6 Must-Visit Museums in Connecticut
With winter fast approaching, there are plenty of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy throughout Connecticut. But there may come a weekend when we all crave a cozy shelter from the cold and the activities at home seem mundane. Thankfully, Connecticut is home to dozens of extraordinary art museums that celebrate classic to contemporary schools of art.
With various museums near Delamar locations, you can spend an illuminating afternoon walking through curated exhibitions and fine art collections. Here are just a few exceptional art museums that cater to all tastes:
New Britain Museum of American Art – New Britain
Founded in the early 20th century, the NBMAA was established as the first museum committed solely to the presentation and collection of
American art. With an interest in work that defined “the modern” throughout the nation’s history, the museum is now home to vast collections of colonial portraiture, the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, the Ashcan School, and more. Its permanent collection turns towards America’s artistic tradition that informs contemporary artistic practice, finding origin in early American artwork and spanning the 20th century’s development from early modernists through abstract expressionism and pop art.
The New Britain Museum of American Art shifts its attention towards the present with its exhibitions, displaying work from both emerging and established artists based in America. Visit NBMAA for a panoramic view of the history, tradition, and evolution of American artistic practice.
Wadsworth Atheneum – Hartford
Explore a vast collection of work during your visit to one of the oldest public art museums in the United States. Founded in 1842, the Wadsworth
Atheneum Museum of Art had the initial goal of introducing art into the American experience. Coincidentally, its opening coincided with the middle period of the Hudson River School, the first true American artistic fraternity that paved the way for the nation’s entry into international recognition. Appropriately the museum’s founder, Daniel Wadsworth, formed one of the largest collections of Hudson River School paintings
available to view at the museum.
Presently, the museum is home to nearly 50,000 works of art that feature European art from antiquity to contemporary and American art that spans the 1600s through the present. For a comprehensive survey of European art to the origins of American artistic authority and beyond, this museum is a must-visit.
Yale University Art Gallery – New Haven
Another museum with a rich history is the Yale University Art Gallery which was founded in 1832 and boasts the oldest university art museum in America. Home to nearly 300,000 objects, the museum is open to the public and free of charge in the spirit of making artistic inspiration accessible to all who are interested. The museum’s permanent collection includes work from every major artistic movement, both ancient and contemporary: vessels from Tang-dynasty China, textiles from Borneo, masks from West Africa, ancient sculptures, contemporary art, and masterworks by Degas, van Gogh, Picasso, and more.
The current exhibition, titled “On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale,” delves into the lives and work of women who graduated from Yale University. The exhibition celebrates a variety of artistic mediums that revolve around important historical events in the pursuit of women’s rights. The title of the exhibition references the 1972 U.S. federal law Title IX which states that no one could be discriminated against “on the basis of sex” within any education program receiving federal financial aid. “On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale” will be on display until January 9, 2022.
Bruce Museum – Greenwich
Built in 1853 as a private home and later deeded to the Town of Greenwich to be used as a public museum, the Bruce Museum held its first exhibition in 1912 that featured works by local artists known as the Greenwich Society of Artists. The museum’s permanent exhibition is geared towards natural sciences; exploring the region’s geology, paleontology, Ice Age, marine ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, and more. However, their revolving exhibitions display a variety of art collections and installations that vary in topic.
The Bruce Museum approaches its exhibitions with a multidisciplinary approach, intersecting science and arts while offering a fun, informative experience for the whole family. Today, the museum holds a collection of nearly 15,000 objects that reflect the arts and sciences.
The Bruce Museum is currently constructing a contemporary wing to accommodate more exhibitions and display the museum’s permanent art collection.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum – Ridgefield
One of the oldest contemporary art museums in the United States, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated solely toward the presentation and exploration of contemporary art. The museum does not have a permanent collection, but every new exhibition is defined by the early, middle, and late phases of an artist’s career. By setting up exhibitions in this manner, viewers can witness the ongoing metamorphosis of artistic practice and theory.
The museum had exhibited works from Jasper Johns, Robert Rauchenberg, Frank Stella, and Cy Twombly when they were at early stages in their careers and continues to highlight emerging contemporary talent. Take a glimpse into the future of American contemporary art while reflecting on its history at this cutting-edge art museum.
The Housatonic Museum of Art – Bridgeport
Located at the Housatonic Community College, the Housatonic Museum of Art displays work that encapsulates art throughout the times. The museum welcomes art enthusiasts and casual observers to experience the wealth of artistic possibility, ingenuity, and inspiration from around the world.
The museum’s permanent collection features art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas while highlighting work from contemporary artists including Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Jenny Holzer, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and others. For an accessible yet curated survey through the artistic world of perception, this is a fantastic museum to visit.
Tour Connecticut’s Art Museums
Escape the cold weather by visiting one of Connecticut’s art museums this season. With plenty of styles and periods to choose from, rekindle your appreciation for your favorite artists or discover unexpected inspiration in unfamiliar work. With so many museums to visit, consider taking a long weekend to tour Connecticut’s art museums. After spending a day immersed in the rich world of artistic practice, be sure to spend some much-needed r&r by the fire by visiting Delamar.