Jane and I had the chance to visit a variety of museums and botanical gardens this summer that we really enjoyed - you might even see some of them in the upcoming season of Antiques Roadshow. Check out the list below to hear more about a few of our favorites!
Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona: https://mim.org
This museum was awesome, but what really stood out to me was a great Alvino Ray exhibit. Ray is famously known as the "first person to amplify a guitar" and is considered a pioneer of electrified instruments. The exhibit displays many of his guitars and early prototypes. Check out this great link to learn more about Alvino: https://mim.org/galleries/special-exhibitions/the-electric-guitar-inventing-an-american-icon/
Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona: https://heard.org
The Heard had the most amazing collection of blankets and robes by American Indian artists. The exhibit really displayed the quality and visual impact of the items. Once you walk through that exhibit its easy to see why people love to collect pieces such as these. Another thing I took away from the museum is that most items like these were designed and meant to be used so you don't often get to see them in such good condition. The Heard also has a gift shop with a spectacular collection of handcrafted American Indian jewelry!
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Arizona: https://www.dbg.org
We enjoyed an impressive evening light show over the desert landscape that was paired with music. We were struck by the general variety and abundance of desert plants within the botanical garden - it is so cool to see such a different type of landscape!
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania: https://longwoodgardens.org
I was totally blown away by the number of plants and the scope of everything - Longwood Gardens is huuuge! The gardens consist of over 1000 acres, a portion of which includes a wooded area that is preserved from the 19th century. No matter what we may think today about 19th century families that acquired tremendous amounts of wealth - in this case Pierre DuPont - the DuPonts gave America an amazing gift in the form of this garden.
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona: https://franklloydwright.org/taliesin/
Such a cool and unique house. We thought it was so unusual that Frank Lloyd Wright would actually cut a hole in a plate glass window because he had such a firm idea about where a Chinese vase should be in the room (see the photo below)!
Winterthur, Winterthur, Delaware: https://www.winterthur.org
Winterthur not only has the best collection of American furniture and decorative arts it also has truly beautiful grounds composed of 979 acres. The museum has endless furnished period rooms - 175! - that range from about the late 17th century to 19th century and many with period architectural installations. As the 5th largest house in America (and also belonging to the DuPont family), Winterhur is a truly awe-inspiring place for any antique lover to visit!