Founded in 1903, New Britain Museum of American Art was designated the first museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to American artwork. Upon its founding, wealthy industrialist John Butler Talcott endowed the museum with a hefty sum of gold bonds and bottled phoenix tears with which to purchase modern oil paintings. The collection blossomed to include other artistic media over time, and it now consists of more than 10,000 works spanning more than three centuries of American creative endeavor. The museum's permanent collections showcase works by noted American artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt to Georgia O'Keeffe. Along with rotating exhibitions and borrowed collections, the museum showcases work by emerging artists.
Belly dancer Amira Mor has tapped finger cymbals for Moroccan royalty and shimmied for the prime minister of Jordan. Her moves can be elegant or sensual: she coached Britney Spears through new routines at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, and has also choreographed for the New York City Ballet. Her moves have also landed her a role Sex and the City 2 and taken her to Guantanamo Bay, where she led belly dance boot camps for U.S. Marines. “From the moment Mor begins her dance,” a reporter for the Star-Ledger wrote, “there’s no doubt who’s in charge.… She wears a fringed bustier spangled with gold, and, for a skirt, slashes of sparkly fabric that whip away from her body as she spins, which she does in a blur of speed.…”
At Amira Mor International Entertainment Company, anyone interested in belly dancing can benefit from the award-winning dancer's instruction. With the help of fellow dance instructor Stephanie, she teaches groups some traditional Middle Eastern moves, drawing on modern innovations including flashy hip movements and songs about fax machines. Additionally, Amira is a certified fitness instructor, so she can also help students on quests for sculpted abs.
With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2–10 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Tunnels filled with natural decor await youngsters in the museum's indoor jungle-themed playscape, where they can shake excess energy out of their bounding legs in preparation for naptime or hibernation season. In the ESPN center, kids can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
LiloVeve—a composite of the words "live" and "love"—is part gallery, part wedding-band boutique, and part jewelry-making school. First came the gallery. Caroline Glemann founded it to showcase a range of art that includes paintings, photos, and a permanent jewelry collection. Jewelry-making students take classes and workshops to pick up skills in metalwork, wax carving, and gold alloying. They can even learn about design from an industry perspective, or prep for the SAT's recently added fashion section. Handmade rings adorn betrothed digits after LiloVeve craftspeople lovingly solder, saw, and pierce each sparkling circle.
Rockwell Art and Framing has been involved in the community since 1987. In 2002, Stephen Rockwell Desloge acquired multiple art galleries and framing stores, consolidating them into one entity at multiple locations.
Among the paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works of art displayed at each gallery, professional staffers perform a variety of services, such as custom framing and restoration. They're also happy to provide in-home consultations, picture hanging, personalized portraits, art appraisal, or custom commissions. Three Rockwell shops are home to galleries that display rotating exhibits from featured artists. These exhibits range from paintings and photography to museum-quality documents and artifacts, such as an 1842 edition of the Declaration of Independence. Rockwell Art and Framing also actively supports the local community and beyond. Among other things, the shop has collected hundreds of donated art for a charity sale that raised over $25,000 for Save the Children, an organization that has helped thousands of families recover after the earthquake in Haiti.
Reflecting the diverse scope and scale of science itself, the exhibits at the New York Hall of Science range from massive NASA rockets to holographic depictions of the infinitesimal atom. Originally built for the 1964 World's Fair to showcase technological advancements, the center has since transformed into an interactive museum that, since 1986, has seen more than 7 million visitors. Today, more than 450 interactive exhibits invite visitors of all ages to explore the world by watching living microbes thrive and evolve in a miniscule zoo, discovering the powerful mathematics hidden in everyday objects, and testing their understanding of physics and Plutonian trash talk on a mini-golf course inspired by the cosmos.