Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 4

31. Museum of Fine Arts Boston

With the recent Art of the Americas Wing expansion, the allure of MFA Boston has grown exponentially. These four floors showcase artworks from the entire continent – North, South, and Central America with artworks that span over 3000 years. Some of our particular favorites include works by Paul Revere, Thomas Sully, John Singer Sargent, and John Singleton Copley. The art at MFA Boston is not limited to that of the Americas. With an eclectic  collection of nearly half a million objects the museum allows you to explore many other world cultures and time periods. Located in Boston’s Back Bay area along the city’s “Avenue of the Arts” this is a museum you won’t want to miss.

Agnes Pelton "Prelude"

“Prelude” by Agnes Pelton at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

32. Peabody Essex Museum

Originally established in 1799 to house a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities” collected from around the world by Salem, Massachusetts sea captains of the East India Marine Society. Today’s collection has grown to include 1.8 million works including Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China. Additionally the museum owns twenty-four historic homes, buildings, and gardens in and around  eastern Massachusetts. Within the museum are spectacular collections of marine and oceanic art, American decorative art, as well as works from around the world. Their photography collection has close to a million works, including many rare images by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady.

33. Winterthur

Pioneer antique collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont opened his family home and surrounding 60 acres of gardens and woodlands in Winterthur, Delaware to the public in 1951. Mr. Du Pont created period rooms to “show America as it had been”. With one hundred and seventy-five period rooms in the museum, many consider this to be the premiere collection of Americana (1640-1860) in the United States. The museum also has an incredible library with over 100,000 volumes, periodicals, and ephemera. In a rare partnership Winterthur along with the University of Delaware, offers master degree programs in both American Material Culture and Art Conservation.

34. Barnes Foundation

Albert Barnes began to seriously collect art in 1912, and by the early 1920s had decided to turn his collection into a cultural institution for both fine art and horticulture. With a strong focus on Modern and Post-Impressionist works, his collection also features African sculptures, Pennsylvania German furniture, decorative and industrial art, and metalworks. Initially established in Merion, Pennsylvania the museum has a new location in downtown Philadelphia while the Arboretum and horticulture program are still located at Merion.

35. Portland Museum of Art

Located in downtown Portland, Maine the Portland Museum of Art has a rich collection of American and European art, including works done by Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Degas, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and Léger. The museum also has collected works done by artists who lived in, or were frequent visitors to, Maine. The PMA has recently completed restoration of Winslow Homer’s studio which is open for tours in the spring and summer. The Homer studio is located just south of Portland.

36. Stark Museum of Art

Passionate about the American West, H. J. Lutcher Stark began his art collection while still an undergraduate at the University of Texas. He continued to collect art with his wife Nelda, with the hope that one day their collection would become a museum. In 1978 the Stark Foundation opened the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas. Featuring more than two centuries of art depicting the American West, the Stark Museum has works by Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, Oscar Berninghaus, Charles Bird King, and Charles Marion Russell. Where possible Mr. and Mrs. Stark would meet the artists whose works they collected. The museum has many objects made by members of the various American Indian tribes, as well as an extensive glass and porcelain collection.

Charles Russell "Incident Near Square Butte"

Charles Russell “Incident Near Square Butte” at the Stark Museum of Art.

37. Montclair Art Museum

About to celebrate its 100 birthday, the Montclair Art Museum is located in a residential section of the city of Montclair, New Jersey. Notable for being one of a small number of museums who early on focused on collecting American and Native American art the MAM’s American collection ranges from  George Inness to Edward Hopper to Moses Soyer, and Morgan Russell. The core of their Native American collection came from Mrs. Henry Lang and has grown to include works by various Peoples of all the seven major cultural areas in the US. The Yard School of Art at MAM offers a variety of art classes for teens, children, and adults.

38. Wadsworth Atheneum

Located in a castle-like building in Hartford, Connecticut, the Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States. With a collection of art and artifacts that span over 5,000 years the Atheneum has much to offer its visitors. From fabulous Hudson River School landscapes to important surrealist paintings, early African American art, and Colt firearms there are many reasons to recommend a trip to Hartford. Over the years the museum has also been a strong supporter of the theater arts staging the premiere of Four Saints in Three Acts and sponsoring George Balanchine’s immigration to the US.

39. Huntington 

The Huntington consists of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens all located on more than 120 acres in southern California. Originally from Oneonta, N.Y. Henry Edwards Huntington eventually settled at the San Marino Ranch with his second wife, Arabella Huntington. Together they put together an amazing collection of 18th century British portraits including Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy. The art collection has the Virginia Steele Scott collection of American art as well as a significant set of Arts and Crafts materials. The library contains a Gutenberg Bible (one of 11 known copies), a manuscript of Chaucer, and Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.  With many themed gardens they boast one of the largest cacti and succulent gardens, as well as collections of tropical and carnivorous plants.

40. Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Rising like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes the Desert Caballeros Western Museum (located in Wickenburg, AZ) reopened in 1975 after a devastating fire consumed the original building three years earlier. While the original works were irreplaceable many dedicated families and individuals pulled together to rebuild and reinvent the museum. Today the collection has works by some of the great Western artists including Albert Bierstadt, Henry Farny, Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, Charles M. Russell, and Olaf Wieghorst. They also have wonderful historical collections of American Indian artifacts.

Thomas Moran "A Passing Storm"

Thomas Moran’s “A Passing Storm” at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum

Here are links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s