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Crystal Bridges Museum exterior

US MUSEUMS OFF THE BEATEN PATH

These six museums are more than worth a visit.

The United States is home to some of the world’s most venerated art museums, but not all of them have the name recognition of the MoMA or The Metropolitan. Situated all over America, these institutions house impressive permanent collections and host high-caliber traveling shows in striking settings designed by some of the world’s top architects. And whether they happen to be in Virginia or California, they’re more than worth the visit.

Underground Museum interior
The Underground Museum

The Underground Museum (Los Angeles, California)

Located in LA’s Arlington Heights neighborhood, The Underground Museum was founded by the late painter Noah Davis along with his wife, the sculptor Karon Davis. The multi-use space is home to everything from world-class exhibitions (some done in partnership with fellow art museum MOCA) to film screenings and public talks with creators of color often at the center.

Saint Louis Art Museum exterior
Saint Louis Art Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, MO)

With artwork spanning five millennia and originating from six continents, the breadth of the Saint Louis Art Museum is enough to enthrall any visitor. The spacious main building (completed in time for the 1904 World’s Fair) is just one portion of a complex that includes a David Chipperfield-designed addition and a manicured sculpture garden.

High Museum of Art exterior
High Museum of Art

High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA)

Atlanta’s High Museum is named after Mrs. Joseph M. High who gave the art museum its first home in 1926. It’s since moved out of that small family residence and into a modern, light-filled space where 18,000 artworks are housed spanning photography, contemporary painting and the decorative arts. However, it has also played host to important temporary exhibitions, such as the one dedicated to the late artist, art historian and curator, David Driskell.

Glenstone Museum exterior
Glenstone Museum

The Glenstone Museum (Potomac, MD)

Specializing in post-WWII art, the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland has incredible architecture to showcase its even more impressive collection of contemporary art. It takes advantage of the tranquil natural surroundings to create both indoor and outdoor spaces for an immersive art viewing experience. Notable programming includes exhibitions of the work of Faith Ringgold and Cy Twombly.

August Wilson Museum exterior
August Wilson African American Cultural Center

August Wilson African American Cultural Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson was one of America’s foremost playwrights whose work centered the Black experience. It’s fitting that the art museum bearing his name does the same. Consisting of three art galleries and classrooms for young and old alike, it aims to spotlight the African diaspora and Black excellence in the fine arts–its celebrated exhibition of paintings by the emerging artist Dominic Chambers was a case in point.

Crystal Bridges Museum exterior
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR)

Crystal Bridges gets its name from the many bridges connecting its Moshe Safdie-designed pavilions. Located in Arkansas (the home state of founder and Walmart heiress, Alice Walton), the museum specializes in American art. Spanning from the colonial period through the present day, the collection features masterworks like Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola in its permanent collection.