Whether you are an art fanatic or are just looking for something fun to do, consider making a trip to the Allentown Art Museum on your next Lehigh Valley vacation. This historical staple in downtown Allentown is home to over 17,000 works of art covering 2,000 years of cultural heritage. The exhibits you’ll find at the museum embrace broad audiences with a wonderful variety of high-quality work. In addition, the Allentown Art Museum also offers a slew of educational programs, tours, and special events.
You can find out more about all of the fun things to do near Bethlehem, PA when you download our free Vacation Guide. It’s full of the best recommendations for things to see and do like enjoying a day at the Allentown Art Museum.
The History of the Museum
In 1934 during the Great Depression, the Allentown Art Museum was established in a house owned by the city. At the time, it primarily exhibited the work of local artists. However, the museum outgrew this space in 1960 when it received a large gift of Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures. At that time, it was moved to it’s new, larger location where is has remained to this day. Since then, as the museum’s art collection has grown, the museum has grown with it. Today, the expanded space is a spectacular facility over ten thousand square feet. It’s also a coveted event space available to rent.
The Allentown Art Museum is committed to fostering arts education for local students of all ages. When you visit the museum, you’ll likely see many local students on school field trips or in after-school programs. The museum offers programs for kindergartners all the way through college students that include:
- Grade-specific tours that focus on different aspects of the museum and offer great interactive activities to engage students in learning the arts
- Outreach programs to help students connect with the culture behind the art by putting them in the artist’s shoes
- Numerous multi-visit programs for students who are interested in more extensive arts education and museum studies
- Poetry Out Loud, an annual poetry recitation competition that hosts students from around the region
- Group tours for adult and college groups
The Allentown Art Museum has impressive permanent collections that cover a wide array of mediums, eras, and cultures. When you visit, you will see a variety of different types of artwork that includes painting, sculptures, textiles, and more. Here is a sneak peek at what you’ll find:
- American Painting & Sculpture that is representative of American Art from the mid-eighteenth century to the present
- Decorative Arts from the arts-and-crafts era of ceramics and metalwork
- Non-Western Art that includes sculptures from India and Tibet
- European Painting & Sculpture collections that include over 100 European Old Master pieces
- Textiles & Costumes that span sixteen centuries and five continents
- Works on Paper with an extensive collection of unique prints
Current Exhibits and Unique things to See
In addition to its permanent collection, the Allentown Art Museum also hosts a myriad of great temporary exhibits. Typically, these exhibits demonstrate a wide variety of mediums and artistic approaches. Before you visit the museum, you can check to see what the current exhibits at the museum will be at the time of your visit.
The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley also features a unique piece of American history. Among the great art exhibits and attractions, you’ll also find a very special gift to the museum. The museum is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Little Library. This library is from the Francis Little House that was built 100 years ago in Minnesota. Be sure to look for this fascinating exhibit on your visit.
Special Events and Free Admission Days
Throughout the year, the Allentown Art Museum hosts a great selection of special events to attend. The 50 minute Speed Tour and Lunch is one of the most popular events. It is a great way to pop into the museum on the lunch hour for a quick visit. Other great times to visit are on Allentown Art Museum free Sundays and free Thursdays. On Sunday afternoons 12 p.m. – 4p.m. and Thursday evenings 4 p.m. – 8p.m., you can visit free of charge. In addition, you can check online for more information about Allentown Art Museum admission times and ticketing.
Visit the Allentown Art Museum and Stay with Us!
Just 15-minutes from the Allentown Art Museum, The Sayre Mansion is the perfect place to stay on your next Lehigh Valley getaway. After an incredible day exploring the museum, you will love returning to our Bethlehem bed and breakfast to unwind in one of our beautiful rooms or suites! You can enjoy a variety of wonderful amenities including luxurious linens, crackling fireplaces, and beautiful views of our gardens and grounds. Then, you’ll join us the next morning for a delicious gourmet breakfast that will have you fueled up and ready for more exciting adventures. We want to help you plan your next Lehigh Valley getaway. Give us a call today!
Photo credit: Lehigh Valley, PA via Flickr