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Monsters in the Museum

There is a room in the Philadelphia Museum of Art that is a replica of a French abbey, complete with a running fountain. It’s the most peaceful, beautiful, serene place in the world—unless hordes of rowdy college students are stomping through it on free admission day.

“Why are there are all these people?” Casey grumbled next to me. We were sitting by the fountain, writing, drawing, and acting like our museum membership cards meant that we owned the place. “Get out of my house.”

No matter how many times I go back to the museum (still never losing that sense of entitlement and superiority that comes with a membership card), I always see something new. I’ve filled countless sketchbook pages in just one room, but when I go back, I still notice a new painting or a statue that I want to capture.

As if this plethora of visual stimuli wasn’t enough, the museum hosts special events. I found a particularly interesting one while scrolling through the member’s events page, thinking about how cool I was after receiving a “member’s events” email and pitying the poor plebians who didn’t have unlimited access to the same wealth of artistic and cultural knowledge. The event was “Dr. Sketchy’s Night of Live Figure Drawing: Myths and Monsters.”

The aforementioned fountain.

The aforementioned fountain.

One of my sketches.

One of my sketches.

It was as if the museum had been reading my mind, choosing to put three of my favorite things together. (They must have known because of the telepathic link they have with their members.)

The night arrived, and I showed up, sketchbook and bag of drawing materials in tow. It passed like a dream, with gorgeous models decked out as Prometheus, Diana, and Medusa, complete with a headdress of moving snake heads. I was in heaven, capturing my favorite myths and seeing them come to life in such exquisite detail. After the event, I had time to wander the museum, discovering yet another hallway I hadn’t realized existed. I’m working on a theory that the halls of the museum change when you’re not looking, similar to the Hogwarts staircases.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a beautiful sanctuary away from the real world, and the models at the event were stunning.

Train ticket: $7
Student Membership: $20
Dr. Sketchy’s Event: Free
Sense of entitlement and superiority that comes from being a member: Priceless.