Instead of sitting in a classroom, LSA junior Joe Rothfarb’s class took a trip to the museum.

Paul Wong

The University of Michigan Museum of Art, located across from the Michigan Union, and the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, located on Geddes Avenue, are two museums on campus open daily and frequented by students for assignments, class trips and fun.

Rothfarb said going to the museums is a good alternative and a way to make the subject matter more real, applicable and meaningful.

“A lot of the time, it’s good for class. It goes along with some subjects you take and you get to talk to people and discuss topics while you’re there. I think it works very well,” he said.

He added that trips to the museum are also great places to approach the person “you’ve been looking at across the room all semester” and impress them with museum knowledge.

Ricky DeNardis, a Business junior, said he thinks having museums nearby is a definite benefit to students, and that he feels it is worthwhile to “take advantage of all that the University has to offer, including the local museums.”

DeNardis said that his favorite museum on campus is the Museum of Art because of the variety of continually changing exhibits it offers students.

“If you appreciate art, it’s a must-see,” he said.

He added that he feels lucky to be attending a school with an art museum conveniently located on campus because it provides him with opportunities he would not be able to take advantage of otherwise, including a chance to enrich his college experience.

“Your college experience is what you make of it. It can start and stop with classes or it can be a continual four-year experience. Taking in some of the cultural aspects of the University can really add to the experience,” he said.

The museums are also ideal and original places to take a date, DeNardis said, for a chance “to stroll hand in hand through the galleries” and explore exhibits. “It beats the usual ‘go-to-dinner-and-a-movie’ date,” DeNardis said.

For LSA alum Nathalie Dube, the art and natural history museums were places she returned to more than once when she had some free time or to take a break between classes.

She said she liked the fact that the museums are very accessible to students and that she could go back as many times as she wanted.

“It’s not like it’s a whole day thing. You can just pop in and walk around when you have some extra time. I could come back a few times and still see stuff I hadn’t seen before,” Dube said.

Another advantage to the museums, she said, was that she did not have to go out of her way or get dressed up to go inside. Experiencing art and history without having to pay money was another big bonus, she added.

“You don’t have to pay. You don’t run into that a lot and it’s definitely worth taking advantage of,” Dube said. “It’s a good chance to see lots of different stuff without having to go all the way to Chicago or Detroit.”

The museums give students a chance to see science and art up close, opportunities Dube said should not be missed because “once you’re out of school, it’s just that much harder to have access to that kind of opportunity.”

Dube said she remembers walking up to the dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History museum and being amazed at how close she was to the artifacts.

“You can walk right up to them and really look at them – I don’t think I’ve ever been that close to dinosaur bones before,” she said. “It’s very interesting stuff and I think it’s worth it to go check it out.”

Located off-campus on East Ann Street, The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum offers students another local museum option. The museum charges a five dollar admission fee to students with valid student identification.

Law student Pierce Beckham, who went to the Hands-On Museum for a day out with friends, said he enjoys the many activities at the museum, especially the “tornado machine” which creates a miniature vortex visitors can watch and run their hands through.

“You get to play around and enjoy the activities,” Beckham said. “It’s a fun break from campus life – you get out, you get more in to town, you get away from the stress.”

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