Friday, October 8, 2010

Expensive Museums Make For a More Pleasant Visit

Today we visited the Kunstmuseum in Basel. I was shocked to find that the entry fee was 15 swiss francs per person (slightly over $15 US), not including the visiting Andy Warhol exhibit which would have cost us at least another $10+. We both agreed to skip the Warhol exhibit. Sorry but I find his story far more interesting than seeing his art. 

I was surprised at the cost of the museum. Maybe I just don't go to enough museums these days or I got spoiled living in Washington, DC for so long with all its free museums. I am used to paying to see special shows - we just paid quite a bit to see the Gauguin exhibit at the Tate in London - but I am not used to paying such a high fee to simply see the main collection.

That being said I will say that the Kuntzmuseum Basel does have a really good collection of 20th century art, including some great works from Picasso. It also focuses on artists from the Upper Rhine region with works from the 1400s onward. An interesting fact is that  most of this early work belonged to the collection of a Basel lawyer and was purchased by the city in 1661, forming the world's first public municipal museum. 

It was also a beautifully peaceful, quiet, uncrowded museum visit. It was fantastic. It is a week day which does make a difference, but I realized the other reason why it was so quiet and uncrowded - at $15+ per person you are not going to see the crowds you do at free places like the Tate and National Gallery.

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