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“Sometimes quirky, but beautiful things to see”

Harvard Art Museums
Ranked #4 of 80 things to do in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Harvard Art Museums house one of the largest and most renowned art collections in the United States, and are comprised of three museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums) and four research centers (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis). The Fogg Museum includes Western art from the Middle Ages to the present; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, unique among North American museums, is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is focused on Asian art, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern art, and Islamic and later Indian art. Together, the collections include approximately 250,000 objects in all media. The Harvard Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. Integral to Harvard University and the wider community, the museums and research centers serve as resources for students, scholars, and the public. For more than a century they have been the nation’s premier training ground for museum professionals and are renowned for their seminal role in developing the discipline of art history in the United States. The Harvard Art Museums have a rich tradition of considering the history of objects as an integral part of the teaching and study of art history, focusing on conservation and preservation concerns as well as technical studies. The Harvard Art Museums’ 2014 renovation and expansion carried on the legacies of the three museums and united their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. Renzo Piano Building Workshop preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate 21st-century needs. The museums now feature 40 percent more gallery space, an expanded Art Study Center, conservation labs, and classrooms, and a striking glass roof that bridges the facility’s historic and contemporary architecture. The three constituent museums retain their distinct identities in the facility, yet their close proximity provides exciting opportunities to experience works of art in a broader context.
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Lockers / storage, Wheelchair access
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We've been to all of the galleries in the past, but we went to the Sackler last week. Lovely museum, but the arrangement of some of the holdings, especially in the teaching gallery, is a bit quirky. While the curator was trying to connect things from various time periods and places to make a point, I tend to prefer a more traditional arrangement of similar things in the same time period so that I can learn about the changing styles, points of view, politics, etc. Whatever you prefer, do go to these galleries. They have some wonderful art holdings. These are smaller art museums than, for example, the Museum of Fine Arts, so if you want to see quality things but get tired when walking through museums, or if you have a child and want a less hectic place, this is where to go.

Thank ConnecticutLocavore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (337)
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270 - 274 of 337 reviews

Reviewed April 13, 2012

I had just one hour available and it was just the right size for that amount of time.

Thank Dave S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2012

Some of the best collections in the USA. You can spend a day in them. Don't forget the Busch museum.

Thank billskis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2012

The collection is very small (lots of construction going on) but was still $9 to see some interesting but sparse pieces. I don't think I'd have minded this so much if it wasn't for the surly gallery staff who seemed offended that anyone would actually want to see the collection and so scowled at visitors and generally made the atmosphere icy. I'd advise waiting until the construction work is done. Maybe theyll employ some nicer people at that point.

Thank VictoriaandAlex2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2012

OK - so the museums are under construction, but even then, a bit of a dissapointment. With $ 22b in the bank, surely they can do better??

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

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