2022 Guide to Fine Art Museums > Strictly speaking, a museum is a place dedicated to the muses — the nine (female) divinities of the arts, history, science, and literature who were revered by the ancient Greeks. Though most of us don’t worship those goddesses anymore, the subjects they symbolized are still brought to life daily in the vast array of museums found all over the world.
Even the Greek gods could not have predicted how central art museums would become in our civic life. They are no longer just places to learn, but also places to gather, celebrate, mourn, and have fun. That accessibility is key: the more often we bring our kids to museums to — say — attend a festival, the more likely they are to return as adults to enjoy the collections and exhibitions inside.
Speaking of art collections, museums deserve enormous credit for cataloguing and posting their collections online; they hold these treasures on behalf of the public, and now we have an ever-clearer idea of what they are. Moreover, many museums are now offering terriﬁc online programs to engage their current audiences, entice new ones, and — in some savvy cases — raise revenues, too.
Every winter, Fine Art Connoisseur dedicates part of an issue to highlighting America’s art museums. I am particularly fond of this initiative because I spent much of my career working in art museums and still love visiting them.
Needless to say, 2020 and 2021 were challenging for museums. Throughout the pandemic, however, our museum colleagues have never lost their focus on sharing the joys of ﬁne art even when it’s harder, or impossible, for us to enter their remarkable buildings. Fortunately, most museums have now reopened, and their exhibitions and events have reminded us just how important they are to our communities.
There are two ways readers of Fine Art Connoisseur can support museums. First, join as a member — even if it’s just a lower-level membership and even when you’re not particularly passionate about a speciﬁc museum’s specialties. This is a great way to help museums survive, and many museums have created a cheaper virtual membership that allows ﬁrst-timers to get their toes wet.
Second, there’s the worthy impulse to shop. Many museums have terriﬁc websites highlighting the same high-quality merchandise they sell in their on-site boutiques. Even though the holidays are behind us, why not click on the relevant webpage and buy art-related items to delight your loved ones?
2022 will surely offer its own share of challenges. Let’s all do what we can to make museums’ paths a little easier, and let’s thank them for all they do to lift our spirits.
Finally, if you know of a museum that should be included in this section in the future, please let us know. We are always grateful for your feedback.
Get the 2022 guide to fine art museums here.
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