I have been to the Louvre, the Getty, the Uffizi, the Smithsonian. All of these and more have I visited. After today, none of them are in the running for the title of GREATEST MUSEUM ON EARTH. For today we went to the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.
It used to be a shoe factory, but now all 600,000 square feet of the building has been given over to interactive sculpture. It is the brainchild of the late Bob Cassilly, who recruited a team of 20 artisans and crafted a museum made out of the city. Yes, you read that correctly – the sculptures are all made from materials reclaimed from St. Louis itself.
The point of this museum is not to sit back and appreciate from afar the genius of a bygone era. No docents will ever tell you, “No pictures.” There are no signs saying, “Do not touch.” You will not find an interactive map anywhere.
Even as you are gawking at the immensity of the structures, you are enticed to touch, climb, crawl, twist, slide, and swing through reclaimed pieces of St. Louis. This is what makes this museum so extraordinary. If you’re like me, you’ve always wanted to explore an abandoned city, but that pesky risk of radiation poisoning or falling through a floor has stopped you. Hesitate no more:
We spent many hours here and didn’t see half of what the museum has on offer. It’s one of those places that needs to be on your bucket list at least twice.
Some hints for your visit:
- Wear long pants and sneakers. These will help you climb and slide! If you have pants with zippered pockets all the better, as you can place small items like your phone or camera there without risking them falling many floors to their death.
- If you have a pair of volleyball knee pads, wear ’em.
- You won’t be able to (and you won’t want to) take a bag or coat with you into the museum. Either don’t bring them or be comfortable checking them at the door.
If you don’t leave this place bruised, dripping in sweat, and deliriously happy then you did something wrong. Go back in and try again. Check the website for hours and ticket prices; they change based on the season. We were there in the middle of the week, in the morning, in September – we basically had free run of the place since school was in session.