The Best Museums to Visit for Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is time to start planning what you are going to do with your boo this year! While many people might dread Valentine’s Day and the pressure that comes along with it, here are three low-budget and low-stress ideas to have fun with your partner this Valentine’s Day. Whether you would like to stay close to our wonderful Providence College or venture further from campus, here are three Valentine’s Day museum date ideas for you.
1. RISD Museum, Providence, RI
An excellent choice only a ten-minute drive from PC’s campus, the RISD Museum is a wonderful museum that works with the Rhode Island School of Design. While relatively small, the RISD Museum collection boasts over 100,000 works of art spanning from the ancient world to the modern art of today’s world, with 2,177 pieces currently on display. In addition to their 18th and 19th Century American, Ancient Egyptian, European, Asian, and Ancient Greek and Roman galleries constantly on display, the museum is showcasing some interesting exhibitions that are additionally on display right now. The exhibition entitled Being and Believing in the Natural World showcases perspectives from the Ancient Mediterranean, Asia, and Indigenous North America and explores the human relationship with the natural world. Tickets are free for PC students, so this option is budget-friendly, interesting, and sure to please.
2. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
Located in Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the perfect destination for Valentine’s Day. In addition to their wonderful collection of European, American, and Asian art, what makes the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum special is the courtyard filled with greenery, making the viewer feel as if they are almost outside. The airy and naturally-lit space also makes for the perfect spot to take photographs. Ringing up at only $13 per ticket for students, this is another great option for a Valentine’s Day date.
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Since its founding in 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has become one of the most famous and prestigious museums in the world, showcasing over 5,000 years of art from all corners of the world. What is unique about The Met are its size and status, which allow it to house some of the most famous pieces of art in the world. Famous pieces sure to impress include Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, Self Portrait With Straw Hat by Vincent van Gogh, and Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollock. With its massive size and impressive works, one could spend all day in The Met and only see a small percentage of what it has to offer. While farther away from campus, visiting The Met is a special experience that will be remembered for years to come, and only costs $17 per ticket as a student.
Make your partner feel special this year and bring them to one of these beautiful museums to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
Returning the Art
27 Artifacts Seized from the Met
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, several search warrants have recently been carried out under the pretext of looting. Authorities have ordered the museum to return dozens of objects that were illegally imported into the country from abroad, estimated to be worth around 13 million dollars. These objects serve as a reminder of the glories of ancient civilizations such as Rome, Greece, and Egypt.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, these artifacts will be returned to their respective countries of origin, as they were wrongfully displaced. “We have two repatriation ceremonies next week, one with Italy and one with Egypt,” a spokesperson said. “Fifty-eight objects will go back to Italy, twenty-one from the Met. Sixteen to Egypt, six from the Met.” Braggs did not reveal where the other artifacts were seized from, but they will be returned in the Reparations Ceremony alongside those from the Met as an effort to make amends.
Some of these items have found their way to individuals that have long-standing accusations of illegally trafficking antiques, such as Gianfranco Becchina, who ran a private gallery in Switzerland for decades. Eight artifacts seized from the Met were acquired directly by Becchina himself, in addition to a total of 6,300 artifacts being confiscated from his possession in 2011. Authorities have warned that many relics are still in the hands of thieves and dealers around the world, as law enforcement has expedited its efforts against the illegal sale of ancient artifacts. However, most of the artifacts from the Met were taken from their homelands long before the underground galleries of today existed.
The ongoing investigation has already led to the repatriation of over 2,000 objects, with no intention of slowing down. The efforts to return historical artifacts to their countries of origin has been ongoing for several years now, as rising awareness of international art crime has opened many museums to intense scrutiny. “The norms of collecting have changed significantly in recent decades,” the museum said, “and The Met’s policies and procedures in this regard have been under constant review over the past 20 years.”
A terra-cotta kylix, or a drinking cup, from 470 B.C. was one of the most significant pieces among the artifacts that were seized from the Met. Valued at $1.2 million, it was purchased directly from Becchina’s illegal gallery in 1979. This item is predated by a gifted terra-cotta statuette of a Greek goddess traced back to around 400 B.C., which is valued at $400,000.
In 2021, three pieces of African art, including two brass plaques made in Benin around the 16th century, were repatriated to Nigeria. European museums were the first to begin returning irreplaceable African antiques to their countries of origin that were looted during colonial times, which influenced the Met to follow suit. Cambodia also welcomed back 30 antiques from New York officials in August, including a 10th-century Khmer sculptural “masterpiece” that had been lost. This post-colonial era of reparations will hopefully return autonomy to these nations that were destroyed by conquest and imperialism.