Despite recent pockets of development and a semi-burgeoning arts district, Toledo Ohio is still very much a ghost town. I didn’t realize to what extent until we drove through its downtown core yesterday, aimlessly searching for somewhere to install our confession booth (which, by the way, never did happen).
The one major thing Toledo has going for it, and the reason why we came in the first place, is the Toledo Museum of Art. You would never assume such a small, desolate – and I’ll be honest – depressing city, would have an internationally renowned museum to call its own, but it does. And this museum is vast, encyclopedic, and 100% FREE!
I’ve visited many esteemed museums in my life, but the Toledo Museum of Art is particularly special. I could tout its incredible collection of 19th and 20th century American and European paintings, or its elaborate collection of glass objects, the most varied and intricate I’ve ever seen, or the good-natured people who work on staff chaperoning the galleries (sweet senior citizens mostly), or the fact that you don’t have to pay a single cent to see any of it.
But these are just tangible things. For me, great art museums – dare I say – are spiritual places, where artistry and history and philosophy all intersect, forcing you to look and feel and slow down and appreciate the world as it is and as it was and how it could be. At least that’s my opinion.
Next time you’re in Ohio, give Toledo a chance; there’s a world-class art museum waiting for you to discover.
(Maybe I can sell that tagline to the city?)