By Christian Haitz
Are you the least cultured out of your group of friends? Do you have a fever that can only be cured by fine art? Well, Saturday, Sept. 26 is the perfect day for you, because museums across the St. Pete area will be waiving their entrance fee as part of the Arts Alive! Celebration.
The event aims to bring people into the community and visit the local museums, particularly those who might not be able to afford the experience. The day coincides with the Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live, where various museums across the country will be opening their doors free of charge.
Founded by two German Jews who escaped persecution, the Florida Holocaust Museum stands as one of the largest Holocaust museums in the United States. It houses many artifacts from World War II and presents them in a timeline, starting with life before the war and ending with information on other genocides and acts of hatred occurring today. The centerpiece of the museum is an actual boxcar that transported victims of the Nazi regime to the various concentration camps. It is a true testament to those who lost their lives in the genocide, and is something that will be with you all day. Just make sure you have tissues on hand.
For those who enjoy the finer things in life, head over to the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. Located on the ever-popular Beach Drive. This museum is home to thousands of pieces from early antiquity to present day. Highlights include artwork from Monet, Cézanne and Renoir. To celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary, MFA also has on display Five Decades of Photography, a vast collection of photography spanning five decades. These images stretch from the formative days of the medium to the early twenty-first century. The Museum of Fine Art is sure to keep you entertained for many hours.
The Dali Museum, located just east of Tropicana Field, features the largest collection of the great Spaniard Salvador Dali. The museum contains many of Dali’s masterwork pieces, including The Hallucinogenic Toreador, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, and many other of his surrealist work. Also on exhibit is artwork from renowned Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Escher. The exhibit contains over 135 works ranging from his most popular, Drawing Hands, to rarely displayed drawings of family members and panoramas of exotic landscapes. Admission to the exhibit is included and will be featured until Jan. 3.
Unfortunately, free admission to The Dali Museum is only available for Pinellas County residents, but students get a $17 ticket when they present their IDs. Attendees will also receive a voucher for a free return visit in the month of October.
Other participating museums include the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
If St. Petersburg is a little far for your tastes, there are plenty of museums also participating in Museum Day Live in Tampa. The Ybor City Museum State Park, the Tampa Bay History Center and the Tampa Museum of Art are sure not to disappoint.
For more information and a complete list of participating museums, go to smithsonianmag.com
Christian Haitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org