On a single day in the middle of World War II, actions in three isolated incidents represent an ethical lesson taught to this day at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. On that day—April 19, 1943—three Belgian men attacked a train destined for Auschwitz, freeing its passengers; the occupants of the Warsaw Ghetto united in revolt; and at the Bermuda Conference, officials from the British and American governments declined to take action against ongoing atrocities in Europe. The Dallas Holocaust Museum’s main exhibit locates a crucial distinction in presenting these three events: the difference between "bystanders" and what the museum calls "Upstanders." The exhibit was created in the hopes that every visitor would become an "Upstander," moved not only to remember a horrific past but also to take action when faced with modern threats to human rights.
A self-guided audio tour relates the heroism of those who stood up on that date in 1943 as museum guests explore artifacts, photographs, and a full-size boxcar. Special exhibits that often focus on photography supplement the permanent installation, and testimonies from volunteer survivors and liberators provide a firsthand perspective on the historical tragedy and its lessons. Along with exposing more than 30,000 students and 22,000 walk-in visitors to its messages annually, the museum advocates engagement with the world through educational programs designed for everyone from educators to law-enforcement officials.
There was a time when looking down the barrel of Clyde Barrow's gun wouldn't have seemed too appealing. But now people visit the second floor galleries of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture just to get a glimpse of the infamous weapon, which shares space with more than 1,000 other artifacts, including the first traffic light in Dallas County and handcuffs worn by Lee Harvey Oswald. Taken together, these artifacts trace Dallas County's past from prehistory to the present day, a timeline visitors also explore via the museum's 41 touchscreen computers, four mini theatres screening specially commissioned films, and hands-on activities on topics such as architecture and pioneer life. More hands-on activities await in the education center, where youngsters learn about their local heritage thanks to exhibits on Dallas County children.
Housed in the Old Red Courthouse, a restored Romanesque building from 1892, the museum is practically a large-scale exhibit unto itself. Its many architectural flourishes include a four-story grand staircase, a restored clock tower, and two original stained-glass windows from the courthouse's original collection of more than 100. Tours of all four floors grant visitors access to areas not otherwise open to the general public, including the courtroom and the judge's tightly guarded gavel shed. The historic building makes a fitting setting for the special exhibits that grace the first floor gallery several times a year.
While strolling the halls of Madrid's famous Prado Museum in the 1950s, Texas oilman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows fell in love with the rich tradition of Spanish art. Gradually building a collection of Iberian masterworks from throughout the centuries, Meadows helped found his eponymous museum to house and display the art. Now among the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, the Meadows Museum surrounds visitors with masterpieces from the 10th century through the 21st. The collection's highlights include Goya's darkly evocative Yard with Madmen, Picasso's patchwork Still Life in a Landscape, and Míró's colorfully surreal Queen Louise of Prussia.
Outside the museum's elegant colonnade, an encircling garden recalls Renaissance palaces with manicured bushes, stately gravel paths, and feral court jesters. Beautiful sculptures by modern greats fleck the garden, with such pieces as the 13-foot, wireframe head Sho, by modern Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. Below the plaza, Santiago Calatrava's monumental Wave dominates the approach to the museum, with gently undulating iron beams, suspended over a serene reflecting pool that will itself never know the joy of forming a wave.
Dancemasters Studio's experienced instructors—including national-competition champions and a former onboard cruise-line dance host—introduce adult students of all skill levels to the world of social dancing in a 3,200-square-foot facility with two ballrooms. The studio’s schedule of group classes spans 19 different partner styles such as the waltz, rumba, and Argentine tango. The studio also welcomes students to monthly BYOB dance parties. As a live band plays, dancers show off their new skills in the areas of salsa dancing or sequin sewing.
During private lessons, staffers train individuals or pairs on technique and ballroom etiquette. They specialize in helping brides- and grooms-to-be prepare for their wedding day, providing expert choreography set to the couples special song or epic poem.
Though many anthropological museums focus on peoples who are long gone, the International Museum of Cultures displays more than 10 storied exhibits on contemporary indigenous populations from around the world, including Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here, visitors glean insight into the respective cultures and the challenges they face. As guests peruse the displays, they can explore Lakota Sioux artifacts such as dream catchers and arrowheads, learn about the hunter-gatherer Agta from the Philippines, and listen to Drumbeats of the World, an interactive exhibit that pulsates with percussive heartbeats from Ecuador, Pakistan, and Korea.
Clique Custom Jewelry and Fine Art's selection includes traditional paintings and sculptures along with challenging contemporary pieces. The considerable taste of artist and jewelry designer Yael VanGruber fuels the studio, where she curates accessories and artwork that complement one another. Guests can peruse the collection, which includes Italian glass jewelry, pearls, scarves, designer bags, clothing, and shoes. She also collects healing stones, which she incorporates into her own pieces. She believes that the feel-good energies that radiate from these rocks can help their wearers feel more balanced and happy.