The Museum of Inspiration

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The Museum of Inspiration

As a creative species, we inspire each other in so many ways: though painting, music, sculpture, film, the sciences, literature, poetry, sport, architecture  -  the list goes on. The simple gift of awakening in one another the ability or willingness to create helps to make our world fascinating and dynamic. It also often spurs us to positive action. For this reason, THI seeks to celebrate the many sources of inspiration that encourage humanity to thrive, that urge us in often unpredictable and powerful ways to create, produce, contribute –  strive to make things better.  

THI is in the process of seeking a unique curator for each of our 37 initial categories of inspiration, asking her to follow her heart, to inspire you with any and all manner of presentation, analysis and exploration of mankind’s most exceptional achievements. Each section will be designed in any way its curator deems appropriate, to whatever length and with whatever linkages and alliances she recommends.

Perhaps she will concentrate on the work of a dozen or two individuals. Perhaps she will recommend a review of inspiring work across the centuries, from all continents. Perhaps she will investigate a particular issue such as love or nature or how her designated subject influences our personal identities: with self, community, country and culture. Perhaps she will want to tell stories. Indeed, though this is perhaps getting ahead of ourselves, it even might be fascinating to discover and discuss intellectual or historical or social intrigues among different arenas, such as among music, dance, art, architecture and poetry.

We will not attempt to present an objective list of inspiring work. We are, in fact, not seeking objectivity at all. Rather we want to create, in each wing of this museum, a compelling and highly creative invitation for visitors to learn and be inspired by what ultimately should unite us as a species and by how we can do it better over the next generation    –   be it the unique power and passion of poetry, the achievement of athletic excellence, or bringing new heights to the rendering of classical music.

Ultimately, this project should be fun and educational. Everything is fair game and there are no wrong answers. Each of our topics has the wonderful power to elucidate the finer points of a culture. Each can show tiny variations between individuals, peoples, cultures, races and religions. We embrace this essence of human creativity and celebrate it by informing and lighting the way into each topic with the intention of sparking discussion.

The categories (alphabetical order) are: 

Adornment  (clothing, jewelry, etc…)








Culinary Arts  (cooking, farming, agriculture)






Industrial Design

Landscape Design











Let’s begin with a Chinese zither called the qin: endowed with cosmological and metaphysical significance and empowered to communicate the deepest human emotions, this zither, beloved of Confucius and all sages, is the most prestigious instrument in China. Han-dynasty writers claimed that the qin helped to cultivate character, understand morality, supplicate gods and demons, enhance life, and enrich learning. Ming-dynasty literati (1368-1644) suggested that the qin be played outdoors in a mountain setting, a garden, or a small pavilion, preferably near an old pine tree while incense perfumes the air. A serene moonlit night was considered an appropriate time for performance (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City).

Music/The Animal Kingdom  

How does this Indonesian gibbon sound:


Music/Hip Hop














P.S. Four your continued reflection, here’s a suggestion (from our board member Jackie Wigglesworth) to investigate who might be your most inspirational positive change artists. Jackie took a close look at Nobel Prize winners: 

              Why do we need Nobel Prize winners? I believe they are invaluable because the world needs to be inspired by examples of individuals who achieve levels of greatness in their field and make a positive difference in the world. One definition of inspiration reads: ‘Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind.’ We need to be inspired by such people. Here’s my list of Nobel prize winners that have inspired me most and why.  JW

1) Aung San Suu Kyi  -  Peace Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi has maintained her vision for her country with grace and integrity despite spending the majority of her life under house arrest.

Born:     19 June 1945, Rangoon (now Yangon), Burma (now Myanmar)            Residence at the time of the award: Burma                                           

Prize motivation: “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”                                                                                                         

Field: Human rights

2) Winston Churchill  -  Literature Prize

Churchill was an inspiring and powerful leader who is just as famous for his wise and witty quotes as he is for running a country and successfully leading England through the war years, encouraging people to ‘never give in.’

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill      Born: 30 November 1874, Woodstock, United Kingdom      Died: 24 January 1965, London                           

Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom                             

Prize motivation: “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”

3) The International Committee of The Red Cross  - Peace Prize

Three time recipient; The International Committee of the Red Cross was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 19171944 and 1963 – on the third occasion jointly with the League of Red Cross Societies. This makes the Red Cross unique: no recipient has been awarded the Peace Prize as often as this organization. The very first time the Peace Prize was awarded, in 1901, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chose to pay tribute to the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant from Switzerland. Thus his story is a natural point of departure when examining the role of the Red Cross in the history of the Peace Prize.

4) Albert Einstein  - Physics Prize

Voted Time magazine’s ‘man of the century’ Einstein is probably the most famous scientist in the world. In addition to that he was a gentle philosopher and vegetarian man who believed that “imagination is more important than knowledge.” This award came before his world renowned theory of relativity.

Born: 14 March 1879, Ulm, Germany               Died: 18 April 1955, Princeton, NJUSA                                               

Affiliation at the time of the award: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut (now Max-Planck-Institut) für Physik, Berlin, Germany                                                   Prize motivation: “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.”                                       Field: Theoretical physics. 

5) Marie Curie  - Physics and Chemistry prizes

She became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903 when she was recognized, along with her husband Pierre and Antoine Henri Becquerel, with the Physics award for their research into radiation. Marie was the leading light in a family that between them amassed a remarkable five Nobel Prizes in the fields of Chemistry and Physics. She later became the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes when she was given the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her further research into radium. She is among a select group of people to have won prizes in two different fields.

Born: 7 November 1867, Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland.)        Died: 4 July 1934, Sallanches, France                                                        

Prize motivation: “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.”                                                                       

Field: Nuclear physics

6) Martin Luther King  - Peace Prize

The American civil rights activist was the youngest person to be recognized by the Nobel foundation when he won the Peace Prize in 1964, at the age of 35, for his work to end racial discrimination through non-violent means. Even after his death in 1968 King’s legacy lived on, and his image is still used today as a symbol by human rights groups around the world. His ‘dream’ that people: “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” remains timelessly significant.

Born: 15 January 1929, Atlanta, GA, USA              Died: 4 April 1968, Memphis, TNUSA                                                

Residence at the time of the award: USA                                               

Role: Leader of “Southern Christian Leadership Conference.”                 

Field: Human rights

7) Herman Hesse  Literature Prize

The book I return to again and again throughout life is ‘Siddartha’ by Herman Hesse. It is a spiritual classic and follows the universal themes of life of which Hesse masterfully writes.

Born: July 2, 1877           Died: August 9, 1962

Prize motivation: explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.

Field: “for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style”.

The book I return to again and again throughout life is ‘Siddartha’ by Herman Hesse. It is a spiritual classic and follows the universal themes of life of which Hesse masterfully writes.

8) Mother Teresa  - Peace prize

Mother Teresa worked ceaselessly and selflessly to improve the lives of the poor and neglected in Calcutta-India and worldwide. Her example shines as a beacon for all the world to follow.  “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Born: 26 August 1910, Uskup (now Skopje), Ottoman Empire (now Republic of Macedonia)  Died: 5 September 1997, Calcutta, India                                                Residence at the time of the award: India                                                                                      

Role: Leader of Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta                                        

Field: Humanitarian work

9) Albert Schweitzer  - Peace Prize

Albert Schweitzer received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1953. Despite having doctorates in theology, music and medicine, Schweitzer dropped everything to attend to the health needs of people in Gabon, Africa.

Born: 14 January 1875, Kaysersberg, Germany (now France.)        Died: 4 September 1965, Lambaréné, Gabon                                  

Residence at the time of the award: France                                            

Role: Founder of Lambaréné (République de Gabon), Missionary surgeon. 

Field: Humanitarian work                                                                             

10) Nelson Mandela  – Peace Prize

Mandela suffered 27 years imprisonment for his ideals and yet emerged full of forgiveness, integrity intact and ready to lead South Africa as their next elected president. He remains one of the most respected and admired icons of our times.

Born: 18 July 1918, Qunu, South Africa                                               

Residence at the time of the award: South Africa                                   

Prize motivation: “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”     Field: Negotiation, human rights

11) Pablo Neruda  - Literature Prize (or Octavio Paz)

Born: 12 July 1904, Parral, Chile                                                                 Died: 23 September 1973, Santiago, Chile                                        

Residence at the time of the award: Chile                                               

Prize motivation: “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams.”