The title seems promising, especially by covering smaller and lesser know museums, but it is way too talky, with people from each place mostly promoting their museum and saying how wonderful it is. I hoped to see some of the important things the key museums have, especially at the Gardener Museum, not listen to promotions. In addition my interest is in art and there are too many pseudo-museums here on areas such as baseball, jazz, musical instruments, New Oleans. Maybe that appeals to the uneducated who generally don't like museums. The choice isn't really Great Museums; it is Lower Tier Places that think they are museums.
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I must respectfully disagree with the previous reviewer (W. Lynn Johnson) about this set. While I have not watched the full 7 DVDS yet - the total running time is 22 ½ hours! - I gave watched 10 of the 36 programs so far - spread over three of the "genres" and have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the rest. Each of the programs - produced between 2002 and 2011 - was made by the same company and the quality is consistent. Most of the shows are 26 minutes in length with a few (New Orleans, for example) running nearly an hour. By the way, that NOLa episode - which appears to be the most recent (2010) is not about a "museum" as we know it. It about the whole French Quarter of the Crescent City , which is really a "living museum". And the program on the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi goes beyond the physical museum's walls to cover the wider Blues trail.
You can probably tell I like music museums and that is what brought me to this DVD collection but I enjoy Art and pop culture too. I might not get to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame but the program on it gave me a feel for what I'd see. I live in Philadelphia, where the Franklin Institute is located and, honestly I haven't been there for 20 years. But the 26 minute program showed me that some of my favorite exhibits are still there (and still relevant) while they show the newer, more technical exhibits. I doubt that many who watch this collection will get to Vermillion, South Dakota, where the National Music Museum is located. I, for one, had never heard of it but it houses one of the largest musical instrument collections in the world, with over 15,000 instruments, growing from a private collector. There are other "specialist museums" included in the set (The National Museum of Women in The Arts", The California Surf Museum, and the Institute of Texas Culture.) All are in the US (where more than 15,000 museums exist). Sure, not EVERY museum will appeal to everyone but the producers do interview the curators of each one and give a pretty good feel for what to expect. And, in every episode I learned at least something. As I said, I'm far from done watching the full set but I've loved what I've seen. The series has its own web site ([...]) where you can see samples and decide for yourself if the show is as interesting to you as it was for me.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful. Steve Ramm "Anything Phonographic"
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