Growing up, museums were not a thing in my family. For whatever reason, the few museum trips in my early years were those of class field trips, and to be honest they were few and far between. I do recall a group of eight grade friends taking the subway to the Museum of Natural History.
I was a bit apprehensive about the logistics: we had to go beyond the familiar no. 6 train and there were unchartered waters to be navigated. Fortunately, others were braver than I and their older siblings had written instructions for us on a piece of paper that my friend Nonie had stuffed into the pocket of her bell bottomed blue jeans. It was an adventure to be had, and we were curious about the planetarium, I'm pretty sure that it had more to do with a song by the Moody Blues than anything else. But that Saturday opened a door for me, just enough to make possible future trips that would take me to other museums and the great works of art hanging on their walls. Often without straying beyond the no.6, which meant I could go alone.
Yesterday I visited the Hispanic Society of America to see the Sorolla murals. It was, in a word, breathtaking. How had I never seen, never known about the Sorolla murals? Or the paintings, the manuscripts and rare books that are housed there?
In my defense, it's a very big city.
Perspective has a lot to do with it. The Hispanic Society is exactly 6.1 miles away from where I grew up ... and I knew nothing about it, never even saw the building, until yesterday. Maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it back then, but I'd like to think I might have.
Here's the thing: it's not hard to find. Not then, not now. The subway and buses run nearby. The parking is a breeze. The admission is free. Need I say more?
You should go. Take a teenager if you can.
Postscript: if you happen to tell the guard where you grew up, and he happens to live in your old neighborhood, you might get lucky. He might be able to get you behind a few closed doors. And you might spend an hour or two in heaven... you'll feel like it's all been there just waiting for you to stop by, even if it did take you 40+ years.
And that experience was worth the wait..