SALUTE TO MUSEUMS
Check the credit cards in your wallet. If you happen to have any card from Bank of America, it is your ticket to a museum somewhere in the United States. Their Museums on Us® program includes 150 museums offering free admission the first full weekend of a month. The next opportunities are April 2-3 and May 7-8. And what would travel be without museums?
To take advantage of Museums on Us offerings in 85 cities all you need is your B of A or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and a photo i.d. Naturally the deal does not include fund raisers, special exhibits or other ticketed shows, and it is only good for the person holding the card. Any family members who do not have a card will have to pay regular admission.
I checked out their Arizona offerings, and was pleased that the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is included. The Historic Block is a unique historical preservation addition to the urban art museum. The art museum stands in Tucson’s historic center–inside the area once bounded by Spanish Presidio walls–and it was able to preserve five houses of various periods. The oldest, Casa Cordova, a Sonoran row-house, is similiar to the earlier structures built inside the Presidio walls. My personal favorite is the J. Knox Corbett house, an early 20th century home furnished with period pieces from the American craftsman period.
Another Arizona museum that caught my eye is the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. I have not been there yet, but was fascinated by the collectionof 1600 musical instruments at the Munich Municipal Museum (Stadsmuseum) in Germany, so I know this Phoenix museum will be terrific.
Other museums on the list that I have visited in the past, or am longing to see:
Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque New Mexico. Fantastic introduction to pueblo life along the Rio Grande. I have linked here to my article at Wandering Educators.
Living Desert Museum, also in Palm Springs.
Scripps Institute’s Birch Aquarium in La Jolla . I never miss an opportunity to go there , particularly when I’m taking kids on a trip. LOVE those seahorses!
Legion of Honor Museum, in San Francisco. Baroque building houses the wonderful art collection.
Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, you can match wits with computers, and test out all kinds of whiz-bang discoveries. Turns adults into children and gives children something to think about.
Winterthur in Delaware. I have written about Winterthur and the house and gardens there, so naturally I’ll recommend that one highly.
Chicago Institute of Art, in my favorite museum town. Its extensive collection of impressionist painters, plus representative art from just about any period you can think of can keep you saying “Just one more room” all day.
Shedd Aquarium, also Chicago. When you go have lunch in the dining room, surrounded by windows looking out on the lake. It seemed a little odd and perhaps ungrateful having fish for lunch after the pleasure my grand daughter and I had taken at watching their antics in the tanks, but we gulped it down anyhow. Don’t miss the aquatic shows with dolphins, or otters, or a whale or two.
Henry Ford Museum, Detroit. I fondly remember a trip to Detroit when our children were young and we visited the Henry Ford Museum. Painless history lessons, particularly if you have a hot-wheels crazy boy in the family, or a Nascar or sports car fanatic dad.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. How wonderful to see the premier American Museum of art, on Bank of America’s list of freebie weekends. I spent two days there on my last trip to NYC, and did not even scratch the surface. Egypt? Enter a tomb and look around. Picasso? rooms full. Knight’s armor? A whole gallery. A great view of Central Park and upper Manhattan? Go to the snack bar on the roof.
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, has a large Indian arts collection, too. But the museum housed in the former mansion of the founder of Phillips petroleum also shows off European art from his collection. The house and surrounding gardens are part of the attraction.
National Constitution Center, Philadelphia. That title doesn’t exactly conjure up a lively happening place. But it is–lively and happening. From contemporary demonstrations of the meaning of each of the amendments to the Constitution, to a diorama that shows what it was like to be a constitutuional convention delegate as the document was being forged, you will not be bored for a moment.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville. I don’t love country music, so why did I love this museum? Well, it is put together in such an interesting way that even I got involved in the story of how country music evolved. And you gotta love Elvis’ solid gold Cadillac, don’t you?
But go to the Bank of America Museums on Us site to see the entire list of museums and start your trip planning. You will no doubt find a museum to tour near you.