When I go on trips, I love to stop at museums. On my trip this month, I had my first visit to both the art museum in Montgomery, Alabama, and the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Each is a tiny gem of a museum.
The art museum has a variety of media — both two- and three-dimensional. It’s a favorite of my almost-three-year-old grandson because of the many activities in an interactive children’s area. One that I liked was the Anatomy of a Painting. Opening sliding panels reveal the steps of the painting from an underlying sketch to the final layer of color. There are also a variety of building blocks, sketch tables and other art treats he and older children can enjoy.
A blown glass exhibit included a bright yellow pear, a seed-speckled strawberry and a purple plum by artists Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace. Another exhibit featured the work of Ginny Ruffner, working with Grant Kirkpatrick — both based in Seattle, Washington. From an apparently bleak landscape of glass tree stumps sprout floral oases. This is one I wish I’d had more time to stroll through.
Admission is free, but be as generous as you can with your donations.
The National Quilt Museum is one I’ve wanted to visit for several years. No, I don’t quilt, but I admire those who work in this fabric art form. The museum has hundreds of quilts in its collection, but the building is too small to display them all at once. That’s an advantage, though, because it means there will likely be something fresh every time you stop.
One of my favorite exhibits was by Canadian artist Justin Ming Yong who works in abstract forms. His show in Paducah, “To Fill a Field,” appears to be on loan from the Toronto Arts Council and funded by the city of Toronto. I was enthralled by his work.
Some of the other exhibits featured traditional quilts, quilted garments, and miniature quilts displayed in doll-house sized rooms. A quilt mural of poppies was so large it reminded me of Monet’s water lily paintings at L’Orangerie museum in Paris. And the quilts of children playing were so detailed, it was easy to forget they were “painted” in cloth.
There was a small admission fee, but well worth it for the opportunity to enjoy so many amazing quilts.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to walk away from either without a few purchases at their gift shops. Looking forward to my next visits.