Kelley Loftus and David Miller, artists and museum professionals, bring us the inside scoop on boutique museums in Manhattan. In my interview with Kelley and David, they target Manhattan museums off the well-worn tourist path. They share three of their favorites:
The Hispanic Society Museum:
As you walk in the front door of the Hispanic Society Museum at 155th Street and Broadway, the first thing you see is Francisco Goya’s The Duchess of Alba. As Kelley says, “What more could you want?”
- Hispanic Society location
Not only does the Hispanic Museum house magnificent paintings by El Greco, Velasquez, Jose de Ribera, but also incredible collections of ceramics, textiles, decorative arts and sculpture grace the cases. My personal favorites were the ceramics. The designs and colors never go out of style.
This free museum offers a comprehensive survey of Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American and Filipino art, artifacts and books from the Middle Ages to the present.
On your next visit to NYC, try to include this hidden jewel in your schedule.
The Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) features art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. Donald Rubin’s private collection of Himalayan art formed the foundation of the museums permanent collection. In 1998, Mr. Rubin purchased the old Barney’s department store in Chelsea and spent the next six years renovating the 70,000 square foot space.
- Rubin Museum location
One of the most interesting ways the museum interacts with the community is Lunch Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, the museum presents a film and/or speaker in the museums’ state-of-the art theater where you can learn while you eat lunch. One Wednesday I saw a film on the herders of the Xinjiang region of China. The experience influenced me so profoundly that I am planning a trip to the region in September to film and write about the people of the region.
Although I never had the chance to ascend at the K2 Lounge, David highly recommends it. Live music presented on the week-ends.
Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian)
The National Museum of the American Indian houses over 800,000 works of Native American Indian art. The museum is located in the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in lower Manhattan. As part of the Smithsonian family, temporary exhibitions are some of the best entertainment to be had in Manhattan.
The day I visited, the museum had an exhibit of Fritz Scholder’s work including a video that I watched at least five times. The guard must have noticed my interest in the work because when I exited the screening area, he pointed out some of the finer points of Scholder‘s sculpture. I would have missed these points had it not been for his direction.
A visit to the Museum of the American Indian can easily be combined with your trip to see The Statue of Liberty since the old Custom House is just across Bowling Green (street) from Battery Park where the Liberty ferries dock.
- Museum of the American Indian location
Note: This interview was filmed at the Frying Pan Restaurant and Bar (a barge that sits on the Hudson River) at West 25th . A Manhattan heliport is close by. The sounds of the city are included for your pleasure at no extra charge!
New York City Museum trivia:
1. Here’s an easy one… What do the initials MOMA stand for?
Correct: Museum of Modern Art
2. How about this one… When and why do teams inflate huge balloons around the American Museum of Natural History?
Correct: Every year, the day before Thanksgiving, teams inflate balloons in preparation for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.