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I love it when my mind starts chasing down connections, especially when they’re linguistic in nature. (Crossword puzzle loving nerd alert, right here!)

So the other day, when my brain started shouting about how muse, music and museum must be connected, my heart perked right up… as did my curiosity. I went straight to the Online Etymology Dictionary (OED) and the section on etymology over at Merriam-Webster (M-W), and was rewarded with confirmation that yes, indeed, the three are related.

Or, more accurately, music and museum stem from the Greek muses—the nine goddesses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the goddess of memory), who inspired poets, musicians, astronomers, dancers, and scientists. The goddesses appear in odes, as poets call to them by name, and in paintings and sculpture as beautiful sirens of ideas.

Why did it pique my interest? Because it lends insight into the rush of ideas, the deep connections, and the light bulb epiphanies that often happen during music, and when visiting a museum.

Music, according to M-W, comes “from the Greek mousikē, pertaining to any art presided over by the Muses.” And according to OED, museum was originally “a seat or shrine of the Muses.”

I love that idea: “a seat or shrine of the Muses.”

I think that it’s pretty universally accepted the music opens you up to raw emotions—love, pain, regret, all those things that the muses inspired—so I want to explore the relationship between muse and museum in more depth.

I’ve come across so many people in my life who think of museums as stuffy places, void of passion and intrigue. It’s far from my relationship with museums, but I can understand it. The lighting, and the docents who keep close watch—ensuring you stand just close enough to be able to read the tiny signage, but not so close that you might accidentally brush up against a painting—or simply breathe in its vicinity. The knowledge the the art is worth many millions of dollars. The absence of music, and the hushed voices. It can all feel a little buttoned up, constricted, perhaps extending beyond the lines of necessary security and conservation.

When we consider the root of muse, a museum is a space to honor ideas and to make connections, to understand culture and humanity, to see how life evolves, and to see how the world was and could be in the art world and beyond. That’s how a museum feels to me. It is a place for the muses to pull at me and set my mind in different directions.

This year, it’s only April, but I’ve already had the opportunity to visit several museums: the Getty Center, LACMA, the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, Sunnylands Center, and… the Museum of Failure.

That’s right. If a traditional museum doesn’t inspire you, there is a new move in major cities toward pop-up museums for just about everything. I like the modern interpretation—the new muse, a celebration of creativity and hands-on interactivity, all meant to spark an idea. Recently in L.A., we’ve had a bunch of new takes on the museum: Happy Place, Museum of Failure, Museum of Illusions, Candytopia, Museum of Ice Cream, even the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Proof that new ideas are calling, and there’s an audience ready to tune into your muse. So turn on that music, visit that museum, read that favorite piece of literature, and get to listening, thinking, connecting and creating!

For those of you participating in the A to Z Challenge, as I am, it may be interesting to note that M was one of those letters with more ideas than I could count. A true muse to me! I will admit that I still have a couple blank spaces later on in the alphabet (open to inspiration anytime now!), but M came fast and furious. I decided to stick with my original idea, but I have tucked away all sorts of great M post ideas for future use. Also, happy official halfway mark to you! 

I hope you’re feeling accomplished and inspired. Considering my kids were on Spring Break this week, I’m feeling really good about the progress so far and pleased to have kept up with the commitment. Thank you for your support and for the feedback and for embracing this site to date, and I look forward to visiting more with all of you next week!

For those of you not participating in the A to Z Challenge, that probably made little sense… A description of the A to Z Challenge can be found after the question below. Your ideas are welcome too!

A to Z bloggers and fans: Got any good ideas you think I should cover for U, X, or Z? I promise to take all ideas into consideration! 😉


This month, I am writing 26 posts starting with the letters A through Z, along with hundreds of other businesses and bloggers from around the world. I first ran into the A to Z Challenge many, many moons ago (circa 2011), when I was brand new to the online writing world. It was a great way to jumpstart my creative juices, and I had so much fun “meeting” men and women sharing what they love to do.

So when I opened Of Love + Light, I knew the A to Z Challenge would be the perfect complement to Daily Dose: Inspired. Enjoy!


Of Love + Light is a place for uplifting media, creative inspiration, art, nifty creative publications, and storytelling. I also offer editing, creativity coaching, and small business communications planning services. Founded by Alana Garrigues, Of Love + Light is your place to come, relax, feel inspired and loved, and share more of what’s good on this beautiful planet.

Of Love + Light has infinite possibilities, and YOU are a huge part of what this will look like. Want to talk? Send me an email!

“Mus: -e, -eum, -ic” is part of the Daily Dose: Inspired series. Looking for a small something to get you inspired to take on the day? This is the place to come for a photo, a song, a pick-me-up quote, a little slice of happy. At least, these are the things that inspire me!