Settled between an 1839-built Greek Revival building known as the Old Customs House and a just-opened expansion building, the Erie Art Museum displays an expansive collection of American and international art and fosters artistic growth with a series of educational programs and thought-provoking shows. Along with free admission to exhibits, members enjoy invitations to exclusive special events, including a private preview of the 88th Annual Spring Show on Saturday, April 16. Discounted tickets to concerts and performances such as the Contemporary Music Series let membership-wielders explore the nether regions of audible art that allow for bobbing heads, tapping feet, and pumping fists. Members looking to live out dreams of becoming an artist can enjoy reduced tuition for the museum's art classes and workshops. Groupon buyers get a 15% discount off services from the Museum Frame Shop, and a 10% markdown on merchandise in the museum gift shop can help fill the registry for a wedding between an artist and the world's foremost collector of Pennsylvania-theme mugs.
Glass Growers Gallery covers its walls and pedestals with works by more than 100 regional artists and hosts regular art exhibits and other events. Functional pieces include pottery, jewelry, and lamps ($5+); prints ($5+) provide inquisitive onlookers with windows into worlds in which people and animals move in slower-than-slow motion. Glass Growers Gallery also creates commemorative wall reliefs, sculptures, and personalized awards to help illustrate customers' appreciation for coworkers, teammates, and fellow award enthusiasts.
An accredited world-conservation zoo, Akron Zoo houses more than 700 animals across 50 acres of exhibits. Visitors can gaze upon african lions, chilean flamingos, and other creatures from across the globe or shake hands with local flora in a garden dedicated to native Ohio plants. The zoo also participates in breeding programs for endangered species, such as jaguars, lemurs, snow leopards, and humboldt penguins, all of which welcome visitors to their zoo homes, as long as you wipe your feet first. Guests who choose the second option can stop and snack on a pepperoni or cheese pizza for added fuel to explore exhibits.
The Frame Center's staff draw upon the business's 30 years of operation to provide decorative and museum-quality framing services for original artwork, prints, and other memorabilia. With roughly 2,000 frames and hundreds of mats to choose from, mounted and framed pictures under glass start at $29.95 for an 11"x14" frame and $74.95 for a 32"x40". Prices can increase for higher-quality wood frames, which many customers choose in order to enhance velvet portraits unearthed from the basement of the Louvre. Mats range from paper and museum-grade conservation material to hand-wrapped fabrics to provide a suitable backdrop for a wide variety of keepsakes. The Frame Center's experienced staff also encases shadow-boxed objects, photo portraits, and diplomas ($100+), as well as needlepoint or cross-stitch pieces ($70+). A wall display ($24.95+) offers a long-lasting way to display children's' illustrations or campaign posters for Clifford the Big Red Dog.
The Erie County Historical Society doesn't preside over just one museum—it maintains five of them. Of course, four of the museums are relatively small-scale, seeing that they're housed in former homes. Two homes from the Civil War era, known as the Battles Museums of Rural Life, feature historical gems as well as gardens and outdoor trails. Alternatively, the Cashier's House showcases relics related to the CFO of Erie's federal bank branch, who built the townhouse in 1839. At Watson-Curtze Mansion, the resplendence of the industrial era in Erie shines. And the Museum of Erie County History, exhibits pay homage to local history from pre-settlement to present day.
The National Packard Museum preserves the Detroit-made Packards from 1899 to 1958, famous for their white-walled tires and art-deco chrome hood ornaments. The car of choice for statesmen, gangsters, and actors playing gangsters chasing statesmen, meticulously maintained Packards from all eras populate the National Packard Museum’s halls and exhibits, from the 1900 Model B to limousines, ambulances, and convertibles from the 1950s. Museum visitors learn how the Packard line advanced vehicular safety standards and how the company implemented design innovations, such as the steering wheel. Auto-tourists will also find the National Packard Museum replete with historical photographs, product catalogs, and company documents, which reveal plans to create a car that could be driven by super-intelligent muskrats by 1992.