I live not far from this museum, and I always love a good visit with beloved art. I recently visited my old friend (VMFA) in July, 2010, and was surprised at the rennovations. First, you can park in a deck that is adjacent to the museum, with a cost of $3.00, at the time of this review. The outside of the museum from the front looks much the same and fits in with the architecture of the area. The rest of the museum looks modern and like something from NYC. I'm not sure I like the new look since it doesn't really blend with the older, historic buildings surrounding it.
Once inside the museum, I approached the visitor's desk to purchase tickets for the Tiffany exhibit. The museum is free, but they have the occasional traveling exhibit that requires a purchase. The desk workers were a bit aloof and not excited about helping or their jobs. In fact, I felt like I was interrupting their conversations.
The Tiffany exhibit was amazing and I highly recommend it, but it's only there for a very limited time. The rest of the art pieces were old friends of mine, and I visited my favorites. I spent a lot of time viewing the modern pieces of O'Keefe, Dali, Warhol, etc. My brother spent a lot of time in the Fabrege Egg room, but that's not my thing. It's lovely, but I've seen it before. Some pieces from the Egg room were on loan to other museums.
I was a little disappointed that some of the rooms weren't open, yet. I didn't get to see the ancients: Egyptian, Roman, Native American, etc. They were in storage.
I'm not sure I like the new layout of the museum. It is grouped a bit better, but it seems more spread out and open. I like my art bunched up so there's less walking. haha!
There is a new, chic cafe, but I didn't use it. It looks like a nice place for a bite, but it's expensive. The gift shop is nice, but everything is very expensive. I was disappointed that they didn't offer postcards of the Tiffany exhibit I saw.
Outside the museum, there is an exhibit that will remind you of Easter Island statues. Quite cool!
Bottom Line: This museum is worth a visit whether you live within driving distance, or are visiting the area. It'll be even better when all the exhibits are open.
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