It’s vacation and summer break season – which means it’s also the time of year when museums all over the country mount some of their best exhibitions.
This year, museums are focusing on the anniversaries of the moon landing and D-Day, mummies, baseball, lesser-known artistic works, Hollywood fashion, movie posters, everyone’s favorite cartoon mouse and more.
Summer is a great excuse to travel or visit a museum in your own backyard. Here are the best exhibitions to seek out.
‘Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There’
The Corning Museum of Glass is honoring the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with an exhibition on the important role that glass played in the mission. (Photo: Neil Armstrong/NASA via AP)
July 20 marks 50 years since Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The Corning Museum of Glass is honoring the milestone with an exhibition about the important role that glass played in putting humans on the lunar surface.
Highlights include the fiberglass used in to create their spacesuits and insulate the Apollo 11 capsule and lunar module. A demonstration using a Corning-designed window from the capsule illustrates how the glass had to withstanding temperatures of 2,400°F when re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. And we can’t forget the glass used in TV screens that allowed Americans to watch the historical moment.
‘Mummies of the World’
The Arizona Science Center is hosting 40 human and animal mummies from around the world – not just from Egypt, but other countries, including Germany and Hungary. (Photo: Arizona Science Center)
Mummies have come to downtown Phoenix this summer. The largest collection of mummies (and related items) in history, in fact. The Arizona Science Center is hosting 40 human and animal mummies from around the world – not just from Egypt, but other countries, including Germany and Hungary.
“Most people think mummies come from Egypt and are wrapped, but mummification has happened culturally throughout history as well as naturally, in various climates and circumstances across the globe,” says John Norman, president of IMG Exhibitions, which helped mount this exhibition.
Also, don’t miss what’s being billed as the first, authentic replication of the 2800-year-old Egyptian mummification process.
‘Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s’
A light gray evening ensemble designed by Valentina in the ‘Silver Screen to Mainstream’ exhibition at the Chicago History Museum. (Photo: Chicago History Museum)
As America struggled through the Great Depression and World War II, women’s fashion changed and women looked to Hollywood stars for inspiration rather than Parisian fashion houses.
“Through the dark days of the Great Depression, Hollywood costume design inspired an enthusiastic response from American women, which gave birth to a new wave of American style,” said Virginia Heaven, guest curator. Thirty elegant ensembles – many of which haven’t been seen before – from the Chicago History Museum’s permanent collection are on display to showcase this shift in styles.
‘Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World’
Walt Disney inspecting a filmstrip with an animated Mickey Mouse in the ‘Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World’ exhibition. (Photo: Walt Disney Archives Photo Library)
The Walt Disney Family Museum is celebrating nine decades of Mickey Mouse with an exhibition that traces the character from his 1920s debut through today.
It features more than 400 objects – many of which that have never been seen before, including sketches, artwork, merchandise, photographs, and short films. Andreas Deja, considered the leading authority on the history and animation of Mickey, helped create this show.
Additional highlights include Walt Disney’s life story and pop art featuring the famous mouse by Andy Warhol and several other prominent artists.
‘In Memory of What I Cannot Say’
Guy de Montlaur’s striking abstract work recalls his personal experience landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944 and the traumatizing hand-to-hand combat that followed. (Photo: National WWII Museum)
June 6 marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and museums have been looking for ways to pay tribute to the crucial moment in world history.
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans took the opportunity to mount its first art exhibit: a showcase of French painter and D-Day veteran Guy de Montlaur’s work. De Montlaur’s striking abstract work recalls his personal experience landing in Normandy and the traumatizing hand-to-hand combat (resulting in multiple wounds) that followed. After the war, he processed his experiences by painting colorful pieces that are likely to evoke conflicting emotions for viewers.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s exhibition explores baseball cards as a hobby, a multi-million-dollar industry, and another American pastime with staying power. (Photo: Milo Stewart Jr., National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)
Baseball and summertime: a perfect combination. It’s also the perfect time to check out the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s new permanent exhibition on baseball cards. The interactive exhibition explores baseball cards as a hobby, a multi-million-dollar industry, and another American pastime with staying power.
Highlights include rare cards (such as Babe Ruth’s 1916 Red Sox rookie card and a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card), error cards (like one that accidentally featured a team’s bat boy instead of a player), a card from 1878, and the opportunity for visitors to pose for their own baseball card photo. The Hall of Fame’s baseball card collection numbers more than 140,000.
‘Monet: The Late Years’
An exhibition being billed as the first in more than two decades to cover the end of Monet’s life and career can be seen in Fort Worth this summer. (Photo: Musée Marmottan Monet)
This exhibition, billed as the first in more than two decades to cover the end of Claude Monet’s life and career, can be seen in Fort Worth this summer. From 1914 through his death in 1926, Monet experimented with a new style that veered from his impressionism and into bolder, more abstract work.
“Our visitors will encounter the radical nature of the painter’s late works,” says Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. The show features 50 pieces, including 20 of the artist’s famous water lilies, one painting that measures 14 feet wide, and several works that have not been seen in the U.S. previously.
‘Bronzes from the Vault’
A highlight at the Dalí Museum this summer is a showcase of a series of rarely-seen, small-scale bronzes — the only sculptures Dalí ever personally created. (Photo: Collection of The Dalí Museum)
Just like its namesake artist, the Dalí Museum enjoys getting creative with its subject matter. With three special exhibitions on view, this summer is no exception. One highlight is a showcase of a series of rarely-seen, small-scale bronzes – the only sculptures Salvador Dalí ever personally created – made between 1969 and1979.
The 20-piece exhibit includes many familiar images from the surrealist’s work, including Christ of St. John of the Cross, Dragon-Swan-Elephant, and the Cosmic Elephant.
The museum also commissioned four large-scale replicas that can be seen in the garden. While there, make sure to catch the augmented reality exhibit featuring several large-scale works and an exhibition on Dalí influencer Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes.
‘Coming Soon: Film Posters from the Dwight M. Cleveland Collection’
The Norton Museum of Art is mounting a large classic movie poster exhibition this summer. (Photo: Whitney Hsieh, Dwight M. Cleveland Collection)
The next summer blockbuster? It’s at the Norton Museum of Art which is mounting a large classic movie poster exhibition. Real estate developer Dwight M. Cleveland’s private collection includes more than 3,000 movie posters – more than 200 of the best examples were selected for this show.
A few highlights include “Casablanca,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “North by Northwest” and “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.” It covers comedies, musicals, Westerns, sci-fi thrillers, dramas, and more from the early 1900s through the late 1980s.
‘N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives’
When the name Wyeth comes to mind, many think of American realist Andrew Wyeth, but the Brandywine River Museum of Art in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania turns its attention to the artistâ€™s father this summer. (Photo: Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art)
Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds
When the name Wyeth comes to mind, many think of American realist Andrew Wyeth, but the Brandywine River Museum of Art in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, is shining a spotlight on his father’s work this summer.
The family patriarch, N. C. Wyeth, is considered one of the most important illustrators of the early 20th century, having worked in a variety of media, including painting, illustration, murals and advertising.
Through 70 paintings and drawings on loan from major museums and private collections, the exhibition features Wyeth’s lesser-known landscapes, experimentation with impressionism, and paintings created for book and magazine illustrations.
This is the first of three stops for the show. While in the area, visitors should make sure to see N. C. Wyeth’s home and studio, which is owned by the museum and open to the public.
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