I visited the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka (MINPAKU). It was incredible.
They had a design award in their lobby prominently displayed and I found out why. The museum galleries are just packed with objects of every kind and sort. The majority of the material seemed to be from the 18th century forward, including some very recent pieces that told the history of different regions and people around the world.
The museum is actually an offshoot of a research institute that employs some 60 researchers working in the field of anthropology. With 250,000 objects in total and 12,000 on display, I was in information overload. They also had a great library and audio/visual booths for visitors to learn about different cultural practices. I saw some children watching a video on what looked like sheep dogs. You could also get a hand-held device that let you watch videos of how certain objects were used in their native land. It may be my most favorite museum in the whole wide world.
The space was huge allowing for some very large installations.
The language gallery was particularly impressive utilizing technology to show the different types of scripts and languages throughout the world. You could listen to a copy of “The Hungry Caterpillar” in 20 different languages or try your hand at writing something in brail.
I will try and get some more photos of this museum up when I get a chance. I can’t seem to get my own photos to upload.