Cleveland Museum of Art
It’s hard to believe that the Cleveland Museum of Art is knocking on centenarian status. The place is downright fresh and lively these days, thanks in large part to a $350 million renovation and expansion.
CMA, as locals call it, consistently ranks as one of the best comprehensive art museums in the United States. But what does that actually mean?
The museum owns about 45,000 objects including soothing lily pad oils by Monet, ancient hot bod Grecian statues and “stained glass window” collages made of real butterfly wings.
A new glass-covered atrium now connects the museum’s original 1916 Neo Classical building with the modern wings. A recent New York Times article called the expansive space “stunning” and “a kind of town square for the arts.” Visitors might encounter guest speakers and art demonstrations there in the daytime, and then DJs and cocktails during some evenings.
The museum’s renovation included groundbreaking interactive technology. There’s an iPad app for creating custom, shareable CMA tours (i.e. Lucy Loves Impressionistic Ladies). Touch screens help visitors understand, and relate to, the collection. (Use characters from a medieval tapestry to create a comic book story, for example, or rearrange the fruit in a Picasso still life.)
All this, and admission to the permanent collection is free.
The museum’s Provenance Restaurant and Café, though not free, also is a worthy temptress. Well-known regional chef Doug Katz specializes in locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients in this unique restaurant that overlooks the museum’s atrium. Katz also plans occasional menus that complement major exhibits, like Peruvian dishes for an ancient Andean art exhibit.