If you’re looking to experience some of the great artwork housed in the United States, consider a trip to a museum you may never have heard of. Skip the MOMA and the Met this summer and instead, take the road less traveled.
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Norman Rockwell was an author, painter and artist who reflected American culture in his art. The Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the largest collection of original Rockwell art, including 998 original paintings and drawings. The museum focuses on Rockwell’s work and his contributions to American society, popular culture and social commentary. Rockwell resided in Stockbridge for the last 25 years of his life, so museum visitors can see the influence of the area and the residents in his work on display.
The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí Museum is the largest collection of the Salvador Dalí’s works outside of Spain. The museum holds over 2,100 pieces of his surrealist artwork, from every moment and in every medium of Dalí’s artistic activity. The museum was founded by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, friends of Dalí’s who collected the artists work for 40 years before deciding to donate their collection for others to be able to experience the work.
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri
Some curators consider this to be the finest art museum in the United States because of the architecture. The spare, modern setting encourages careful looking and quiet contemplation. The museum is a non-collecting institution, meaning there are only three pieces permanently on display, and presents both classic and contemporary artwork.
Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont
The Shelburne Museum is a single collector museum initially founded in 1947 to display the Webb family’s collection of horse-drawn carriages. After realizing she could use it to create a “Collection of collections,” she began collecting historic buildings from New England and New York and relocated them to the Museums grounds. Now, there are 39 unique buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse, a lighthouse, a jail, and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga, on 45 acres of land. The museum displays Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts and textiles, furniture and American art.
American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
Self-taught artists largely ignored by mainstream art museums have found a home at this eclectic art museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s America’s official national museum and education center for intuitive, self-taught artistry. The museum relies on guest curators to populate the collection, and sponsors exhibitions based on a theme and not a specific artist or art style.