I did this thing last week. And it was a lot of fun.
I went on a museum tour.
But it wasn’t your grandmother’s museum tour, it was a BADASS museum tour! We hacked the El Paso Museum of Art. The company is called Museum Hack and they put the fun and shenanigans back into museums. They had a pop-up tour at the El Paso Museum of Art. It was a blast!
I had been meaning to get to one of the museums in El Paso, but never got around to it. Fortunately, I got the best way to visit for the first time.
We met Zak and Kate in the front of The El Paso Museum of Art. They were very welcoming and bubbly. They seemed like they’d known us for years. Once everyone had arrived, Zak and Kate gave us a run down of the tour. Naturally, being in El Paso, it would be centered on Mexican history. Which is great, because it’s something that I don’t know a whole lot about after living in this border city for two years.
We set off on foot to the first location outside the museum. It was an Aztec sundial gazebo that Zak and Kate pointed out to us. It’s something I don’t think I’ve ever noticed. Sitting under it, they explained a brief history of the Aztecs. They brought us chocolate and fart jokes. Yep. Zak showed us an ancient drawing of one of the first fart jokes. And with that, the museum hack had officially begun!
We toured past the Chihuahua’s stadium where they told us about ancient brutal Mayan sporting events. Where the losers heads were chopped off (could have been the winners, because Mayans love a good human sacrifice! It was actually considered an honor.) The group continued on past some really cool murals which are painted all over El Paso. We stopped at one in particular and learned the difference between mezcal and tequila. Tequila is the bougie cousin of mezcal, because it’s made from ONLY the blue agave plant – and can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and in small parts of four other states in Mexico. Mezcal is made from any agave plant and can be produced anywhere. #funfactstoknowandtell
Once we got into the museum, Zak and Kate gave us a brief drunk (or buzzed) history that they created on their tablet. It was a good little synopsis of Mexican history. We continued upstairs and toured several of the exhibits. One in particular that stood out to me was the Mexican-American artist, Manuel Acosta. Acosta was born into a poor family living in Chihuahua, Mexico. He later served in the United States Air Force. He went on to study sculpture and painting at various universities one being the now UTEP (at the time it was the College of Mines and Metallurgy). He met his death in 1989 when a subject he was painting bludgeoned him to death with a lead pipe. WTF.
So, now a lot of his paintings are locked up due to legal matters, including the painting of his killer!
Probably my favorite part of the museum hack was the scavenger hunt. They gave us a list of clues and we had to go through the museum and find the art pieces they described. It was pretty challenging, but that made it a lot of fun.
We got little prizes at the end of the scavenger hunt. I got a little cute plastic dinosaur, but I have no picture to show for it because my dog chewed it up about an hour after I got home from the tour. 😦
This was a really fun activity and I’m really glad that I went. Our tour guides, Zak and Kate, were an absolute delight. They’re very smart and have an ability to make history relatable and interesting to everyone.
If you’re in DC, San Francisco (Kate’s home museum), Chicago or NYC (Zak’s home museum) definitely add this to your “to-do” list. Don’t have plans to visit these cities? Take a look at the museums near you, there just maybe a Museum Hack pop-up coming soon!
Want more local things to do in El Paso? Also, check out Annie’s Adventures!