Co-sign this piece from the Washington Post:
Here’s a holiday gift idea: Take someone you love to an art museum.
Just go. Take your mom. Take your husband. Take your girlfriend.
Meet them there, or catch the train in together. And remember: No pressure. It’s not like a play or a movie or a concert, which your companion might like but might just as easily hate, leaving you both stuck in your seats, and you feeling responsible. You can walk out of a gallery any time.
Last year, we used some of our Christmas money to purchase a family membership to the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City. It’s a fabulous institution. The membership enabled us to see special exhibitions featuring everything from Depression-era photographers to Napoleonic-era art. I featured the photography in a SixOh6 post earlier this year:
These pictures were taken all within the lifetimes of my grandparents. It’s both forever ago and just that close. The conditions that millions of Americans were living in — in makeshift shacks, built from mud or items rummaged from the trash, or simply not having enough to eat an being required to flee across the country in hopes they’d find some way to make a living — are those we associate, in modern America, with “third world countries or with pre-modern ways of living in our own. Truth is: What we think of us civilization — of a largely middle-class society, anyway — is both recent and fragile.
An art museum need not be that weighty – there’s lots of fun you can have there. But the membership was a gift that kept on giving.