Cleveland’s Amazing Museum of Art

I was certain an experience at the Cleveland Museum of Art was one of the opening pieces for RideLocalDreamGlobal.com, and even remember my closing thoughts. During the recent website revamp and a bit of housecleaning, I realized there was no post for CMA– a glaring omission in need of immediate correction!

The Cleveland Museum of Art was founded in 1913, through an endowment by Horace Kelley, John Huntington, and Hinman Hurlbut, three prominent Cleveland industrialists, on property donated by Jeptha H. Wade II. In 1916, the museum opened as the centerpiece of Wade Park, just north of Wade Lagoon. In 1958 an addition doubled the floor space of the original museum, and additions in 1971 and 1983 expanded the museum further. After 2001, two of the additions were demolished to make way for further updates, and creating space for the enormous collection enjoyed by CMA visitors today.

It was a chilly February Saturday when we took the folks to University Circle for a cultural escape from NEOhio dreariness. Merely stepping into the vast Atrium connecting the buildings is an experience unto itself, seemingly a step out of place and time – and much larger than one would guess from the outside! With three levels and various wings to the four points of the compass connected to the Atrium, the Cleveland Museum of Art is enormous, and can take the better part of the day to see it all. As the central Atrium connects it all, it makes the perfect place to regroup, re-hydrate, and maybe grab a snack at the café, before diving into the next area of the museum.

After reveling in the enormity of the Atrium, a great place to begin visiting the exhibits is the ArtLens gallery where you’ll find an interactive taste of what the museum has to offer. I’d suggest downloading the ArtLens app to your smartphone to help direct and enrich your visit to the museum – though knowledgeable volunteers walk the museum to answer questions if you choose to lose the phone while visiting. When you finish at ArtLens, head back to the Atrium and pick any new direction and level, just to see where exploring takes you.

Art is very subjective, and it’s rare that even two people visiting together have the same interests in the museum. I tend to be drawn to photography and the Armor Court while PrettyWife prefers the Impressionists, but no worries – there’s something for everyone at CMA! Regardless of what moves you, however, be sure to wander the entire museum. The original building is a work of art unto itself, with acres of marble and granite, ornate woodwork, columns, and high ceilings – and you may be surprised at what reaches out to you as you glance about. Each time I visit I seem find new things to appreciate, and I’m often curious how I missed them on previous visits.

One visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art will be enough to understand why the Cleveland Museum of Art is considered one of the top art museums in the US (if not the world), while multiple visits only solidify that feeling. My folks, appreciative native Clevelanders who’ve realized their dreams of traveling the globe, were amazed by the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the many improvements made since they last visited decades ago. Though they’ve seen many of the greatest sights on this planet, it’s fun to know they can still be surprised by what Cleveland has to offer! The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the many gems found in and around downtown Cleveland, and well worth a visit in any season.

Before closing, a necessary bit of comic geek trivia: The Atrium of the Cleveland Museum of Art stars proudly and prominently (as the Triskelion) in the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

The Cleveland Museum of Art is free to the public, with admission charged only for special exhibits. The museum is open most days 10-5, Wednesday and Friday till 9pm, closed Mondays.

Keep Riding Local, Dreaming Global, and we’ll see you on the road- Enjoy!

-mike

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