At their best, small museums and private collections provide the kind of viewing experience that big-city museums do not: Visitors can see an entire collection in a short time without collapsing from exhaustion. Focusing on a few works helps the brain remember what it’s seen. Installations tend to be more creative; since small places cannot tell the encyclopedic history of art, they interpret it based on their collections and often blend schools and periods in fascinating ways. I always feel enriched by a visit to a university art museum or a regional collection assembled by a local baron of yore. Taking a detour off the highway during a long road trip, it’s a joy to come upon one of these magical oases. These are my favorites, a selection that covers the history of civilization and the entire country, from coast to coast.
America's Best Small Art Museums
For an intimate look at some of the world’s great art, America’s smaller, lesser-known museums provide the ideal setting.
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