Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chrysler Museum, Norfolk Virginia


Tiffany Glass Lamp

If you have any reason to travel to the Norfolk, Virginia area, if you do nothing else, take the time to visit the Chrylser Museum.  Hands down it is by far one of the best collections of art we have had the pleasure of viewing thus far on our trip.  If you are a glass aficionado then it is a must, as the museum has an extant collection of Tiffany, Stueben, Mt. Washington, 19th century, and contemporary glass, be it blown, pressed, decorative or functional.  The entire lower level contained no fewer than 12 salons of beautifully displayed glass. An entire room was devoted to Tiffany glass objects and windows.

The other 210,000 square feet of the museum contain collections of Ancient & Non Europeans works from Greco-Roman to Indian Islamic.  Two rooms were devoted to American  & Art Nouveau furniture. Two levels of very well curated rooms contained 13th to 20th century paintings & objects, five rooms of contemporary art, two with kinetic interactive modern art, salons of photographic work, American Sculpture, African-American art, the list goes on. 

Visitor Service Desk

kerry with interactive

kerry with
interactive artwork

"Into Outer Space"
Hans Hofmann
Beyond the collections contained in the Renaissance inspired structure, part of the Chrylser Museum's strength is in its foundations in the community, starting with how the collection ended up in Norfolk.  Jeff Tefft, at visitors service, was cordial and informative relating the story around the original Chrylser collection and its connection to the town.  Walter Chrylser, Jr., an idustrialist & art collector, originally housed his selection of art in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  It quickly outgrew his space in an abandoned church in Provincetown.  Not being able to reach an agreement with the town for a more permanent and larger space, his wife, Jean, a native of Norfolk, suggested bringing the collection to Norfolk, which the town readily embraced.  Thus, in 1971,  began the start of the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, which continues to grow and reach out to the community through educational programs, a reference library, sketching in the galleries, auctions, memberships, gallery talks, and  family days .  The facility offers audio guides, is wheelchair accessbile, has a cafe and museum shop.  The price of entry is free but donations are accepted.  

View outside the Chrysler

According to Jeff, the Chrysler will expand  its facilities by Dec 2011, creating a full glass blowing center in an adjacent purchased building .  It will be worth returning to see the new glass center. If you would like to learn more about the Chrysler Museum you can visit their website at

After the museum visit, we dropped by the D'Art Center in Norfolk to see the working artists' studios.  D'art is a regional, not for profit center for the visual arts.  According to the Executive Director, Susan Bernard, the center opened in1986 and relocated to its present location in June 2005.  There are 50 resident artists on site, whose works range from sculpting to paintings to glass art. The center offers workshops and has five changing art galleries.  You can visit the center's site ate

D'Art Director Susan Bernard (L)
with Kerry Filiberto (R)

Given our extended visit to the Chrysler Museum, A. Paul and I had to keep our stops in Beaufort and Morehead short in order to make it to Wilmington, 7 hours away.  Though we did not encounter any additional arts to blog about, we do have some wonderful images of the weather we encountered and the interplay between the sun and clouds, which constantly entertained us throughout our drive.  Tomorrow we scout out Wilmington and then on to Myrtle Beach.



cathy said...

The Chrysler museum was where the P'town library is now. I remember it then.
Skip Myrtle beach and go alittle further south to Huntington Beach..there is a fabulous sculpture garden there.

Anonymous said...

Ptown's loss was obviously Norfolk's gain!!

Are you going to Sarasota Florida?? The Ringling Museum of Art is a must-see for both the art and the architecture! And of course, the Circus Museum. (-:
Jane C.