Saturday, March 7, 2015

Edward M. Kennedy Institute and Worcester Art Museum

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute open to the public on March 30th. Inside the structure is a replica of the U.S. Senate and the tablet technology allows each participant a chance to vote as a Senator-in-Training.

When you enter the building, you set up a profile as a Junior Senator, which allows you to participate in various votes and committee meetings. After your photo is taken, you enroll in a party and choose a state to represent. You then follow the prescribed issues of the day that range from immigration, education, defense, civil rights, and so on.

A participant learns how the Senate works after getting a tutorial on how the U.S. government was miraculously formed by the Founders of the Republic. You then learn the process of a bill and you work together to pass particular legislation. You can see the difficulty of passing even a favorable bill between the House and the Senate. For instance, our group successfully negotiated the topping of an ice cream sundae but could not get the house to agree on the toppings. The result: We will not have a National Sundae Day.

Most moving for me was the replica of Senator Kennedy's office. I admired his library but I was taken with the artwork displayed in his office as it was from his family. I learned he, too, was a painter. I liked the New England scenes he created.

The technology in the exhibit halls is great. Technology displays images onto blank walls that can be changed quickly. No permanent artifacts have to be worked around as the technology controls the visual stimuli. It is a creative way to establish a museum.

I also visited the Worcester Art Museum before stopping by the Kennedy Institute. The atmosphere of the museum was very calming. The integration of the Higgins Armory collection into the permanent collection is a stroke of genius, despite the unfortunate closure of the armory.

There is artistic depth in the Worcester Art Museum. In some ways, I wish I lived closer because I would be able to take the inexpensive art courses they offer. I will take a Saturday day soon and make the trip back to the museum simply so I can take it in on a more leisurely pace. It is certainly a trip worth making.

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