Going to the Rubin Museum I felt like I was walking back into my trip to Tibet. I was surrounded by the symbols, statues, art, and feelings of that mountainous, spiritual, unique region and that’s the point. The museum showcases artifacts from the entire Himalayas region and they have areas in the museum set up to provide you with unique experiences even better, the museum rarely feels too crowded to enjoy them.
Rubin Museum location: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011
Open Days/Hours: Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday they are open 11 am – 5 pm, and Friday they are open 11 am to 10 pm. M/T/W – Closed.
The Smell Experiment
The first experience that I found myself exploring was a smell experience. I was greeted by a set of 5 screens, each one started with the push of a button where I was supposed to inhale the scent with short breaths and then evaluate how they made me feel and what I thought that they were. Then on screen, I saw the person who crafted the scent speak about where the scent came from in their lives and the meaning that it had for them. No scent had a singular meaning, as after answering what feeling I had from the scent, I saw that there was rarely a truly dominant answer among responders.
The Anger Experiment
The next experience I had involved a set of gongs that could be lowered into the water just beneath them. The goal of the experience was to transform anger through sound and stillness. The instructions (appearing as an image at the bottom of this post) asked us to focus on our anger then hit the gong and lower it into the water. During this time we should listen to how the sound changes as each gong is lowered into the water and also focus on how the sound waves affected the water ripples. Each gong had a different effect, and it was quite interesting.
The Household Shrine
There has always been something interesting about the shrines in the Himalayas. Something that feels peaceful. When I first walked into this shrine, I was curious about it. It didn’t seem to represent the types of shrines I saw over the region, but then I read the description. This represents a shrine in a wealthy person’s house.
The neat thing is that you could just sit down and hang out here and listen to the calming sounds that were being played in the room. Some people who were in the room with me were saying some Buddhist prayers and enjoying the moment. Something that we could all appreciate.
The three experiences above are only the start of the Rubin Museum. They display many culturally significant statues and art throughout the 5 floors of the museum. In addition, they serve Himalayan treats at their cafe which aren’t great but it’s available.
Leaving the museum I felt like I had actually just been transported to Tibet and back. I recalled how much I appreciated the Buddhist culture that the Rubin museum has brought to New York City. This brings me to the fact that we can find anything in New York if we simply chose to seek it out. You can too.