The City Museum: when peter pan moved to St. Louis and built a playground in an abandoned shoe factory!
Being from Chicago, I am desensitized to city attractions; sure, tourist attractions cool and I enjoy visiting them, but they end up being just another attraction in another city I will forget about a week later. Typically, when I think of a city I think of it in a holistic manner, the city as a whole filled with various monuments, attractions, eats, etc. It is a “seen one, seen them all” sensation. But when I think about St. Louis, one specific, one of a kind attraction comes to mind. There is nothing in this world like the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri.
Though I did not think about this until now, everything that makes the City Museum so magical is related to the architecture of this massive urban playground. It is difficult to describe the experience in words that could do it justice; with each visit I found my experience to be different, discoveries to be new, and appreciation to be heightened. I distinctly remember my first visit, running all over the place, climbing on and crawling under as many things as I could, taking endless amounts of pictures of the seemingly random, but beautiful, “parts” that make up each floor of the museum. The museum is so jam packed, full of the most intricate, unique, recycled, and strange materials. It is entirely overwhelming, the space and the materials, the colors and potential of the architecture allows for a magical experience. You can climb on everything, you can slide, swing, hide, explore, and essentially get lost in the endless discoveries from the underground tunnels to the fourth floor, to the roof and outside.
Writing this post I feel as overwhelmed and random and I do each time I enter the City Museum. There is a structure built with no structure, seemingly no organization, no plan- just the coolest materials used to create the coolest, most magical and unique urban playground I have ever seen. The “parts” would not be considered compatible in any other building, it would seem crazy to think that a massive mosaic, a whale, and a rusty rolling slide could be placed in the same building; and that is exactly what makes it so genius. Continuing to try and think of ways to describe the wonders of this Museum will only lead to more unstructured rambling, an inability to find words that can do it justice, and a longer post. Instead, I will end here and leave the rest of the story to be told by the photos in hopes that anyone who reads this post will visit the City Museum the next time they are in St. Louis.