I used to be obsessive about museums. I paid my fee. I went in the front door. I viewed every gallery in order on every floor from start to finish until I’d seen every single item. I did this once at the Louvre. Took me eight hours and that’s WITHOUT a snack or lunch break. (Or bathroom break given the state of French bathrooms. But that’s a different post.) I’m smarter now.

The first big breakthrough was finally living in a place long enough that I could visit a museum more than once or twice. That allowed me the luxury of actually getting a membership to a museum. In most places, and certainly in San Francisco, that means you pay a flat yearly fee and you can visit a museum any time you want for free. Suddenly, museum going is something that can be squeezed in to a routine shopping trip. And you can run in and see just one painting, then go. Hmmm. Driving to the hardware store. The De Young is on my way. Maybe I’ll nip in and see “Boatmen on the Mississippi” one more time. Have to go across town. I’ll have lunch at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Maybe I’ll check out the Impressionist Room. Or maybe I’ll just give Rodin’s The Thinker a quick glance.

The ability to do “Drive-By Museuming” becomes even more valuable if you have a baby in tow. Tiny babies, especially those under six months of age have a notoriously low tolerance for works of art. You’d better scope out the rest room with the changing table and the cafe with a discrete corner first because somewhere after the third gallery, you’re going to need them.

Not that little Amelia May, who is my new museum-going buddy, is fussy. It only took a quick turn around the Faberge exhibit to get her totally acclimated to museum-going. In fact, the difficulty with her, as I noted in this post, is that no matter how precious and exquisite the artworks on display, everyone is much more interested in seeing The World’s Most Beautiful Baby. It can slow progress through the galleries. But we can’t let her beauty stand in the way of her cultural education. So today her mother, Susi, and I took Amelia May for her first visit to the De Young.

Since we are both members, we were ready to do a spate of “Drive By Museuming”. I wanted to pop in and see the extensive permanent exhibit of Oceanic Art. Susi, who is married to the man with the largest collection of Tikis and Trader Vic’s memorabilia in the world, said it would be like touring their garage. So we settled on what we thought Amelia May would most be interested in.

Theres a wonderful collection of contemporary portraits of George Washington. We decided it was time for Amelia to meet the Father of His Country. Even if shes half British.

There’s a wonderful collection of contemporary portraits of George Washington. We decided it was time for Amelia to meet the Father of His Country. Even if she’s half British.

 

Then we found a display of American Chairs through the Ages. Naturally, a stroller with the World’s Most Beautiful Baby should take pride of place in that display.

Amelia May is a work of art. Of course, she belongs here.

Amelia May is a work of art. Of course, she belongs here.There’s not a lot of Cowboy Art at the De Young, but I managed to sniff it all out.

Albert Bierstadt anyone?

Albert Bierstadt anyone?

How about a Frederick Remington?

How about a Frederick Remington?

Ive always liked these busts of a Hopi man and woman.

I’ve always liked these busts of a Hopi man and woman.

And this is fascinating. A Sacramento Indian painted as if he were an English Country Gentleman.

And this is fascinating. A Sacramento Indian painted as if he were an English Country Gentleman.

Then just a quick breeze through one of the African galleries, were we saw this “Marital Head Rest”.

I love the chain that connects the two. The bonds of matrimony?

I love the chain that connects the two. The bonds of matrimony?

And that’s about when Amelia May decided it was snack time. So we repaired to the Cafe and Sculpture Garden.

Yup. Thats enough culture for today.

Yup. That’s enough culture for today.

 

Next up for the Most Beautiful Baby in the World, and now, the Most Cultured Baby in The World: The Treasures of Bhutan at the Asian Art  Museum.

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