Founded in 1903, the New Britain Museum of American Art was and remains the first institution to be designated strictly as a holding for American art in the U.S. Although it remains a relatively small collection at approximately 5,000 pieces, its choices are strong, particularly in the painting and sculpture areas, with works from Winslow Homer, John Quidor, William Sidney Mount, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassett, and John Singer Sargent.
Coupled with these American heavy-hitters is the excellent setting in which the museum itself is located. Set in Walnut Hill Park, the grounds are picturesque and reflect some of the inspiration to the landscape pieces within.
An insider’s tip: The nearby Angelo’s Deli on West Main St., just off of Lexington (where the museum itself is located), is a true Italian deli, providing a great lunch (or the makings of a picnic) after taking in the art New Britain has to offer.
New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Monday
- Admission: $9, seniors $8, children under 12 free
- Free Day: Saturdays (10 a.m.-noon)
- Tours: Docent-led tours are $10 person
- Audio Tours: Free. You may choose among 36 art objects for up to a full one-hour tour of the highlights of the museum’s permanent collection, or from three family tours, all of which are available in numerous languages
- Membership: Individual membership is $45 and provides unlimited free general admission, invitations to openings, lectures, concerts, and gallery talks; discounts on lectures, adult classes, and workshops, plus unlimited free membership to 11 New England museums, including Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Newport Art Museum and Art Association, Cape Cod Museum of Art, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Danforth Museum of Art, Fruitlands Museums, Fitchburg Art Museum, Bennington Museum, and Farnsworth Art Museum. Discounted memberships are available for seniors ($40), as well as educators and students ($35). Household membership ($75) provides admission for entire families, all benefits included.