“Is that a Monet?!”
I froze, entranced and in disbelief. My eyes stroked the canvas, absorbing every color, each individual brush stroke, every small detail. My ten-year-old mind was fascinated by this work of art. Seeing a masterpiece of one of the greatest artists to ever live is still one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Sometimes we don’t take the time out of our busy, technology-driven lives to stop and soak in the beauty of art. I’d be willing to bet that few Millennials have set foot in an art museum at all, let alone by choice as an adult. The sad part is, though, you are really missing out on an experience that can’t be described in words or recreated through a screen.
So, here’s your guide; these are 4 American art museums you must walk through in your lifetime.
1. The Art Institute of Chicago: Chicago, IL
With over 300,000 pieces to view, The Art Institute of Chicago is more than worth a trip to The Windy City. Among my personal favorites are the array of works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso, but with so many great works within the collection and their continuously changing exhibits, there’s literally something for everyone in this great American art museum. If you are going to be spending a few days in Chicago, consider springing for the City Pass, which includes admission for The Art Institute, The Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Skydeck Chicago, and more!
2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York, NY
The Met boasts displays of art that cover the span of over 5,000 years and every corner of the globe. The experience of walking through this preserved time capsule and feeling yourself connect to the Universe and experience history through emotions and expressions. Ancient history buffs will love the over 26,000 Egyptian pieces on display, or the medieval displays at The Met Cloisters. If modern art is what your heart desires, then consider paying a visit to one of the museum’s secondary locations, The Met Breuer.
3. The Museum of Fine Arts: Houston, TX
We should all get a dose of culture deep in the heart of Texas at some point in our lives, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is just the place to experience immersion in artwork and Texas. One of the unique parts of this museum is their collections of photography. This museum also has an entire collection of decorative arts, which includes furniture, pottery, and architecture pieces. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is also one of the most affordable art museums in the country, meaning you can experience great art without a deep hit to your pocket.
4. The J. Paul Getty: Los Angeles, CA
Though checking out art may not be the first idea that comes to mind when stopping in LA, The Getty is definitely worth dedicating part of a day to visit. The main collection mostly includes pieces from Europe, but the real reason to check out this lesser known gem is because of the unique exhibits they host. One exhibit making a big splash currently is the “LA #Unshuttered Project.” This unique concept includes photography from 23 Los Angeles-area high school students using photography to work towards social justice.
Whether you love to learn or are looking for a unique way to mindfully experience the world around you, using this day as an excuse to step into an art museum is perfect! If traveling the country to one of these museums isn’t in the cards for you right now, don’t fret! There are over 2,000 art museums across the United States, so you can easily find a place to do some eye exploration within a short ride of your home. One of the most important things we can do for our generation and those to come is to take the time to unplug and unwind while continuing to immerse ourselves in the richness of the arts.