Thursday, December 30, 2010

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Yesterday Marc and I took Hannah to the Museum of Fine Arts. We left Max at daycare for this trip, and it was really nice to enjoy time together as the three of us.

I love this museum. My mother's favorite painting is there, and when we came to tour colleges when I was a junior in high school, the museum made a big impression on me. When it came time for me to rent my first apartment after college, I found one right nearby, crossing the Fens area to Park Drive. I walked through the MFA parking lot almost every day to get to the train (until I started taking the bus). Marc and I had a membership to the museum before the kids arrived, and I think we've still gone every year or so since then. There's always something new to see.

Yesterday's visit was no exception, as we had to see the new museum expansion, which is mostly complete after years of work. One section is slated to open next fall, but the new "Art of the Americas" wing has been debuted. Before we made it there, we sought out the temporary exhibit "Scaasi: American Couturier" featuring dresses made for various members of society and celebrities such as Barbra Streisand and Natalie Wood. The dresses were just beautiful - hopefully Hannah will actually become a fashion designer some day and make something like that for me to wear.

We wandered through some other galleries until we found one of the many children's activities that are set up throughout the museum. Hannah created the triptych (yay, words remembered from my one art history course!) you see above featuring her in the past, present and future. It's easy to be inspired to create self portraits when you're sitting in a giant gallery filled with portraits.

We then made our way to the New American Cafe in the Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Family Courtyard (yay Shapiros!), and while I waited in line, Hannah filled out a "passport" to use as we toured the new wing. We had a really nice lunch in an absolutely beautiful setting, complete with excellent people watching as almost all of Boston seemed to parade in front of us to get to the new wing.

Finally after lunch we walked through all four floors of the new space. There are 53 new galleries, with art from the Pre-Columbian era through the third quarter of the twentieth century (according to the MFA website). I loved the lay out - as you began in the basement level and worked your way up, it was like watching American history unfold before you. Items were grouped together on each level by period of time, so you moved seamlessly from paintings to sculptures to jewelry and furniture. There was so much to see, but since the museum was very crowded, we couldn't cover it all in detail, but I hope we'll get back there soon enough.

Hannah really enjoyed herself, but couldn't pick a favorite piece she saw. I have a feeling her favorite part was using her allowance money to buy something at the gift shop, but that's an important part of the museum experience too, right?

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