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Gotta-See Funky Art/Music Museums

If you’re thinking about traveling this summer, consider taking a tour of some funky art/music museums.

There are some serious benefits to taking in the creative work of others. Especially for artists and musicians who are seeking inspiration.

And while the conventional museums are must-sees in their own right, there’s something additionally inspiring about wandering off the beaten path.

Funky Art/Music Museums in the United States

The United States is the home of the road trip. Well, maybe not formally. But if you’re planning to head out on the highways this summer, consider these museum offerings:

1. Craft & Folk Art Museum

If Los Angeles is on your itinerary (or perhaps your starting point), you’ll want to swing into Craft & Folk Art Museum. Serving as an art gallery and restaurant in the 1960s, the museum is now one of the rare locales in the art world that seeks to preserve folk art and culture. 

Maybe the notion of crafts makes you think of cotton ball snowmen or a ‘home is where the heart is’ cross-stitched wall hanging. But if you’ve had the chance to see the museum’s facade covered in knitted squares or heard musical scores translated from climate change data, you know it’s so much more.

2. Studio BE

Far-flung from Los Angeles is the city of New Orleans. And it’s there you’ll find Studio BE. Just outside the French Quarter in the Bywater district, Studio BE displays work from local artists. Showcasing their unique interpretations of the city’s political, social, and civil rights movements through their work, visitors get a visceral sense of the struggles this city has faced. 

Studio BE reminds us that New Orleans is SO much more than Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street.

3. The Trap Music Museum

Moving out of the realm of visual art and into music for a moment, The Trap Music Museum in Atlanta focuses on the roots of rap music. Founded in 2018 by hip-hop icon T.I., the museum started as a pop-up but now has a home in Atlanta. 

Upon entering the museum, visitors enter a bodega with pickled pigs feet before embarking on a journey of the museum. Even if you’re not a fan of rap, there’s much to learn from this unique museum. Given the sometimes explicit nature of this art form, you do need to be over 18 to visit, however. 

4. Museum of Bad Art

Head all the way up the coast from Atlanta and then stop in Boston to visit the Museum of Bad Art. This privately owned museum sets out “to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” They also hold rigorous standards in accepting artwork – with nine out of ten pieces rejected for not meeting their low standards.  

If you have an appetite for a lot of bad art, you may be disheartened. While there are 700 pieces in the collection, only 25-35 are on display at any given time. 

Heading Out of the Country?

Have no fear. There are plenty of funky art/music museums worldwide to inspire you. We’re only going to tackle three of them here.

1. Cantos Music Foundation

You could, theoretically, include Calgary in Alberta, Canada as part of your road trip. If you do, don’t miss the Cantos Music Foundation. This hands-on musical museum has nearly 500 keyboards and related instruments. All of them work, some of them are bizarre, several date back to the 16th century, and many of them you’re permitted to play. With supervision, of course. 

Of course, if you have no interest in checking out the Rolling Stones’ portable recording studio or Elton John’s piano upon which he recorded his first five albums, then you can skip this and go to the rodeo instead.

2. Musée des Arts Forains

If you happen to be lucky enough to be in Paris this summer, you’ll be able to view some of the greatest art the world has to offer. It just so happens you can also take a gander at so

me of the greatest art that fairgrounds have had to offer.

The Musée des Arts Forains (Museum of Fairground Art) has one of the biggest collections of art objects from fairgrounds and other entertainment venues. It’s a private museum open by appointment only so you can take in the wonders in the most participatory way. 

3. ARK

While Bosnia might not be at the top of your destination list this summer, if you happen to get there, check out ARK. Ark is not a biblical reference. It’s an acronym for Atomska Ratna Komanda. 

ARK is actually a nuclear command bunker just outside of Sarajevo. It’s no longer that, but rather a hybrid museum that’s part contemporary art and part military objects. And for your added creepy pleasure, is also a bounty of Cold War-era remnants such as radios, notebooks, and red telephones.

Plan for Some Art This Summer

Summer may seem a ways off, but it’ll be here before you know it. So consider taking yourself and/or your artsy or musical teen to one of the many funky art/music museums this year.

And if your child thrives in an artistic environment, an arts academy middle school or high school might be the ideal place for him/her/them. Curious? Contact us today for more info. 


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