If you're an art lover who enjoys seeing museum-quality work exhibited in unexpected places, here are 10 U.S. boutique museums worth experiencing.
If you’re an art lover who enjoys seeing museum-quality work exhibited in unexpected places, then boutique museums are for you. These art spaces focus on specific fields, ideas, tastes, or collections of art by recognized individuals. Here are 10 in the U.S. with outstanding collections you should experience when you find yourself nearby.
21c Museum Hotel Louisville
Contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson opened the 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, which features rotating exhibitions of both local and global artists inside an upscale hotel. In addition to contemporary art, hotel guests can enjoy local produce and Kentucky bourbon at the in-house restaurant. The Louisville location is now the flagship of a group of seven 21c Museum Hotels and counting.
Crocker Art Museum
This boutique museum in Sacramento, California, is the oldest continuously operating museum west of the Mississippi and houses works amassed by Margaret Crocker. The wealthy heiress gifted her family’s art to the city for Sacramento’s residents to enjoy. The colorful, eclectic, captivating museum houses an outstanding collection of both historical and contemporary works.
The Dalí Museum
Located in St. Petersburg, Florida, this boutique museum hosts the largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s artwork outside Spain. It’s comprised of art donated by A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse. The museum holds 2,100 Dalí works in a building with a free-form glass bubble called The Enigma jutting from its exterior.
McNay Art Museum
Housed in a Spanish-Colonial Revival building that was once the home of heiress Marion Koogler McNay, this San Antonio boutique museum opened after McNay willed her 700-piece art collection to establish Texas’s first modern art museum. Now this tranquil setting hosts more than 20,000 pieces including European and American Modern art, Medieval and Renaissance art, and thousands of theater arts objects, such as scene and costume designs.
The Huntington Library
This California boutique museum feels like home to plant, book, and art lovers alike. Four distinct galleries feature British, French, and American art collections. Guests can enjoy over a dozen gardens, including a new Chinese garden, and scholars around the globe, come to The Huntington to study its rare manuscripts.
Corning Museum of Glass
Located between Niagara Falls and New York City, this museum in Corning, New York, showcases 35 centuries of glass art from across the globe. In 1951, on the centennial of Corning Glass’s founding, the manufacturer gifted the museum to the nation. Among the colorful, carefully curated collections, visitors will find dazzling Venetian, Early Northern European, Asian, American, Roman, and modern glass, as well as fine crystal and paperweights.
The Morgan Library & Museum
This New York City gem represents the stunning collection owned by J.P. Morgan that his son, J.P. Morgan, Jr., gave to the city. Today, the Morgan houses a compilation of art objects of every kind, as well as rare books, manuscripts, drawings, prints, and ancient artifacts donated by the banking fortune heir. Couple the Morgan Library visit with our 10 must see NYC attractions.
The Rubin Museum of Art
With a collection considered one of the Western world’s best compilations of Himalayan art, the Rubin is a cultural icon in New York City’s vibrant Chelsea neighborhood. Through exhibitions, films, concerts, and on-stage conversations, the Rubin helps guests connect contemporary art and life to Himalayan culture and that of neighboring India.
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
Founded by lapidary hobbyist Joseph F. Lizzadro, Sr, this museum in Elmhurst, Illinois, spotlights gem treasures and the art of cutting stones. Displays in the permanent collection present gemstones, jade objects, such as precious Ming Dynasty pieces, cameos, Florentine and Roman mosaics, and pieces carved from organic gems such as ivory, coral, pearl, and amber.
A boutique museum with artisan spirit in Shelburne, Vermont, this spot is a combination of 39 distinct structures, most of them moved from across New England by founder Electra Havemeyer Webb. The objects filling the spaces include duck decoys, dolls, pottery, and quilts, immersing visitors into its Americana vibe.
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