Tag Archive: Museums

This week I wanted to blog about some of the great establishments and opportunities to check out that are geared towards the art and shopping scene. Downtown Hot Springs has a multitude of great shops and stores that carry some very unique pieces of art for your viewing pleasure, including the popular Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).If you know me, then you know that a day of art and shopping isn’t my idea of a perfect day (if you catch my drift), but after spending the day at the MOCA and hopping around different shops in the downtown area, I clocked out from work pleased with what I discovered…

 The MOCA is a fairly new establishment moving into the newly renovated Ozark building on historic bathhouse row in 2009. The MOCA features art from many new artists from around the world as well as numerous works from big names that are recognizable throughout the globe. The major exhibits in the museum change quarterly, with something new coming in every few weeks or so. One of the major exhibits this quarter is a very distinguished name in photography, Ansel Adams. Adams was a master photographer of the American landscape from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. The museum displays 50 photographs by the legendary photographer, which in my humble opinion are actually pretty awesome to look at. Other big names displayed in the museum include Garcia (figurative expressionism), L.M. Chan (leather sculpture), Renzo (lucid realism), and even early sketchings from Rembrandt.

The MOCA is fairly small in size in terms of square footage, it took me around 30-45 min to walk through it, but maximizes the amount of art it displays despite the small amount of space. As I alluded to earlier, I did enjoy going through the MOCA and looking at the different art (the sculptures were my favorite). If you’re an art lover and in the area, you have to make the MOCA one of your stops.

The MOCA isn’t the only artist’s haven in the city however, the downtown area in the Spa City contains many galleries and shops that hold unique and often local art for your viewing pleasure, most of which is for sale. Some of the different galleries include the Fine Art gallery and the Blue Moon gallery, located right next to each other. I walked through both of these places and found many unique and local works from around the city. If I had some extra money to  spend, I would definitely go downtown and buy up some of the art in these shops. The fact that most of the artwork is from local artists in the area makes it that much more appealing.

Another thing to check out is the gallery walk that is held on the first Friday of every month. The gallery walk is a great time where you get a chance to stroll through the different art galleries downtown, with cheese and wine tasting stations set up throughout, and also get a chance to chat with the artists who also turn out for the event.

Overall, Hot Springs has a vibrant and enlivening art community with many opportunities to check out art in its varying forms. I, not being an art person, still found the chances to check out different works from big names to local artists enticing. So, I would definitely recommend checking out the MOCA and downtown galleries to anyone who has any interest in art and also to those of you who are simply looking for something fun to do in downtown Hot Springs.

Contact: MOCA -(501) 609-9966, www.museumofcontemporaryart.com, Blue Moon Art Gallery -(501) 318-2787 www.bluemoonartgallery.com

Location: MOCA -425 Central Ave, 71901, Blue Moon Art Gallery -718 Central Ave, 71901


Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum

 Have you ever seen anything on display anywhere that was so real and life-like that it was a little creepy? Well, that’s exactly how I felt the entire time I was in the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum. And, before you say anything, I know…I’ve been blogging an awful lot about museums lately right? Well, Hot Springs offers so many great museums, it’s a little hard not to…

The Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, as I recently learned from The Gangster Museum of America, stands now where the old Southern Club used to be. The Southern Club is where many people, including the notorious gangsters of the era (Capone, Luciano, etc) would come to relax and have some fun. Now converted to the Wax Museum, people still flock to this famous site to cool off and entertain themselves.

 I’ll admit it, at first I was a little skeptical as to how “real” the wax replicas would be but, was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The waxy models on display were like clones of the people they were representing, down to the approximate size and shape of the body, color, and life-like hair.

As soon as you enter into the Wax Museum there are already some Wax figures that watch you patiently, as they wait for you to buy a ticket and ascend the stairs up to the first big exhibit. The first exhibit at the top of the stairs was probably my favorite out of all of them, it depicted Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” This display featured Jesus and his disciples eating together around a long table the night before Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Apart from looking so much like the actual painting, the exhibit featured an audio narration describing each character depicted from left to right. There were many interesting exhibits such as this one that made use of a lot of different audio and visual spectacles, such as narration and movement of the figures themselves.

Many of the rooms in the museum are devoted to a different and excentric theme. For example, there is a royal theme (Princess Diana, etc), horror theme (not recommended for children, it was freaking scary), and even a make-believe theme devoted to children’s tales and fables (pirates, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, etc).

All in all, the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum was a pretty good stop on my tour of Hot Springs’ attractions. I was pleased with the value and quality that went into each display and exhibit. I would recommend trying the Wax Museum to anyone and everyone at least once, and if you get nothing else out of it, at least it gives you the chance to step right on up to President Obama’s face and tell him exactly how you feel about him!

Location: 250 Central Ave, 71901

Contact: (501) 623-5836, www.rideaduck.com/waxmuseum/index.php

This is it…The Mid America Science Museum is my first stop on the road to finding out all the fun things to do that Hot Springs has to offer. When I first entertained the idea of touring the M.A.S.M my immediate thought was that this was a place devoted and geared totally towards children and would therefore not work well with what I am setting out to do. However, I soon learned that I was wrong.

Being that game 2 of the NBA Finals was on TV the same day that I toured the museum, I figured that my thoughts would be mostly fixated on the upcoming big game (which my Lakers won by the way!), but as soon as I stepped foot onto the walkway that led up to the majestic 65,000 sq. foot building that housed the museum, all my other thoughts were swept aside.

The museum itself, which is the largest in Arkansas, is nestled within 21 acres of scenic beauty and even offers nature trails to hike that wind in and out of a free-flowing creek. Once inside the museum, you are immediately greeted by an interesting assortment of gadgets and displays that capture your attention straightaway. The lobby hosts the museum’s shop which holds intriguing souvenirs as well as a large amount of educational items for sale.

The M.A.S.M’s mission is to “Stimulate interest in science, to promote public understanding of the sciences and to encourage lifelong science education through interactive exhibits and programs.” Now, I know what you are thinking, “Education? Learning? I did enough of that when I was in school!” But the M.A.S.M does an excellent job at delivering numerous exciting, interactive and interesting displays that keep your attention, while maintaining and conveying a high level of educational information. From 3 dinosaur exhibits (including fossils, animatronics and video animation)to space/astronomy exhibits, walking through and interacting with  these different exhibits can really bring out your “inner-kid” and placate any history buff. The museum even holds a Guinness World Record by possessing the world’s most powerful conical Tesla Coil! This metal giant puts out a staggering 1.5 million volts of electricity and is truly a sight to behold when in operation.

The M.A.S.M was a great find for me and is a place that I consider worth going to check out if you are ever in the Hot Springs area. The “totally geared towards little kids” persona is officially debunked and while it remains a great place to take children, it also holds many entertaining activities to occupy a 20-30 year old. I would recommend touring the M.A.S.M for someone of any age! This was a an awesome first stop for me and I will continue to keep you up-to-date on my findings for the next one!

Location: 500 Mid America Blvd., Hot Springs 71913

Contact: (501) 767-3461, 1-800-632-0508