Hartford >Wadsworth Atheneum
This historic museum's collection dates back five millennia but also showcases the best in modern art..
The oldest continuously operating art museum in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum's collection contains nearly 50,000 pieces from five millennia. The five-building Atheneum complex includes architectural styles ranging from neo-gothic to modern.
Wadsworth Atheneum has a distinguished history. In the early 20th century, the museum was enhanced by bequests from Hartford native J.P. Morgan and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, widow of gun manufacturer Samuel Colt. In the 1930s, the Wadsworth Atheneum embraced modernism under director A. Everett "Chick" Austin, sponsoring both the first Surrealist show and the first Picasso retrospective in the United States. More recent exhibitions have included an Andy Warhol retrospective, "Salvador Dali's Optical Illusions," and a show titled "Calder in CT." The Atheneum occasionally screens films in its elegant basement theater. The museum cafe is open for lunch and dessert.
Manageable Museum. If you don't like the idea of spending 14 days in one museum to see its collection (did anyone say "Le Louvre"?), then you'll enjoy the Wadsworth. The collection is small, relevant and nicely displayed. The architecture is grand and elegant. The guides are passionate. There were held my most pleasant business functions and charming weddings (except for my own!). It feels like a private home that welcomes you to share its beauty.
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