Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's visually stimulating Groupon: for $40, you will receive a one-year individual membership, as well as admission to four Museum After Dark events, from the New Britain Museum of American Art (a $105 value), located in New Britain. You must be at least 21 years old to attend the Museum After Dark events.
The New Britain Museum of American Art, founded in 1903, lays claim to the title of the first art museum in the country dedicated to the display of strictly American works. The Museum's permanent collection features 10,236 American artistic creations, from impressive colonial portraits to modern masterpieces by Andy Warhol and Sol LeWitt. Current exhibitions for eyeballs to chew on include "M.C. Escher: Impossible Reality"—running until November 14, 2010, the exhibit bends museum-goers' minds with famous Escher pieces such as Ascending and Descending and Drawing Hands, the little-known basis for the comic strip Garfield. Guided tours on special topics can be arranged for parties of ten or more, and a free (with museum admission) one-hour "American Masterpieces" tour is given on Sundays at 1 p.m.
Along with the many benefits of an individual museum membership ($45)—including unlimited general admission for one adult and a 10% discount in the Museum Shop—you will also receive admission to all four of the quarterly Museum After Dark parties (total value $60). The adults-only events combine art, live music, and alcohol into a super-being of socializing. A bevy of adult and family-oriented programs occur regularly (though not all programs are free with membership, many feature discounted rates for members), including monthly art happy hour talks. Membership at the NBMAA also entitles aficionados to free admission at thirteen participating art museums around New England, so members may plan spectacular adventures in which clues hidden inside exhibits lead to the fabled Rockwell/Pollock pirate gold fortune.
The readers of the Hartford Advocate rated the New Britain Museum of American Art as the second-best local museum in a 2010 poll. TripAdvisors named the museum the #1 attraction in New Britain and give it an average of four owl-eyes. The New York Times and the Hartford Advocate recently reviewed current exhibitions at the museum. Four Yelpers give the museum five stars and more than 1,300 Facebookers are fans:
- …this is a beautiful, thoughtful and ultimately satisfying little show with much to recommend it. – Benjamin Genocchio on Hudson River Paintings, New York Times
- The New Britain Museum of America [sic] is getting a lot of press for their current exhibition M.C. Escher: Impossible Reality and as part of their NEW/NOW series spotlighting younger artists, they’re featuring another vision of unreality that feels all the more surreal because of how precise and realistic so many elements of the work are. – Alex Dueben, Hartford Advocate
New Britain Museum of American Art
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.
56 Lexington St.
New Britain, Connecticut 06052Get Directions