Who doesn’t want to go to a museum when visiting a new city? On certain days, it can be the simplest feat in the world but on other days, when the lines are long, it can suddenly seem like a bad idea.
There are ways to overcome the crowd. If your clients are frequent visitors to Manhattan, we suggest they purchase an annual membership to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a family this costs about $200 a year, but it pays off after just a few visits since it includes unlimited admission. You get to bypass the queues (the suggested cost to get in is now $25 anyway) and best of all, you can skip the coat lines and go up to the members-only dining room and stash your stuff quite easily. Hint: If you want to dine at the members-only restaurant, which is an oasis of calm even on a busy day, make reservations ahead of time, as this is a popular spot for the elite New York set.
Another perk of being a member? You receive preview opportunities to view blockbuster exhibitions. A membership might even be a nice gift for your clients, and the beautiful mailings they get from the museum may inspire them to travel to New York more often. Currently on view (aside from its stunning permanent exhibits) is “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde” through June 3. If your clients are fans of Picasso’s early days (think nonabstract portraits), this is the show for them. The exhibit also provides an excellent history of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Note: Membership to The Met also includes access to The Cloisters museum and gardens.
Another must for those who admire Impressionism is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As one of the largest museums in the country, its permanent collections portray the gamut of important eras in art.
An important exhibit on view from June 20 to September 3 is “Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia.” The core of the show is three masterpieces by the above artists, but 40 other paintings, including by artists Poussin and Rousseau, are also included.
An individual membership here is just $70; for Friends and Family it’s $185. (Note: Museum memberships or portions thereof tend to be tax-deductible since they are viewed as a gift to a cultural establishment.) Perks include unlimited admission to the museum, plus entry to “Art After 5,” which runs every Friday night and includes dining, music and tours. You also gain access to the nearby Rodin Museum and two historical houses in Fairmount Park.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art also provides private tours to visitors looking to witness the museum’s permanent collection. These tours are priced at $250 for a one-hour guided tour for up to eight people. For ticketed special exhibitions, like its current Van Gogh Up Close show, the cost is $340 for up to 10 people. Contact the group sales office at 215-684-7863 for details.
By the way, if you’re going to Philadelphia, we suggest a stay at the Sofitel. It serves up a charming French ambiance in its vibe, and it’s in an area (120 S. 17th Street) of town that’s emerged as a true shopping Mecca.