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Heading Toward A New New Year’s Day Tradition

The Cincinnati Art Museum sent me, and presumably many other journalists, a Press Alert the other day — saying it would be open on New Year’s Day during its regular hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  As regular readers of Real Clear Arts will know, I was very pleased to see that. Museums that want to be “accessible,” in today’s coded jargon, must be open when people have free leisure time.

the-life-lineI think New Year’s Day, when so many stores are open, sporting events take place, movie theaters are crowded, etc., is a perfect day for museums to open their doors. For some families and individuals, a trip to the art museum on New Year’s could be a new tradition.

So I did my usual random sampling of a few museums around the country, and here’s what I found:

Open on New Year’s Day: the Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina; the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where Homer’s Life Line, at left, is on view), the Milwaukee Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum (OR).

Closed on New Year’s Day: the Whitney, the Metropolitan , the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the de Young in San Francisco, the Seattle Art Museum, the Miami Art Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Amon Carter Museum, the Getty, the Albright-Knox, the Isabella Stewart Gardner, the National Gallery of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Phillips Collection, the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Worcester Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art (ME).

I stopped. I have no data, but I would bet that five or ten years ago, I would not have found even that many museums open on New Year’s. The balance is shifting, I believe, and that’s a good thing.

Happy New Year to All.




  1. The Virginia Museum became, in July 2010, the most accessible art museum in the United States. VMFA is open 365 days a year, and general admission is always free. Open 10 am -5 pm, the museum has evening hours until 9 on Thursdays and Fridays each week, during which there are always free tours and other programs. VMFA was packed both Christmas Day and News Year’s Day. The inspired holiday meals in Amuse Restaurant book to capacity each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    We are proud that other museums have begun to considering extending their hours, importantly acknowledged with regularity by Read Clear Arts. Thank you for advocating for art lovers!

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