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“Best art museum. Ever.”

American Visionary Art Museum
Ranked #5 of 229 things to do in Baltimore
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Be prepared for the unusual and imaginative at this museum housing works by non-mainstream artists, including the "whirligig", a 55-foot wind-powered sculpture, a 10-foot model of the Lusitania made entirely out of match sticks and a mobile that spans three floors.
maryland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Best art museum. Ever.”
Reviewed 21 March 2012

Quirky art museum filled with artists who've never had any formal training. Everything in the museum seems to have been created by someone w- history of mental illness, suffered a great loss or was imprisoned. Two favorites- gigantic ship made of toothpicks, and embroidery made from sock thread. Whe familyoved this place- even 4 yr old. Best gift shop around. Lots of goofy things- employees are also wonderful!

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Thank digene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
1,096 reviews
603 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 564 helpful votes
“Justifiably ranked as one of the great museums in the United States!”
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Perhaps it is because I have a soft spot for outsider art that I found the Visionary Art Museum to be extraordinary. The art covers a broad range of styles, all within the label of "folk" art. But from the building itself - a remade former stable I understand - to the variety of art contained within, there was just so much to dazzle the eye, that I was aware that I was witnessing something very special from the moment I walked up to the building.

And yes, there are those things that are stunning simply because the material that has been turned into something intriguing and perhaps beautiful makes you stop and do a double take. A cup and saucer made out of pine needles? An intricate 9 foot by 12 foot sculpture composed almost entirely of toothpicks? What? How is that even possible?

But in addition to the weird or unexpected, there are works that are simply wonderful, that could be displayed in any American Art museum, and you wouldn't for a second question the artist's background or material or whatever - for example, gorgeous photographs of crop circles arranged in increasing order of sides of the shapes depicted, with a profound philosophical underpinning explained in accompanying text.

There are docents floating around the museum who are happy to explain some of the most inexplicable or obscure work. The strangeness does make itself felt, but beyond the strangeness, the obsessive compulsive nature of some the work for example, there is much that demonstrates artistic vision, singularity of approach and a commitment to expressing what has never been expressed before.

It is certainly worth hopping on Amtrak and heading down to Baltimore (the BWI station is the closest) just to make a visit to this wonderful museum!

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Charming_Karl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
45 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Journeys into Obsession”
Reviewed 15 March 2012

We went to the museum with a groupon deal. We liked it, but we didn't love it. I think that just because you are obsessed with drawing, painting, making, the same thing over and over and over again does not make you an artist or your creations art.

The gift shop is fun and things are reasonably priced.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank Kathlyne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore
Level Contributor
119 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Not Your Typical Museum”
Reviewed 13 March 2012

The Visionary Art Museum features work by self taught artists often inspired by deep faith, an obsession or a bit of insanity. The art and the stories of the artists are unlike anything you are likely to see elsewhere and are very engaging. The building and location near the harbor are both very attractive the the museum shop is maybe even more fun than the museum. Absolutely not to be missed if you are in Baltimore.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank jdocBaltimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
39 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice Museum”
Reviewed 12 March 2012

This was my first time at the Visionary Art Museum. I had used a groupon. We visited two buildings and checked out everything including the gift shop, all under two hours. My wife really enjoyed herself.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank GS-HOCO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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