The Walters Art Museum

The Baltimore Museum of Art has a huge collection of pieces from renowned artists, from Van Gogh to Picasso. But with the big names comes big crowds. For a less busy visit to a place with a wide range of artwork, check out the private collection-turned-public Walters Art Museum.

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Not to sound like the SNL character, Stefon, but… this place has everything. There’s art from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance, plus an honest to goodness mummy from the first century B.C.

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The majority of the collection was assembled thanks to two men from the Walters family. William Thompson Walters, a Confederate sympathizer, began collecting art after he moved to Paris to avoid the conflict of the Civil War in 1861. He brought his findings back to his mansion near Baltimore, and his son, Henry, later rehoused them in their current location. After Henry passed away in 1931, he bequeathed the collection to the city of Baltimore, making the art accessible to all.

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Some of the galleries are decorated as if you’re walking through a home from that time period. There’s vibrant wallpaper in the Renaissance area, and marble columns and tapestries that lead into an airy balcony, with ornamental plates and vases along the walls.

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The museum prides itself on its diverse collection of works, and admission is free. The museum also is family-friendly, with a special art area where kids can play. Finding parking in the surrounding neighborhood can be a challenge, but a longer walk is worth it to walk past the many dining options and nearby Washington Monument. If you’re looking to add some culture to your Baltimore trip, the Walters Museum is a must-see.

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