Not sure what to do with your weekend? You could…hit up one of your favorite museums and celebrate International Museum Day on May 18.
Inaugurated in 1977 by the International Council of Museums, the day was created to recognize and celebrate museums as “an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
Since 1993, each year is celebrated with a theme—2013 is Museums (memory + creativity) = social change. Past themes have been “Behind the Scenes in Museums” (1994) and “Museums and young people” (2006).
Last year nearly 30,000 museums organized special events, offered free admission and created celebrations in more than 120 countries.
Events in the US:
Visitors to the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art in San Bernardino, CA, can check out the “Chicano Muralists in Southern California, 1968-1985: The First Generation of a Cultural Revolution Through the Camera of Elliott Robert Barkan” exhibit, and a special screening of “Los Four/Murals of Aztlan: The Street Painters of East Los Angeles.”
Elmhurst, IL, is a Chicago suburb with a lot of museum might: all four museums will have special admission and activities, plus a trolley will provide transportation!
And here’s a sampling of museums that are offering free admission from coast to coast.
Getty Museum (Los Angeles)
Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.)
High Museum of Art (Atlanta)
Jewish Museum (New York)
Museum of Fine Arts (Houston)
Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota) (While this is the Ringling of circus fame, this majority of the museum is dedicated to fine art; but they do have exhibits dedicated to the art and life of the circus.)
This is just a few of the hundreds of American museums—big and small—that are celebrating International Museum Day, so check out your local favorite, or try some place you’ve never been! Exploration is what museums are all about.
A few of our favorites
As you might imagine, a bunch of travel enthusiasts like our EF EF Explore America team has racked up quite a lot of museum visits. Here are a few of our faves:
My newest favorite museum to visit is the Newseum. I feel like I learn something new every time I’m there. They also have very interesting events. Last time I was there was in the fall before the election and they had an event with political cartoonists that was extremely thought-provoking and very funny.
Tara N., Senior Traveler Support Specialist
My absolute favorite museum in Washington, D.C., is the National Gallery of Art. I get so caught up in the beauty all around, and I the feeling that I’m traveling the world, right in the heart of our nation’s capital!
Jennilee H., Senior Territory Manager
As a history buff, one would think I’d say the American History Museum, but my favorite museum has to be the National Portrait Gallery. It’s been a few years since I last visited; however, I remember spending hours taking in the art through the different time periods. I found it fascinating to see how different generations of artists interpreted and portrayed these important historical events and people.
Chris C., Transportation Area Manager
My favorite has to be The Isabella Stewart-Gardner museum, not only because the design of the building itself is beautiful, but because it’s a part of Boston history.
Scott S., Senior Territory Manager
My favorite museum is the Museum of Science in Boston. I love that it is so hands on and has awesome educational movies in the Omni theater.
Claudette F., Senior Pre-Departure Specialist
(As a side note: The Museum of Science is just across the street from our Boston EF office and I have plans to pop over and see world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator make sparks fly some time this summer! Claudette says it’s awesome.)
I love aquariums and the one here in Boston (the New England Aquarium) is incredible. It has a 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean tank right down the center!
Brett W., Digital marketing coordinator
My favorite museum-that is hard! Ever since I was little my mom would bring my brother and me to museums all over the Boston area. We would have family “field trips” and go on museum scavenger hunts.
My favorite would be a tie between the MFA nad the Gardner Museum. The MFA (The Museum of Fine Art) was just so big and had art from all over the world. I loved the Egyptian section, but my favorite piece was the Degas sculpture of a ballerina – my mother even recently bought me a mini version of it when she was at the MFA. I would sit and stare at that sculpture all day if I could. I couldn’t wait to get to the room where it was. The Gardner museum is smaller and more intimate. I love the history of Elizabeth and how she left all this art for us to appreciate for years. The best scavenger hunts were always at this museum and its famous for having 13 art pieces stolen. You can see their empty frames at the museum to this day!
Kate R., Territory Manager
And one more vote for the Newseum!
My favorite museum is the Newseum in Washington, D.C., because I like the Pulitzer Prize winning photo gallery. I also like the Journalists Memorial Gallery because it shows you how dedicated journalists are when pursuing the news and what people have gone through and survived while chasing the truth.
Alyssa Christopolis, Director of the Tour Director Department