The A to Z List: M is for Our Marvelous Museums
“A to Z: The Ultimate Luxury Lifestyles List” is duPont Registry Tampa Bay‘s first-ever compendium of the best our region has to offer for fans of luxury living. The list is organized by category: D is for Dining, R is for Resorts, etc., and under each letter we single out top-of-the-line examples in the category. Return to dupontregistrytampabay.com throughout the summer to see the next letter on The List, or read the entire list (and the entire July/August issue) in its digital version, on a coffee table, or in a bookstore near you.
The 7 Best Museums in Tampa Bay
We’re in a Museum Golden Age hereabouts. In St. Pete alone, two new museums have opened up with another one on the way (the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement), in a city already blessed with the world-class collections of the MFA and the Dalí. And in Tampa, the triumvirate of fine museums along the Hillsborough River is integral to the riverfront’s revitalization. With this wealth of adventures to choose from, you have no excuse not to do some serious museum-hopping.
1. James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
The architecture of St. Pete’s new James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art (the work of architect Yann Weymouth, known for his iconic Dalí Museum design) is stunning, capturing the dramatic topography of the Southwest. But even more impressive is the scope of the Western and wildlife art collections of Tom and Mary James — an enlightening and often surprising mix of the traditional and the contemporary. On view now through Oct. 23: The juried exhibition Art and the Animal, the 58th annual exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists and the first show at the James to showcase work not in the permanent collection. Curator Emily Kapes will tell us all about it on dR’s duPontcast Tuesday, August 14. Watch via Facebook Live starting at 1 p.m. or listen via Soundcloud and YouTube.
St. Pete is already known for its vibrant glass art scene, thanks to the Morean, the Chihuly, Duncan McClellan, Zen Glass and more, and now the Imagine Museum has further enriched the town’s rep with a dazzling collection of contemporary American studio glass. On view now: the paperweights of Paul Stankard, each one a tiny “unseen world” containing tiny, extraordinarily realistic flora and fauna made of glass.
3. The Dalí
Salvador Dalí is an endlessly fascinating artist in his own right, but the curators at The Dalí have consistently found new ways to contextualize his work. On view now is Clyde Butcher: Visions of Dali’s Spain, in which Florida’s foremost nature photographer presents his vision of the fantastical Catalonian landscapes that inspired Dalí.
4. Museum of Fine Arts
Much-deserved buzz surrounded the announcement in late 2016 that Kristen Shepherd would succeed the estimable Kent Lydecker as director of St. Pete’s grande dame, the Museum of Fine Arts, and she has more than lived up to the hype. Opening Aug. 25: the arrestingly titled This Is Not a Selfie, a collection of photographic self-portraits from the past 150 years, from 19th-century experiments to contemporary digital techniques.
5. Tampa Museum of Art
Love abounds this fall at the beautiful Tampa Museum of Art. Its so-called “Season of Love” features contemporary sculptor Patricia Cronin’s response to the museum’s marble torso of the love goddess Aphrodite (on view now); an exhibition of sculpture by Robert Indiana, best known for his ubiquitous and much-imitated LOVE sculptures (opens Oct. 25); and an installation, Love Is Calling, by the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (opens Sept. 28). Her Infinity Mirror rooms (this one a loan from Jeff and Penny Vinik) lend themselves especially well to self-love — or at least to selfies. Take note of the synergy, MFA.
6. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Across Curtis Hixon Park from the TMA there’s a smaller but no less vital cultural resource, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, in one of Tampa’s most distinctive buildings, the Rivergate Tower. Coming up are two shows offering intriguing perspectives into America’s recent past: Berenice Abbott’s photos from a trip down U.S. Route 1 in 1954 and a day-by-day photographic look back at 1968, one of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history.
7. Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center anchors the Riverwalk in a striking contemporary building filled with fun stuff for both serious historians and family excursions, from precious cartographic documents in the Touchton Map Library to the museum’s latest attraction, Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates, and Shipwrecks.
Want more A to Z?
Find the complete “A to Z List” in the July/August issue of duPont Registry Tampa Bay on a coffee table or in a bookstore near you.