It’s time to shake off the winter blues and head out for some spring adventures. Museums throughout the U.S. have exhibits in store to entertain and inform the whole family. Along with traditional art shows, you can explore topics from television to music, cartoons to dinosaurs, and World War II to high fashion.
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in New York City
Nov. 18, 2017 - September 3, 2018 (will be extended through the summer)
Get up close and personal with the Emmy Award-winning TV drama Downton Abbey throughout a more than 15,000-square-foot exhibit, currently in New York City. Visitors will explore immersive sets, including the opulent dining room, Lady Mary's bedroom and Mrs. Patmore's kitchen. It includes authentic costumes from the show and time period in which it takes place. This show from Imagine Exhibitions has been extended in New York City through the summer due to its popularity, then it will head to Boston.
Magical & Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.
Through May 6, 2018
The first major exhibition on a female artist in the Wyeth family showcases the work of Henriette (Andrew’s sister) and her husband Peter Hurd (also a protege of Henriette and Andrew’s father N.C. Wyeth). “Very little attention has been given to N.C.’s role in shaping and guiding the artistic development and career of his daughters Henriette, Ann and Carolyn,” said Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., chief curator. “Magical & Real is the first exhibition to explore the work and career of N.C.’s eldest child, Henriette, and N.C.’s student Peter Hurd, whom Henriette married in 1929.” The exhibit includes over 100 works by Wyeth family members, most of which come from private collections and have not been seen in public. It’s received rave reviews from art critics and heads to New Mexico this summer.
Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China at the Cincinnati Art Museum
April 20 - Aug. 12, 2018
The first emperor of China in 221 B.C., Ying Zheng is credited with unifying the country after defeating other regional states and then implementing cultural, political and economic reforms. In 1974, 8,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses from his reign were discovered in a mausoleum (considered one of the most important archaeological finds in history). Now, the objects are touring the states. Cincinnati’s exhibit includes more than 40 works that have never been on view before in the U.S.
My Favorite Peanuts: Reflections of Family and Friends at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Through Sept. 16, 2018
The California museum dedicated to cartoonist Charles Schulz turns to memories and memorabilia from his family and friends this spring. The exhibit includes original comic strips, photographs and reflections from Schulz’s wife Jean, their children, and close friends. Their funny and sentimental stories and favorite illustrations provide insight into the Peanuts creator’s life and career.
Into the Fold: The Art and Science of Origami at Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City
Through Jan. 13, 2019
Work by 30 origami artists from around the U.S. and world — including Vietnam, Australia, Israel and Germany — can be seen in Oklahoma for the rest of 2018. The creations go from just millimeters tall to over 80 feet long. “We are honored to showcase the work of some of the foremost origami artists in the world here in Oklahoma City — artists like physicist Robert Lang, wildlife biologist Bernie Peyton, MIT faculty Erik and Martin Demaine, and professional artist Paul Jackson are doing almost unimaginable things with single sheets of paper, and beyond that, have had extraordinary influences in the application of origami to the sciences,” said Scott Henderson, director of SMO’s smART Space galleries.
Mr. Hershey’s Cuba: A Sweet Venture in Sugar, 1916–1946 at The Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, Pa.
After being charmed by the island nation in the beginning of the 20th century, Milton Hershey opened a sugar mill (a key ingredient in his chocolate) in Cuba. He built a railroad and town for his employees there, creating a lasting relationship between the company and workers. “Milton Hershey’s Cuban business venture resulted in steady jobs, comfortable homes and modern conveniences for a large part of the Cuban community,” said Valerie Seiber, collections manager. “This exhibit takes a closer look at both the economic and personal impacts Mr. Hershey had on Cuba and its people.” Visitors will see vintage film and photos, artifacts, and participate in interactive features, such as viewing sugar samples under a microscope.
David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum in New York
Through July 15, 2018
After touring the world for the last five years, a blockbuster David Bowie exhibit — organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London — comes to Brooklyn for a highly anticipated run this spring. On display: 400 artifacts from the Brit-rocker-turned-New-Yorker’s career, including 60 costumes, 85 handwritten lyric sheets including those from Fame and Fashion, album art, photos, 40 music videos, and an immersive, multimedia installation of an international tour. Brooklyn is the last stop on the show’s tour.
Magnificent Mona Bismarck at Frazier Kentucky History Museum in Louisville
Through July 29, 2018
In December of 1933, a panel of seven famous couturiers in Paris named Louisville-native Mona Bismarck the “Best-Dressed Woman in the World” (an honor she won again in 1934 and 1936). Vogue stated: “Her extraordinary catlike eyes and blue-grey hair are New York phenomena” and “her dressing is high art.” Fifty of her admired ensembles can be seen this spring in her home state. The exhibit covers her fashion from the 1930s through the 1970s in four galleries: History & Pre-War, Day Wear & Cocktail Wear, Evening Wear, and Gardening. Many pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Madeleine Vionnet, and jewelers Belperron and Verdura, will be on display.
Cézanne Portraits at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Through July 1, 2018
Paul Cézanne painted almost 200 portraits in his career, including self-portraits and portraits of his wife Hortense Fiquet, son Paul, friends and neighbors. The National Gallery of Art has brought together 60 of these works from collections around the world (including some never before seen in the U.S.) for the first exhibition dedicated to his portraits. “This exhibition provides an unrivaled opportunity to reveal the extent and depth of Cézanne's achievement in portraiture,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.
Permian Monsters at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile, Ala.
Through June 3, 2018
Before the dinosaurs, 290 million years ago, bizarre-looking animals roamed the land and sea during the Permian period. It ended when 90% of all species went extinct; scientists now believe global warming contributed to their demise. Mobile’s science museum gives the creatures a new life with an exhibit of fossilized skeletons and life-size robotic models of the period’s giant insects, sharks, and mammal-like reptiles.
Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathways to the Modern World at COSI in Columbus, Ohio
Through Sept. 3, 2018
Organized by the American Museum of Natural History, a family-friendly traveling exhibit on the Silk Road comes to Columbus’ hands-on science center this spring. It tells the story of the oldest international highway and trade route between Asia and the Middle East through displays, sounds, objects and interactive components. “Visitors will see spectacular sights, smell the spices, marvel at the silk, and hear the stories and music of the great ancient civilizations of Asia and the Middle East,” says Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibit includes a full-scale re-creation of a night market in Turfan, a trio of caravan camels, and a 41-foot-long replica of the prow of an Arabian sailing ship.
Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables at the Whitney Museum in New York
Through June 10, 2018
Grant Wood debuted his American Gothic painting at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. Since then, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, artist’s work has become one of the most iconic images in American art history. Now, the painting of the farming couple is making a rare journey from Chicago to New York City, along with many of Wood’s other works, for the most comprehensive exhibit on his career ever presented. His art reflects the Great Depression and the anxiety of his personal life as a closeted gay man in the Midwest nearly a century ago.
Hope for Those Who Need It at the George C. Marshall Museum in Lexington, Va.
Through June 5, 2018
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan being signed into law, the museum dedicated to George C. Marshall is displaying 25 original lithographs from a European poster competition meant to promote cooperation after World War II. Over 10,000 artists in Europe submitted work to the contest and the best were selected by a group of judges in Paris. The design that won shows a ship with sails made from flags from each participating country.