Guest Written by Helen Wharton (Doll Making Editor at BellaOnline)
For the first 45 years of my life I lived within an hour traveling time of New York City. Having majored in art in college, I was spoiled by some of the best art museums and galleries in the world.
Nine years ago I moved to the St. Louis metro area of Missouri. For 8 years I avoided the St. Louis Art Museum because I was sure it would be a disappointment and would emphasize what I was missing and all I had left behind.
I could not have been more wrong!
The St. Louis Art Museum is located in Forest Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States and the location of the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair. The building is an impressive structure, on a hill overlooking the Grand Basin.
Being in a park, every bit of the surrounding area is beautifully landscaped. There are large parking lots and roads throughout the park where you can park your car, and it's all free. Forest Park is also home to the St. Louis History Museum and the St. Louis Zoo, an amazing facility which is also free to enter.
Admission to the Art Museum is always free. Special exhibitions have varying admission fees, but even those are free on Friday. The Museum is closed on Monday, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with extended hours on Friday.
When I entered the Museum I was expecting merely a fun day out with my daughter, but she had already been there and knew I was in for a treat. As we approached one room in the Impressionist wing she insisted I close my eyes and she lead me to a particular position before I could open them. There, in front of me, taking up one entire wall, was one of Monet's Water Lilies!
I was speechless and moved to tears, and just stood there, open-mouthed, absorbing the incredible beauty.
In this same wing there is one of Degas' sculptures of the little ballerinas, several Van Gogh paintings, and room after room of great examples of Impressionism.
As we walked through another room, there in the corner was an El Greco, and many other paintings by Renaissance masters.
The painting galleries are worth the trip by themselves, but the St. Louis Art Museum has so much more to offer. There is an impressive collection of textiles and costumes, Egyptian art and mummies, antique furniture and several entire rooms that were brought to the museum intact from around the country and Europe, with furnishings and wall decor. The museum also boasts a Dale Chihuly hanging glass sculpture.
If you're looking for a world class art museum you won't be disappointed by the St. Louis Art Museum.