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“Gem in the midwest”

Des Moines Art Center
Ranked #8 of 65 things to do in Des Moines
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This internationally acclaimed museum houses impressive works by artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keefe and Henri Matisse. The center, which also offers art classes, consists of three buildings, each designed by a celebrated architect: Eliel Saarinen, I.M. Pei and Richard Meier.
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Gem in the midwest”
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Set among the trees of Greenwood Park, the Des Moines Art Center is a treat for all ages. Showcasing works which are traditional to modern, you just feel better about yourself for having spent time to enjoy. Stay for a wonderful lunch!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank 910JAB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Top notch museum”
Reviewed September 23, 2012

My 13yo daughter and I were able to visit here for an hour before our flight left Des Moines and, boy, did we regret not getting there sooner. The quality of the collections was remarkable. This is a must see BUT LEAVE YOUR YOUNG, WILY ONES AT HOME! My 4yo set off every guard's "worry radar" and we had to send him out to the rose garden with my sister-in-law. I actually listened to the guards discussing his progress out of the museum on their radios (made me feel a little uncomfortable hearing that...) and it turns out that they had a marvelous time exploring outside while we finished up inside. Honestly, I understand their concern but I did want to share the experience for other families with little ones to consider. If I make it back to Des Moines, I will not hesitate to visit the museum again.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Allison M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
35 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Free, with a few nice pieces”
Reviewed September 5, 2012

We stopped by after visiting the botanical center and were pleased to find a variety of artwork. I dont't know why, but I was surprised to find some bigger names in their gallery (Picasso, O'Keefe, Hopper). It took a little less than an hour. We might have stayed longer if I didn't feel like our every move was being watched by the staff. They do a great job making art accessible to everyone, but might want to be a little more welcoming to families.

Helpful?
Thank LilGoose M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
103 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Outstanding Art Museum!”
Reviewed August 10, 2012

With a few exception for specific events, , there is no admission charge.There is a chic restaurant on the premises for lunch, that includes edible flowers as a garnish in select dishes. Sarinen, Pei and Meier are the 3 architects whose separate visions converge to create the maginificent Des Moines Art Center. Sarinen's is the oldest part of the building, and often houses its permanent collection, except when featuring a traveling exhibit, such as Jackson Pollock, whose major work is perfectly couched in the intimate setting of the smaller room rather than the main gallery. I confess that I do not like Pollock's work, but I admire his courage as an innovator of the abstract expressionism movement of his time. I am glad the curators of The Des Moines Art Center borrowed it and shared it with the public. I used to visit more often than I do now, living in Boone, and frankly, I am in a mindset to go back on a regular basis. I miss it. I remember when I was a docent there from 1997-2000 and loved learning about the permanent collections, and in advance of traveling exhibits. I loved the way the light streamed through the windowed "hallway" connecting the Sarinen to the Pei gallery, which housed Frank Stella's large "racetrack", the "Three-,Way Wet/DryVacs in plexiglas by Jeff Koons, several Andy Warhol works, among others. I remember Julian Schnabel's "The Death of Fashion" in the lower Meier. and a number of other favorites. I actually felt as comfortable there as I did in my grandmother's house. The Meier had glass squares on some of their stairs between levels, as well as wood. I am smiling as I write, and highly recommend ,including a visit in your itinerary!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ileen E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great collection for a small museum”
Reviewed August 2, 2012

This is a nice little treasure in Des Moines. There is always something interesting to see and the building itself is a work of (modern) art. And it's free!

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Rachel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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