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Museum Guide: Rock star exhibitions

Picasso’s “Mother and Child”

The museum world is evolving and bringing exciting new possibilities to group travel.

Museums are an integral component of the travel experience. They give us engaging introductions to the history, art, science and culture of the places we’re visiting, and expand our minds far beyond what we see with our own eyes. Check out any great group tour itinerary, and chances are you’ll find a museum or two in the mix.

Today, the changing mind-sets of museum directors and the public they serve have created opportunities for museums to enhance group travel experiences even more. Gone are the days of staring at objects behind glass — modern museums invite their visitors to interact with artifacts and the stories they tell and offer an ever-changing menu of options.

Today’s great museums are rolling out engaging new exhibitions that capture the imaginations of their 21st-century visitors and offering experiences that haven’t always been a part of the museum tradition. In this edition of our annual Museum Guide, we’re highlighting the blockbuster exhibitions, outstanding dining options and interactive experiences available at some of the great museums all across the United States.

Consider adding some of these institutions to your 2013 travel plans, and let this guide inspire you to uncover the great possibilities available at any of the museums you visit.

Museums are often judged on the strength of their permanent collections, but curators have discovered that special exhibitions often bring new energy and new visitors to museums. Some institutions feature highly publicized touring exhibitions that show up in museums all over the country, and others put together their own “blockbuster” exhibits that represent a special subject.

Here are four special exhibits that we’re excited to see in 2013.

— Picasso and Chicago —
Art Institute of Chicago
In 1913, the Art Institute of Chicago was the first American art museum to display the work of Pablo Picasso, who would become one of the pre-eminent artists of the 20th century. This year, the museum is celebrating the 100th anniversary of that display with “Picasso and Chicago,” a special exhibit highlighting Picasso’s work.

The exhibit features more than 250 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and ceramics from around Chicago. Some of the works come from private owners around the city; others belong to the museum’s Picasso collection. The exhibit chronicles Picasso’s career, as well as the 20th-century growth of Chicago as a national art hub.

“Picasso and Chicago” is open now and runs until May 12.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.