Art Museums

Art Museums

Our lives are way too hectic. We text during family dinners. The kids are on their iPads in the back seat of the car. Mom and Dad are on their cell phones during school functions. The time has come to for us to “power down.” Why not start with an afternoon visit to a museum? Here in the Lehigh Valley we have access to two great museums, the Allentown Art Museum and the Sigal Museum.

Coming off a busy 2014 in which it celebrated its 80th anniversary, The Allentown Art Museum has big plans to wow its visitors this year.

Faith Ringgold

There are several current and upcoming exhibits that will appeal to both hardcore art lovers and the art curious. Interventions in Printmaking: Three Generations of African-American Women features a selection of works on paper that explore history, identity, and politics. Weston’s Women showcases sumptuous and rare vintage photographs of the women Edward Weston was inspired by and who became his lovers, friends – and accomplished fine art photographers in their own right. You can see stunning photographs of California by William Dassonville. May through August, you can view Surrealist watercolors by William Baziotes. “Summer also brings breathtaking land- and waterscapes of the polar regions by photographer Sam Krisch,” says Chris Potash, Manager of Marketing and Public Relations, Allentown Art Museum.

The Museum is participating in the Valley-wide Kidsventure program, designed to give parents some fun and engaging things to do with their children during the long summer months. With all the amazing art on the walls, fascinating workshops, plays, improv comedy, and music in the galleries, and the Café and classy Museum Store open every Tuesday through Sunday, 2015 “is a good year to make the Art Museum a destination spot for an afternoon with the kids, a weekday escape, a date night, or an afternoon of quiet contemplation,” Potash adds.

The Museum is looking to welcome visitors who might already be downtown taking in a show at the PPL Center or enjoying a night out at one of the many nearby restaurants. Potash mentions, “We have extended hours on Thursday evenings for those who want to meet after work or before dinner.” To encourage first-timers, admission is free from 4 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The Museum Café is open on Thursdays now till 7:30 p.m., serving delicious snacks, sandwiches,
and light meals with a complimentary glass of wine.

For more information about Allentown Art Museum events, workshops, family programs, and exhibitions, visit allentownartmuseum.org.

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While the Art Museum houses over 17,000 works of art, the Sigal Museum encompasses 60,000 articles pertaining to art, culture and history. Sigal is Northampton County’s home to collections of early settlement artifacts, textiles, decorative arts, agricultural tools, furnishings, items from historic battles, even a 1797 pumper truck. Yet you also will find fine arts and crafts, music in the Martin Guitar exhibit, even photography.

“Our goal is to bring history to life. We have a lovely mix of artifacts coupled with graphics with narratives. We offer visitors interactive exhibits, self-guided and docent-led tours, special children’s programs, and a lecture series on local and American history,” says Executive Director Barbara Kowitz.

While its primary goal is to share the history of Northampton County, Sigal also has a number of exhibits from time to time that allow it to bring in special stories. “We had the Holocaust exhibit, which was provided by the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley. When the National 9/11 Flag visited our region, it was housed here. We have a number of art shows that occur throughout the year that showcase regional artists. The Artists Community of Easton (ACE) will have their spring arts show that will open on April 25 and run through the month of May,” Kowitz says.

 

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The Sigal Museum has a number of events coming up. The major exhibit open until August is Eras of Elegance 1750s-1920s. “It is a phenomenal exhibit of 35 gowns and accessories all taken from our own collections. It starts with simple ware from the 1700s consisting of Chinese silk through the Roaring 20s. It gives you the view of how fashionable the women of Easton were back in those days. This will be followed by a Civil War exhibit at the Mixsell House Museum in the fall,” says Kimberly Rose, Director of Development for the Society.

Sigal will be launching free family weekends in March and April. Thanks to support from the Kiwanis Club of Palmer Township, families can get free admission on Saturdays and Sundays. “We want to encourage folks to come explore the museum, especially families,” Kowitz adds.

To learn more, visit sigalmuseum.org. Be sure to watch for special programs for Heritage Day on July 12, as well as a 5th Birthday Celebration, which takes place August 8 and 9.

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