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“Earnest effort to showcase NW art and selected other genres”

Portland Art Museum
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Ranked #14 of 447 things to do in Portland
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Owner description: One of the oldest art museums on the west coast with an impressive collection of Native American and Asian art, plus a large modern and contemporary wing. Rotating special exhibitions bring the best of the art world to Portland.
Berlin, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
262 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Earnest effort to showcase NW art and selected other genres”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

The Met it ain't, but for a small city museum, the PAM does a great job both of displaying items that are unique to the Pacific Northwest (both Native art as well as fine art reflecting the landscape and culture of the area) as well as bringing bits and pieces of larger collections to share with the locals. One exhibit, for example, was *one single picture* by Monet, but it was beautifully placed and led visitors to the rest of the Impressionists available as well as to a recently acquired Pizarro, so resources are used thoughtfully. In addition to art, the museum is home to the Northwest Film Institute, so during the winter months there is usually an intriguing selection of international or indy film to enhance your visit. As of 2012, the museum was free the last Friday of the month from 5-8, and it's usually packed.

The venue is stretched over two buildings via an underground tunnel. There is a wonderful gift shop and a modest coffee corner. Fortunately, the museum is located on Portland's wonderful streetcar line, so dozens of more interesting restaurants are quickly in reach. That being said, on warm days there are usually a couple of Portland's famous food carts in the courtyard to refresh you after your visit.

Visited September 2012
Thank Pen_Princess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Salem, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
190 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“A treasure-trove in downtown Portland”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Enter the stately main building designed by Portland architect Pietro Belluschi, and wander through large galleries filled with items from the permanent collection, including an outstanding collection of Native American art. Ask at the desk where to see special exhibits. Don't miss the galleries of 20th Century art in space in an amazing modernized space in the former Masonic Temple. If your time is limited, take in the free outdoor sculpture garden in between the main building and the modern wing. The gift shop/cafe entrance is near the sculpture garden. Admission is free on the fourth Friday of every month from 5-8 p.m.

Visited March 2013
Thank CascadeSalem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Better than SF Moma”
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Living in SF, you're a bit..well..egotistical about art. Though I would argue NYC beats SF in terms of museum structures, we tend to have a pretty stellar selection here in terms of the artists we showcase and feature.

That being said, I think Portland has SF beat. This museum is in two large structures. The one that houses the more traditional art, and then the other building, which houses modern art. While the traditional art structure feels a little outdated, there's some terrific pieces in there. The modern art building is stellar though - terrific art and architecture.

We were lucky enough to see the Carrie Mae Weems exhibit which took up about 4 rooms or so. Really terrific experience, definitely catch it if you can. A thought-provoking statement (or variety of statements) on African American culture and history in this country.

We would've liked to stay a little longer but they were about to close so we finished up everything in about 2 hours. I suggest staying a little longer, but it can be done in 2 hours if need be.

Visited March 2013
Thank CristianSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
547 reviews
319 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
“Odd floor plan, but interesting pieces”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

This museum was open on Friday night, so we had a chance to visit. It's spread out over two different buildings connected by an underground tunnel. Loved the Regional art, which included Chihuly, but it was hard to get to and very sort of off the beaten path. There are literally places in the museum where you have to backtrack to get to the place right next to you. In the modern section, they had some nice Impressionist art, including a Van Gogh that I loved. If you are a member of a museum in your area, check and see if they have a reciprocal program. We belong to the Dallas Museum of Art and got in free.

Visited June 2012
Thank Jane S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Nice art museum”
Reviewed March 15, 2013 via mobile

We had a great time in Portland and this was on our "to do" list. It was a bit tricky to navigate at first but the staff was more than happy to point us in the right direction or answer any question we had. Plenty of interesting exhibits to stroll through. We didn't even make it through the attached building.

Thank lin_pauls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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