Nassau County Museum of Art

9 Aug

I have always loved a good old mansion.  Long Island Is rich in the hidden mysteries that these old mansions hold.

Built in 1900, the Nassau County Museum of Art is one of these such beautiful treasures that is proud to have withstood the test of time and the ever changing infrastructure of Long Island.  The mansion stands on land that was formerly owned by William Cullen Bryant, longtime editor of the New York Post, who had a cottage built on the property for a friend in 1862, which still stands to this day.  Walking off the beaten path, if you know where to look, you can visit the semi-crumbling structure, waiting for its time for repair, probably only through grants and charitable contributions that may or may not come.

The mansion, built by Lloyd Stephens Bryce, was then purchased in 1919 by Henry Clay Frick, (former chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company/major proponent in the US Steel Company/once known as “most hated man in America”), for his son Childs Frick as a gift.

The surrounding 145 acres is a nature preserve, with numerous winding paths and roads that are open to all.  Parking is free except on weekends ($2), and we reserved free passes from our local library to gain access into the museum.  Unknown and underutilized, these passes are free to library patrons.  There are a plethora of museums on Long Island as well as the 5 boroughs that local libraries have in their possession, and all one needs to do is reserve them with their card and promise to bring them back for the next person.  They vary as to how many entries are entitled per pass, but usually include two adults and a handful of children.  If you have family who are patrons of other libraries, theirs may have different museums at their disposal, and its worth looking into for other options for free entry.  Check them out on your library’s website or at the reference desk.

We decided to picnic on the grounds before we went in.  We chose a shady spot, and relaxed among the arbors surrounding our site.  Daniel and I went alone, and it was nice having each other for company on this trip.  There is a lovely cafe inside the museum and is open Friday-Sunday.

outdoor picnic

outdoor picnic

Our picnic site

Our picnic site

Entering through the museum doors, the friendly staff greet you and direct you to the current exhibitions.  We were there for Alex Katz’s pieces as well as an upstairs exhibit entitled AftermodernisM, AM.  We strolled around the ground floor and explored the works of Alex Katz while we waited for the 2pm free tour given by the museum docents.

Nassau County Museum of Art

Admiring the grounds from the inside

Admiring the grounds from the inside

Work by Alex Katz

Artwork by Alex Katz

There was a large group, split in two by the docents.  We began our tour upstairs looking at the After Modernism works.  The works by young contemporary artists , use abstract elements as well as strong color to get their point of view across.  We enjoyed listening to the docent’s description of the history of the artist, but Daniel’s level of patience eventually ran out, and we broke free from the group to explore on our own.

It was interesting to learn and to see the works of After Modernism.  Among the artists, one, Nina Chanel Abney was born in 1982, the same year as I was.  It is an incredible accomplishment of these individuals to be recognized within their lifetime as artists.  Daniel enjoyed seeing the color and the shapes of the works from the comfort of his stroller.

Artwork by Wendell Gladstone

Artwork by Wendell Gladstone

Artwork by Nina Chanel Abney

Artwork by Nina Chanel Abney

Artwork by Erik Parker

Artwork by Erik Parker

After exploring the inside, we left to see the gardens outside.  They possess not only a formal garden designed by Marion Cruger Coffin in 1925, one of the first women to graduate from a formal program and open her own practice, but also a sculpture garden, dotting the landscape of the grounds.  This was a better place for Daniel to explore, allowing him to run free, and his little hands to touch the large structures.

Nassau County Museum of Art

Sculpture Garden

Sculpture Garden

Nassau County Museum of Art Nassau County Museum of Art

We further explored the grounds and the gardens.  If you have time to stay and want to take a leisurely walk, the sculptures that cover the property are all very different and all very inspiring, and trying to find the hidden cottage is a treat.

Nassau County Museum of Art Nassau County Museum of Art

Be sure to check out the Family Sunday programs from 1-3, as well as a special program, NCMA Celebrates Families on October 6th, as well as numerous other painting and art programs that are offered.

Exhibits change every few months, and even if you are uninterested in the current exhibit, a visit to the grounds for a picnic and an outdoor museum stroll is worth the drive to the north shore.

Nassau County Museum of Art

One Museum Drive

Roslyn Harbor, NY 11576

(516) 484-9338

Admission: Adults $10, Children 4-12 and Students $4

Parking fees: (Saturday and Sundays only) $2

http://nassaumuseum.org/default.php

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