I get it that art museums and family fun don't go hand in hand for all families. But even my 8-year-old (who insists she couldn't even find any work of art at all that she liked in the whole place) said she'd like to go back. And my teenager was already asking when we could visit again before we were even back in the car. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT has a universal appeal and all of the employees and docents were super friendly to families (not always the case in art museums). Unlike Faith, you should be able to find something that appeals to you in the collection here which includes more than 50,000 works of art.
The European Art gallery was easily my favorite. But the American Art was a close second. We all adored the many "Collections of Curiosities" cabinets throughout the museum. Many of these displays are like a 3-D game of I Spy. The Made In Connecticut Exhibition (on display through February 2021) is a collection of fun, hyper-local works including a scavenged assembly of ocean trash found in Long Island Sound curated into a fascinating display.
The museum is open Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. There are special discount and FREE admission days throughout the year -- check the calendar for details. Admission is currently FREE to all through January 31, 2021. Advance ticket purchase is required through this link.
You can book a guided tour or an independent museum visit without a guide. Of course, right now, you can't just meander a path through the galleries as you'd like -- you do need to follow the path of arrows on the floor as with any public place right now. We followed the arrows and visited all of the rooms and it took us about 90 minutes to get a glimpse of all the collections. We reserved our admission for the museum's opening and were the first visitors through the doors and pretty much had the place to ourselves but by the time we left at 1:30 p.m., it was much busier (something to keep in mind if you're not comfortable around a lot of people right now).
The museum is very accessible with elevators and stroller-friendly paths. As all hands-on activities are not taking place right now, there's nothing here I can tote as particularly geared toward children. But if your kids are entertained by seeing something new and different (or just getting out of the house) then they'll be satisfied just checking out the galleries here. I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of children in attendance on the Sunday afternoon that we visited.
Masks are required to be worn by all and contactless temperature checks are required upon entry. The library, bistro and any hands-on exhibits are closed until further notice but even without these extras, an afternoon at the Wadsworth will not disappoint. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!