Unlike many of its brethren, the Arlington Museum of Art does not maintain a permanent collection. Instead, it celebrates the ever-changing nature of art by featuring local artists in traveling exhibitions and curated shows. Also, since opening in 1952, the museum has been a headquarters for promoting artistic expression throughout the community. Gallery talks and artist lectures give visitors the chance to interactively learn, and summer art camps get kids motivated to create masterpieces.
While most air-and-space museums house aircraft retired after extensive service, the centerpiece of the collection at the Frontiers of Flight Museum has a flight record that’s hard to match: 163 consecutive orbits around Earth. Between October 11 and 22, 1968, the Apollo 7 command module rocketed around the globe at 17,280 miles per hour, chalking up a healthy number of orbits before splashing into the Atlantic and, eventually, coming to its current residence on the museum floor. Displayed with its hatch open for visitors to peep inside at its instrument-covered panels, the module sits alongside thousands of artifacts from the various golden ages of aeronautic exploration, including salvage from the infamous Hindenburg airship and more than 30 vintage aircraft. The family-friendly museum welcomes younger visitors with the Children’s Discovery Area and a "living history" series featuring aviation icons such as Amelia Earhart and Orville Wright.
Though each work at the Museum of Biblical Art explores themes or depicts scenes from the Bible, the museum’s mission is to provide invaluable insight into centuries’ worth of art history as guests of all backgrounds and denominations learn about art’s portrayal of Western culture. More than 11 galleries and permanent exhibits fill the museum’s 30,000 square feet of space, beckoning visitors to interpret installations ranging from 14th century sculptures to contemporary paintings. In addition to Jewish ceremonial art and watercolors of archaeological holy sites, the MBA also festoons its walls with works by African-American and Hispanic artists that analyze the same biblical themes, albeit from a different cultural perspective.
One of the museum’s permanent fixtures is a life-size bronze casting of Michelangelo’s Pietà, which was authorized by the Vatican and created by a Florentine foundry that practices the same wax-casting technique formerly used by Renaissance artists. Additionally, lithographs by Marc Chagall depict his interpretations of themes in the Old Testament, and line the colonnade leading from the sculpture atrium to the gallery of contemporary art by supercomputers that needed to express themselves.
On a single day in the middle of World War II, actions in three isolated incidents represent an ethical lesson taught to this day at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. On that day—April 19, 1943—three Belgian men attacked a train destined for Auschwitz, freeing its passengers; the occupants of the Warsaw Ghetto united in revolt; and at the Bermuda Conference, officials from the British and American governments declined to take action against ongoing atrocities in Europe. The Dallas Holocaust Museum’s main exhibit locates a crucial distinction in presenting these three events: the difference between "bystanders" and what the museum calls "Upstanders." The exhibit was created in the hopes that every visitor would become an "Upstander," moved not only to remember a horrific past but also to take action when faced with modern threats to human rights.
A self-guided audio tour relates the heroism of those who stood up on that date in 1943 as museum guests explore artifacts, photographs, and a full-size boxcar. Special exhibits that often focus on photography supplement the permanent installation, and testimonies from volunteer survivors and liberators provide a firsthand perspective on the historical tragedy and its lessons. Along with exposing more than 30,000 students and 22,000 walk-in visitors to its messages annually, the museum advocates engagement with the world through educational programs designed for everyone from educators to law-enforcement officials.
There was a time when looking down the barrel of Clyde Barrow's gun wouldn't have seemed too appealing. But now people visit the second floor galleries of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture just to get a glimpse of the infamous weapon, which shares space with more than 1,000 other artifacts, including the first traffic light in Dallas County and handcuffs worn by Lee Harvey Oswald. Taken together, these artifacts trace Dallas County's past from prehistory to the present day, a timeline visitors also explore via the museum's 41 touchscreen computers, four mini theatres screening specially commissioned films, and hands-on activities on topics such as architecture and pioneer life. More hands-on activities await in the education center, where youngsters learn about their local heritage thanks to exhibits on Dallas County children.
Housed in the Old Red Courthouse, a restored Romanesque building from 1892, the museum is practically a large-scale exhibit unto itself. Its many architectural flourishes include a four-story grand staircase, a restored clock tower, and two original stained-glass windows from the courthouse's original collection of more than 100. Tours of all four floors grant visitors access to areas not otherwise open to the general public, including the courtroom and the judge's tightly guarded gavel shed. The historic building makes a fitting setting for the special exhibits that grace the first floor gallery several times a year.