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“Who would guess”

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Utica
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Renowned art collection, exhibitions, and education programs presented in a famous museum building designed by Philip Johnson and a superbly restored Victorian mansion, Fountain Elms. Performing arts include international soloists and ensembles, rising stars, cinema, outdoor concerts and special events. School of Art offers a nationally accredited college program, PrattMWP, and community art classes for all ages. Art Shop Gift Gallery. Museum admission is free. Open year-round, Tues - Sat 10 – 5, Sun 1 - 5.
Reviewed 14 August 2013

We keep finding superior art collections in upstate NY. Auburn, Cooperstown, Glens Falls, Corning, and now Utica.
It was once called "The City that God Forgot". Maybe that was an outsider's impression, but this neat little burg has been harboring greatness all along.
The Art Insitute is celebrating 75 years in the community and, according to the history, the founding families have been collecting great art here for more than 150 years. Great indeed.

Had a few hours and simply pulled into the back parking lot and started through the new wing.
There's Picasso and Mondrian and many more right there in the back hallway. Take the stairs to the main floor and you find yourself in the Philip Johnson-designed open cube. It takes your breath away---quiet, enveloping, bright.
Each side gallery is full of treasures. Couldn't stop ourselves from practically dashing through the whole before starting over at a slow pace. American artists galore and bits of the best of European art too.
Current exhibit of Warhol is many of the best from the Pittsburgh museum. A nice treat.

The staircases are so inviting and touchable. The exhibits well-planned and full of local and wordly interest. Something as simple as a handmade Adirondack dresser becomes the centerpiece that draws you to a gallery of nature art from the 19th c. You have to remind yourself not to touch.

Very nice gallery store with loads of gifts and books, many on local history and art. Friendly staff at every turn.
And did not realize that the modern portion of the museum was only part of the attraction. Followed the signs to the Terrace Cafe and found ourselves in a glass-enclosed walkway leading to the Fountain Elms, the family mansion next door. It had started raining---one of those brisk summer showers when the sky doesn't even get dark. As we entered the walkway we could hear water outside and inside and realize we're walking toward the original fountain of Fountain Elms, set right in our path. The sound and sight was almost surreal. We simply stood there until the rain stopped.

You enter the back hall again here and the house becomes a large work of art you walk through.
Go up to the main floor and you're in another world, one that hasn't been seen since 1912.
Since there were no inheriting children, the family portraits remain on the walls, much of the furniture in place and the details of the home have been exquisitely maintained. Everything from reproduction carpets to wallpaper to curtains keep drawing your eye toward the paintings that are hanging where the family loved them.
Again---breathtaking.

Up the stairs, more rooms and even another gallery of contemporary art which seems to fit perfectly.
When you find the Terrace Cafe, it really does have a terrace. Beautifully decorated and a perfect retreat on a summer afternoon, indoors or out. Service was relaxed, food was carefully prepared, prices very affordable.
We would eat lunch here every day if we could.
And don't forget that the museum is free, so splurge on lunch, ice cream, a cookie, and a lingering coffee.
Then walk through the museum and gardens one more time. It's worth it.

Absolutely can not recommend this enough.

1  Thank KateMoves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"small museum"
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"thomas cole"
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"film series"
in 8 reviews
"great museum"
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"local artists"
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"next door"
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"worth a stop"
in 6 reviews
"wonderful collection"
in 4 reviews
"on display"
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166 - 170 of 227 reviews

Reviewed 8 August 2013

We made a very quick trip to the Munson-Williams-Proctor on a Wed afternoon. We went to check out the Warhol exhibit - which was great. I was a little disappointed by the volume though, there are not a ton of prints. But what is on display is beautiful & inspired me to want to visit the Andy Warhol Museum for more. The quick tour through the permanent collection galleries of Munson didn't make me want to come back for more. But there is one amazing Tiffany chair! It is free, so I probably will make it back there.

Thank kaelap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2013

The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute holds a fine collection of art and is free of charge. Presently the Andy Warhol Exhibit is taking place and does require an admission fee, but the rest of the museum is open as usual. Don't miss the beautiful Fountain Elms home next door for an interesting look into a Victorian home.

Thank SusaninNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2013

munson Williams comes alive during a festival called "good old summertime". local artists display their renderings in a nice, non-overwhelming sidewalk display outside the front of the museum.
we usually walk through, then go through their " fountain elms" restored home right next door, then go through the modern type museum. this takes perhaps 2 hours total, is on the main drag of town, and is a pleasant way to spend a morning.
I would save your visit for this festival unless you love museums --really, really quiet museums.
it's great to see the place come alive during this festival.

Thank lori c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 July 2013

MWPAI is a fine small museum with a good permanent collection and interesting temporary exhibits. It is paired with, indeed attached to, Fountain Elms a well-preserved home from Utica's early affluent days that is well maintained with period furnishings as well as local crafts on permanent exhibit and temporary exhibits that might include fine furniture, prints, or the work of local art students. Fountain Elms is particularly exquisite during the Christmas season when it is decorated for the holiday as it might have been at the time it was occupied. Visitors can easily tour both the art museum and Fountain Elms in one visit.

There is a lunch facility available, but it is nothing special.

Thank ProfPolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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