There’s Amazing Museums Outside of NYC.
When thinking of great American museums, obvious examples like the Met and MoMA dominate the conversation. However, the other cities in the United States are home to some incredible museums which are magnificent even just to look at.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
A contemporary museum first established in 1927, the Walker Art Center received a major extension in 2005 by renowned architects Herzog and de Meuron, is an attempt to question accepted standards of Modernism. Arranged as a kind of campus of small buildings and larger structures, visitors can walk between the edifices housing works by artists such as Jasper Johns and Matthew Barney on street-like walkways dotted with geometric patches of grass. Additions over the years include multiple galleries and even a theater.
de Young Museum, San Francisco, California
Another contemporary masterpiece from Herzog and de Meuron, the de Young Museum suffered major damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, and was replaced by a new building in 2005. Reminiscent of an air traffic control tower, the exterior features a unique-looking skin of perforated copper panels which are intended to turn a deeper shade of green and brown over the years to come, mirroring the foliage of the beautiful gardens surrounding it. https://deyoung.famsf.org/
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
The North Building of the Denver Art Museum is nicknamed “the Castle,” given its sharply rising ornate towers which are evocative of a European fortress, contrasting with its overall postmodernist style. These elements reflect the roots and inspirations of Italian architect Gio Ponti. The sharp points of the Frederic C. Hamilton Building on the museum’s campus evoke a quasi-futurist appearance which would not look out of place on the set of a sci-fi movie. Visitors would do well to leave a lot of spare memory on their phones when coming to photograph these distinct and extraordinary buildings.
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
This early ’70s construction conceived by American architect Louis Kahn is composed of 16 huge vaults resembling airport hangars, proudly lined up on lush green lawns flanked by lines of trees. Inspired by the Italian architecture of the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Kahn has managed to blend the functional shapes of modernist architecture with a classic beauty which entices the viewer before they’ve even witnessed the impressive collection of European art inside. A far cry from the dark, cavernous interiors of real airport hangars, the interior is naturally lit by skylights, making the most of the bright Texan sunlight and creating a beautiful interior for art lovers to lose themselves in.
Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut
This Victorian marvel, conceived by Edward Tuckerman Potter, was built for the legendary American writer Mark Twain, and reflects his spirit wonderfully, mixing vivid colors with a gorgeous interior that wouldn’t look out of place as a royal retreat. The house boasts 19 bedrooms housed inside an asymmetrical exterior with steep roofs and a magnificent south-facing balcony. Two of his cherished characters, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, were conceived within the walls of this comfortable and eccentric dwelling.
Americans are gifted with a wealth of incredible museums around the country, and patronage of world-famous centers of art is one of the strengths which continues to make the US a global center for creative expression. While these five buildings all house outstanding collections of art, history, and culture, they’re also fine examples of the kind of architecture a country can be proud of.