Afternoon Culture: North Carolina Museum of Art

Range, structure and selection was our morning at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

This collection of world-acclaimed art is housed in a newly remodeled space in Raleigh, NC. The humble collection has the range, from contemporary to classic, to satisfy any art lover.

Imagine seeing Monet, Picasso, and exquisite African and Greek collections for FREE. Yes, Wanderers, I said FREE! The main collection is free to all. Truly a fine gift to the people of the South.

We especially enjoyed the modern and contemporary art sections. There is a good selection of top international artists and local North Carolina artists. Another, not-to-miss gallery is the American gallery with O’Keefe and a triptych gift to North Carolina that is truly beautiful.

The building itself is a work of art. Inside it is a small, open concept space where you can easily wander from gallery to gallery without feeling that you are getting lost or missing out on seeing sections. The space is lit with skylights so the whole space is airy and expansive. Reflecting pools expand outside in nooks of the museum’s architecture to give the whole building an amazing sense of movement.

A beautiful gallery in the museum is actually outside in the Rodin Court and Garden complete with several pieces and a water-lily pond. The larger than life sculptures are a good range of Rodin work set against the simplicity of the museum structure. This gallery is a delight, especially for a girl from the frozen lands of Colorado where this gallery would be sadly underutilized.

An area that we have not been able to wander yet is the Museum Park adjacent to the museum building with freestanding outdoor contemporary art. There will be a post in Wander South once the weather cools a bit.

For lunch we dined at Iris, the restaurant inside the museum. I had an amazing open-faced sandwich with a fried-egg on top. YUM! Brian had their chicken salad sandwich of the day which was a mango chutney. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have soy milk on their espresso menu – lactose-intolerent people take note. The wait was long and the prices were a bit high, but if you get on the wait list before you go see the art and factor in the fact the museum is free, it’s totally worth it!

If you are looking for a cultural wander for the afternoon the NCMA is for you. This museum is of manageable size (don’t expect to be there all day). Honestly, it was more than enough art for me and I really love art. It’s a nice way to see the span of human art in a quick and beautiful space.

Distance from Raleigh: 0 miles, it’s in Raleigh – See it on a map

Wander Well Tips:

  • Give yourself just a few hours for this wonderful museum
  • Stop at the Visitors Desk for friendly and helpful volunteers
  • Get on the wait list for the restaurant Iris once you get to the museum
  • Go on a sunny day so you can enjoy skylights and the outdoor spaces


About Dawn A Crawford

Communications and Social Media Lover - I am a weaver of words and communities. I live life loudly and without regret. I garden to make the world a more beautiful place. I've achieved my dream to live near the ocean. I enjoy every day as if it was my last.
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