The Wadsworth Atheneum not only offers a fabulous collection of art, but has a fascinating history that ought to drive any art enthusiast to its doors. The country’s first permanent gallery of fine art, its main building’s castle-like architecture is a nod to the Gothic Revival style of Hartford’s Christ Church (1828), which founder Daniel Wadsworth admired.
The Wadsworth is well-known for its fine and extensive collection of Hudson River School 19th-century wilderness paintings. It was also one of the first museums in the U.S. to acquire surrealist masterpieces from artists like Dali and de Chico, in addition to Renaissance art by Caravaggio. Now housing other heavy-hitters, like Picasso, Miro, Warhol, Hopper, Klimt, and Matisse, the permanent collection is varied and hugely valuable.
The Wadsworth Atheneum continues to evolve in progressive ways. The museum now offers a program called Access Art, which provides transportation to and from the museum and accommodates up to 20 passengers (for more information, call 860-278-2760 ext. 3046; fees apply).
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Information
- Public Transportation: Good (easily accessible by Connecticut Transit bus)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good (ASL interpreters are also available for hearing-impaired visitors, but must be pre-arranged)
- Hours: Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Wednesday–Friday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. Note: The first Thursday of every month, the museum’s hours are 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
- Admission: $10, seniors $8, students (13-college) $5, members and children under 12 free, First Thursdays admission (5–8 p.m.) is $5. Group discounts are available
- Free Day: There are four community open-house days per year
- Tours: Free with the price of admission. Museum Highlight tours are given daily at 1:00 p.m. Art in Focus are given on Thursdays at noon
- Membership: Individual membership is $45 annually and includes free unlimited gallery previews and events, unlimited museum admission for one, early invitations to exhibitions, and unique travel opportunities. Household membership ($60) offers the same benefits for two adults and their children
- Other Benefits: Reciprocal privileges at 14 museums nationwide are offered at the Reciprocal membership level ($170).