“So, uh, what are we doing today?”
This question has left the lips of any Hopkins student who has ever stayed for intersession more times than we would care to admit. As much as being a human-vegetable on campus with your best friends for a couple weeks is really, really fun, there are days when you actually feel like you want to do something and when those days do come along, all you’re left with is that one question – what should we do?
A great answer to that question: museums! Over the past couple of weeks, my friends and I have visited an absurd amount of museums, both in Baltimore and in D.C – some I didn’t even know existed before this month. When I’ve told fellow Hopkins students what I’ve been doing, they, too, have been surprised at the accessibility, high quality, and even existence of these museums. In order to bring awareness to these wonderful places, I thought it would be helpful to compile a little list of the museums I know of in and around Baltimore – for the next time you and your friends don’t know what you’re doing today.
- Homewood Museum
No excuses here – this museum is literally on campus. We walk past it everyday and often ignore its presence but we really shouldn’t as it is home to a tremendously detailed look into 1800s Baltimore. In particular, it has an especially impressive collection of Baltimore furniture. You have to see the museum via a guided tour, so you end up leaving with a vast amount of knowledge about each of the pieces, and you’re able to ask a ton of questions if you so like! Free for Hopkins students!
- The Baltimore Museum of Art
Okay, so this one is pretty well-visited among Hopkins students, probably because we’re located right next to it, but if you haven’t gone yet, you really should – the museum has a wonderful collection including everything from African art to modern art to impressionist art. It’s big enough where you can spend a whole afternoon wandering around in it, it’s literally two minutes away from campus, and it’s totally free. Plus, are you really a Hopkins student if you haven’t insta-ed that molecular bubble display they have on the second floor?
- The Walters Art Museum
I truly do not know how I had never heard of this museum before this intersession, because it’s amazing. Featuring four levels, the museum holds an astounding collection of artwork (featuring early Byzantine, American, Gothic, Islamic, Baroque, Asian, and Ancient Greek art), all collected by the elusive yet extremely wealthy Walters family. My favorite part of the museum was the library room which featured old globes, narwhal tusks, stuffed animal skins, and many other momentos from the era of European exploration. The beautiful building is located on Mount Vernon, only a few stops away on the Charm City Circulator Purple line. Also free!
- American Visionary Art Museum
I’m not sure how else to put it – this place was pretty weird. But in the best way. The exterior of the museum was decorated with disembodied doll heads, mirror shards, and the remnants of a school bus (??) and the interior was similarly bizarre, filled with quirky exhibitions; my favorite was the one centered on mysteries. There was an exhibit in the basement that was about farting – enough said. Also, best gift shop ever. It was a truly non-traditional museum experience, but one that was wholly enjoyable. Not free, but worth it!
- National Gallery of Art
So this museum isn’t in Baltimore; rather, it’s in DC. But it’s an amazing museum that is definitely worth the $8 MARC train. This museum is world-famous for its extensive collection of literally any type of artwork, as well as its breathtaking architecture. My friends and I made the trip to see the Vermeer exhibit (which closed yesterday 🙁 tragic…), which was a once in a lifetime experience – the biggest collection of Vermeer paintings to ever exist together in the USA. The National Gallery of Art is full of wonderful special exhibition like that, and is home to a stunning permanent collection, too. Walk, do not run! Also it’s free!!
I hope you enjoyed this somewhat eclectic mix of museums in the Baltimore/DC area, and that this was a somewhat informative guide! I seriously could not recommend these museums more. Enjoy exploring!