insisted that we find time to go there before leaving the city. The next day, some lovely ladies at the car repair shop not only announced they had fixed the car, but treated us to a spare City Museum ticket when they heard of our plans. Three acts of kindness, much appreciated, that will always colour my view of St Louis.

Sculpture of a little man clinging to bubble shaped metal

I’m wondering if this sculpture of a man clinging to a bubbled wall is by Tom Otterness – a number of his sculptures were on display there. I’m not familiar enough with his work to know for sure, but seeing the pieces in the City Museum made me want to find out more.

It would be lovely to go back to St Louis and do the whole museum again one day – hopefully without the pesky car troubles. And this time, I’d be better prepared – allowing much more than a squeezed-in hour and perhaps wearing the blinkers they put on race horses, to stop me trying to look at everything at once. If you’ve been to the City Museum, I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, as our taxi driver said, “you gotta go”.

27 Replies to “At The St Louis City Museum of Fun”

    1. Part of the experience is watching visitors of all ages exploring – getting in the driving seat of a bus that is balanced over the edge of a multi-story building, and climbing up giant slinkies etc.

  1. Sorry for your unplanned overnight stay here in St. Louis but at least you did get good advice for a place to go. All my family has been to the City Museum but for some reason not me. I do plan to go someday. I have been to the top of the Arch twice though, unlike many St. Louisans who have never been. I like your acompanying photos, especially the last.

    1. We didn’t climb the arch. You’d love the museum, especially if you could manage to arrange to get in there to take pictures when it was closed to the public.

  2. You have captured the whimsy of a fantastical place! A place where dreams begin, for the imagination to go wild! Thank you for sharing this exciting slice of St Louis (although your circumstances were less than enticing!)

    1. You’re right – I can imagine a lifetime of dreams starting out there for creative children. It must be amazing to be able to visit regularly.

  3. Whoa! Sensory overload indeed! I love the hall of mirrors, though I can’t say why. It’s too bad about your car, but what an opening for serendipity!

    1. It is a treasure trove of opportunities for anyone interested in photography. The only issue is lots of people enjoying themselves get in the shots. It would be a great place for people photography too because of that.

    1. Adventure sums it up well. You’ve made me think that while museums work to build some interactivity into the experience of visiting them – with varying degrees of success, this museum would benefit from the opposite. For example, an online library where visitors could look up information about the materials, artworks, artists and techniques on display.

        1. It was full of life, but the real issue for me is that there was so much going on visually. Everywhere you looked there was something of interest.

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