If I told you that I spent the weekend in Virginia Beach, you probably would expect that I got a sun tan and shorts full of sand. But, you know me better. I would rather spend the afternoon in a museum than on a blanket. Fortunately, our friends let us know that the Chrysler Museum of Art, in Norfolk, VA, recently re-opened after a 18 month renovation.
The Chrysler Museum of Art originally opened in 1933 as the Norfolk Museum of Art and Science. In the 1970’s Walter P. Chrysler, Jr, the son to the founder of Chrysler Corporation, was looking for a location to house his collection of art. He had been collecting for several decades, but NYC did not need another wealthy donor setting up shop.
Several renovations later, the doors are open again, and worth entering. The front entrance is nearly worth the effort (no entry fee either, so good that we had offered to pick up this one). The renaissance style courtyard encourages a degree of grandeur and formality. In contrast, the galleries are staffed with youthful “hosts” who will gladly guide you for what you are looking, or just asking “Are you having a good time?” Most of the time, if you interact with museum staff, they are telling you dryly that you are standing too close to the exhibits.
While some objects are contained in glass cases, none of the paintings have glass over them. This is something that we appreciate, as we can then look at the textures of the canvas, when artits use texture to create depth of their images.
The Chrysler Museum of Art houses two floors of galleries, each focused on a different time periods (Egypt to Modern USA) or style. Of particular emphasis is their collection of glass, including a room of Tiffany windows and lamps. If you really enjoy seeing glass blowing, walk across the street to the studio where you can watch vases, glasses, pitchers, and decorative objects form from molten glass to shaped objects.