Category Archives: Decorative

Art Institute of Chicago

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Chicago, Illinois – Home to one of the best art collections in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago stands tall in the realm of important art museums of the 21st century. It was voted #1 Museum in United States in 2013 by the TripAdvisor.com users.

Close to my hometown of Peoria, I remember many visits to this venerable institution growing up. My most recent trip to Chicago did not allow for a visit inside, but the time I spent exploring Millennium Park allowed me some great views of the new wing.

The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession’s highest ethical standards and practices.

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879, a critical era in the history of Chicago as civic energies were devoted to rebuilding the metropolis that had been destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. Its first collections consisting primarily of plaster casts, the Art Institute found its permanent home in 1893, when it moved into a building, constructed jointly with the city of Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. That building, its entry flanked by the two famous bronze lions, remains the “front door” of the museum even today. In keeping with the academic origins of the institution, a research library was constructed in 1901; eight major expansions for gallery and administrative space have followed, with the latest being the Modern Wing, which opened in 2009. The permanent collection has grown from plaster casts to nearly 300,000 works of art in fields ranging from Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art. Together, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago are now internationally recognized as two of the leading fine-arts institutions in the United States.

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International Quilt Study Center & Museum

95420038-b1a3-4465-82f7-5fbccfb8a6e0Lincoln, Nebraska is home to this unusual “Museum of the Day,” the International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSCM).

The center houses the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. The more than 3,500 quilts date from the early 1700s to the present and represent more than 25 countries. IQSCM makes its academic home in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

IQSCM was founded in 1997 when native Nebraskans Ardis and Robert James donated their collection of nearly 1,000 quilts to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their contribution became the centerpiece of what is now the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world.

Through private funds from the University of Nebraska Foundation and a lead gift from the James family, the center opened its new location in 2008.

The glass and brick, environmentally sustainable building was awarded silver level LEED (Leadership in Energy and environmental Design) certification. Quilt House holds more than 3,500 quilts, as well as state-of-the-art research and storage space and custom-crafted galleries.

The plaza sculpture “Reverie” was created by artist Linda Fleming and commissioned by the family of Betty Duncan: Robert Duncan, Dianne Duncan Thomas and Kathryn Duncan.

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Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Winterthur_6058aWinterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is Henry Frances du Pont’s gift to the state of Delaware and to American history lovers from around the world. It’s the “Museum of the Day” today!

One of my all-time favorites, the museum features furniture and decorative arts from early American history.

Almost 60 years ago, collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969) opened his childhood home, Winterthur, to the public. Today, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, with an unparalleled collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. The collection is displayed in the magnificent 175-room house, much as it was when the du Pont family lived here, as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries.

Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands. Designed by du Pont, its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among America’s best, with magnificent specimen plantings and massed displays of color. Graduate programs and a preeminent research library make Winterthur an important center for the study of American art and culture.

I encourage anyone who lives in or visits Delaware to explore the amazingly beautiful collections at this outstanding institution.

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