This website has been redesigned from the ground up to make it easier for you, the reader to find posts that might interest you. As you can see, we have posts from lots of places on lots of topics grouped together. Featured subjects are in the middle section, indicated by little pictures. Don't despair if a subject doesn't appear with a picture in the middle section, these are just the featured categories, all of the catagories are listed if you click on "category" on the menu bar. So, for instance, if you are looking for posts on Versailles, just click on the picture and you have a selection of all the posts on Versailles. If you want to see all the catagories, go to the top menu bar, select catagories and choose your topic that way. The catagories also have subcategories, which you can also select directly. Finally, if you want to see the posts in the order that I write them, click on "blog" on the menu bar. I am hoping that this format will make it more fun to peruse the blog and as always, tell us what you think.
Every society has a specific set of ideas and customs, and a certain set of manufactures and arts that make it unique. Civilizations tend to develop intricate cultures, including literature, art, architecture, organized religion and science and technology. Civilizations have been distinguished by their means of subsistence, types of livelihood, settlement patterns, forms of government, social stratification, economic systems, literacy, and other cultural traits. Because ancient civilizations continue to influence us today, I have devoted many posts to prehistory and ancient civilizations. Before you assume that this definition of civilization is something new, consider the ancient Sumerians, seven thousand years ago, who were much closer to the beginnings of civilization than we are, even closer than the Romans, Greeks or Egyptians. They called the rules and technologies of civilization the MES, given by the gods to humanity. For them, the wheel, war, glass, pottery and farming separated them from their hunter/gatherer forefathers.
You may have noticed that there are a lot of posts on museums here. Many of my posts start with an object or collection found in a museum. Active learning occurs when people stretch their minds to interact with the information and experiences at hand. In art museums, visitors are learning actively when they formulate their own questions about works of art, reflect on their own ideas and impressions, make their own discerning judgments, construct their own interpretations, and/or seek their own personal connections. The posts are just a way to get that process going for you, the reader. I try to provide a little context and my thoughts but my hope is that you will add your own ideas and connections. Of course, not every moment of learning in a museum is, or even should be, active. There are times when passive learning can be wonderful, for instance, when a viewer stands in front of a painting and gloriously lets it wash over him or her, immersed in a flow of sensations.