Reina Sofia, Madrid

Name – Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina  Sofía / National Museum Centre of Art Reina Sofía

P1050455

Type – modern art
Location – Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, Madrid, Spain ‎


Web site
http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en
Intro – The last of the Golden Triangle to describe and the last one I visited. It is big, it is rich, it is well-prepared and well-governed. Of course, it host a lot of great modern and contemporary art, which might be difficult to understand, but descriptions were present in all cases. Also, helpful staff knew quite a lot and was happy to answer questions. One can also ask for a special assistant who will help to comprehend Reina Sofia’s collection. It is the second most visited Spanish museum, but no one can say it’s crowded (well, maybe except when the admission is free and everyone runs to see famous Guernica. That, however, is the case with all museums. Museum is located in two adjacent buildings, both of them of 5 stores. Also a shop, a cafeteria and a library are available. There is also a pleasant patio with few sculptures (incl. Miró’s Moon Bird). The museum feels empty at times, but it usually is a nice break from the excellent art. It is yet another must-visit place in Madrid! Highly recommended!

Pros (+):

  • great collection of modern art
  • big, but not too packed
  • space!
  • real centre of art
  • free for students and during evenings
  • long opening hours (10 AM – 9 PM)

Cons (-):

  • buildings seems a bit empty
  • it is possible to get lost as some escalators go only up

Prices – General admission – €8, Temporary exhibitions – €4, 50% of reduction for groups, free for students
Accessibility – good, elevators present
Fun facts/Trivia – taking pictures allowed everywhere except of Picasso’s Guernica and works of Joan Miró
Nearby – Retiro Park with the Crystal Palace, Atocha Train Station (with a small botanical garden)
Score

5

 

 

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Prado, Madrid, Spain

Name – Museo del Prado / Prado Museum
P1050482

Type – art
Location – Paseo del Prado, s/n, Madrid, Spain

Web sitehttp://www.museodelprado.es/en
Intro – Prado. Another museum of the Gold Triangle from Madrid. Much, much bigger than nearby Thyssen-Bornemisza museum, but this time bigger does not mean better. I have to say it is an impressive museum, but too big to comfortably visit. Even though you get a map of museum with highlights, you can get easily lost. And there is too much to see. I guess the solution would be to visit it few consecutive days each time spending only 2-3 hours; then, on the other hand, Madrid has much more to offer than just Prado. Even though the collection has some famous paintings, like Mayas by Goya, it is not very diverse and practically stop with XVIII-XIX century. It is, of course, a great place to see the best Spanish paintings, but except of that it was a bit disappointing. Another problem is that there are quite a lot of guided tours, which then make it difficult to enjoy Prado if you are on your own. Also, it can be pretty packed with people, even despite spacious halls and rooms. Additionally, on some days the line to ticket offices is extremely long, while on others there is almost no one waiting. Good to visit, many say it’s must visit, but it didn’t stand to my high expectations.

Pros (+):

  • very rich collection of classical paintings
  • interesting temporary exhibitions
  • free Wi-Fi in the lobby

Cons (-):

  • too big
  • too crowded
  • collection less diverse than in other Madrid’s museums

Prices – General admission: 14 €, general admission + official guide: 23 €, reduced price: 7 € (e.g. seniors 65+), free for students and during evenings (see the website for more details)
Accessibility – good, elevators present
Fun facts/Trivia 
NearbyThyssen-Bornemisza museum, Caixa Forum, Retiro Park, church of San Jerónimo el Real
Score

4

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Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain

Name – Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Thyssen-Bornemisza

Type – art
Location – Paseo del Prado, 8, Madrid, Spain

Web site –  http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/home
Intro – It was the first museum I visited in Madrid. And I think I couldn’t choose better. Conveniently located, not too big (which is definitely an advantage!) museum welcomed me nicely. The ticket was relatively cheap, just €6 for a student (you can buy the €25 ticket for the three museum of the Golden Triangle, but that’s not worth it if you’re a student with a valid and recognizable ID). Collection is in two joined buildings and is being viewed from top to the bottom, more or less being placed chronologically. I really liked the selection of pieces, with some being really famous. They had quite a big collection of Flemish painting. The fact this museum was not as huge as Prado only made it possible to actually see all pieces in a reasonable time of just few hours. The Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is definitely equally good as Prado and Reina Sofia, if not better planned (I really enjoyed it more than the other two). Must see in Madrid!

Pros (+):

  • nice, well-structured collection
  • clear map available
  • suggested viewing direction from top to bottom
  • shop, restaurant and cafeteria available
  • proximity of other museums of the Golden Triangle of Art (Prado, Reina Sofia) and of Retiro Park

Cons (-):

  • some of the famous paintings not available

Prices – Adults – €9, Students and Seniors (65 years +) with valid ID – €6, Free on Mondays 12.00-16.00 and for kids under 12
Accessibility – good, elevators present
Fun facts/Trivia – there is another Thyssen museum in Malaga
Nearby – Prado, Reina Sofia, Atocha station, Retiro Park – great location among other interesting spots
Score
5

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC, USA

Name – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The GuggenheimType – (modern) art
Location – 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY

Web sitehttp://www.guggenheim.org/new-york
Intro – Famous Guggenheim. Or the Guggenheim. Already a building it’s located in is interesting. This museum is hosting collection of paintings and sculptures of world best impressionists, post-impressionists and modern artists. After visiting “Mets” it seemed a bit small and definitely overpriced (I think it was one of the most overpriced museums I ever been to). The building and the collection make it worth seeing, though. It is a trendy and must-see place for all art-lovers visiting New York!
And it’s the Guggenheim, people write songs about (well, it appears in some songs; a link below).

Pros (+):

  • nice, well-structured collection
  • interesting temporary exhibits
  • a trendy place to meet friends
  • restaurant and cafeteria available
  • proximity of the Central Park

Cons (-):

  • feels a bit overpriced, $12-$15 would be a bit better
  • no pictures allowed except of the entrance hall

Prices – Adults – $22, Students and Seniors (65 years +) with valid ID – $18, Children 12 and under – Free
Accessibility – good, elevators present, construction of the Museum allows a stair-free viewing
Fun facts/Trivia -one of few museums of the Guggenheim foundation (other in Bilbao, Venice and Abu Dhabi)
appears in the songs of The Ting Tings:

Nearby – Central Park, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy Museum, Jewish Museum
Score
5

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Museum of Technology, Warsaw, PL

Name – Muzeum Techniki / Museum of Technology

Museum of Technology
Type – science/technology
Location – Plac Defilad 1, Warsaw, Poland


Web sitehttp://muzeumtechniki.warszawa.pl/ (available in Polish only)
Intro – The very first museum I visited during my stay in Warsaw and the last one to rate. Also, unfortunately, the worst one. I don’t know if there should be any pros in the next section… It truly sucked. Old, full of dust with all items behind the glass… Poor condition of exhibitions. It was like moving back in time and understanding that in that museum almost nothing changed since ’60s or ’70s. Exhibition on astronomy and aeronautics was updated till about 1975 and pictures used to accompany it were of poor quality and black & white. I was not brave enough to go to that old and tiny planetarium there, nor the Glass Lady (which, to my understanding is a glass model of a woman). The only heart-warming part was with old computers, where I could find my first one – Commodore 64. That part, however, was missing an opportunity to learn how to use those old machines and really trying them. Museum of Technology has perfect localization in a very iconic building. But it clearly misses good governing, funds and, so it seems, support from the local government and private sponsors/companies. It is like a time machine to communistic Poland (with only small exceptions). I really see no(t much) purpose for this museum to exist in a shape like this. Try on your own responsibility!
Pros (+)

  • time-machine
  • some items are unique or call memories

Cons (-)

  • OLD!
  • badly planned,  it’s easy to get lost
  • full of dust
  • everything is behind the glass
  • poor condition of exhibited items
  • no museum shop
  • terrible cafeteria/bar

Prices – normal – 14 zl (€3.5, $5), discount – 8 zl (€2, $2.8), ticket for the planetarium – 3 zl (€0.75, $1), ticket for Glass Lady – 2 zl (€0.5, $0.7)
Accessibility – bad, no elevators
Other/Trivia – is part of the Palace of Culture and Sciences with one of the highest viewing points in the city (cost about 15 zl); Museum of Modern Art nearby.
Score (1-5 stars)
1

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http://muzeumtechniki.warszawa.pl/

National Museum of Ethnography, Warsaw, PL

Name – Państwowe Muzeum Etnograficzne / National Museum of Ethnography
Type – ethnographic
Location – ul. Kredyotowa 1, Warsaw

Web sitehttp://www.ethnomuseum.pl/ (available in Polish only!)
Intro – It was one of the three museums I visited in one day and definitely the worst one. However, and I’m going to say it already, I’m not going to give it a score because it is being renovated/reconstructed. At the moment only one room with VERY bad lighting is available. It is in a poor state and its task is rather to show, that this museum may once have a lot to offer. We get a hint it possesses a great and rich collection, but visitors have to be a bit more patient. I had really high hopes about this museum after viewing it website, but I was rather disappointed. The only interesting point was the cafeteria/bar/shop Bily Konicek (a [small] white horse in Czech). Additionally, museum organises day camps for kids. Well, let’s hope that after renovation this museum will indeed stand to the promise it creates now.
Pros (+)

  • Bily Konicek

Cons (-)

  • tiny
  • old-style
  • very dark (bad lighting)

Prices – normal – 12 zl (€3, $4), discount – 6 zl (€1.5, $2); free admission on Saturdays
Accessibility – bad
Other/Trivia – cafeteria Bily Konicek in the building sells nice choice of ethnographic stuff as well as great coffees, juices and (even) beer from small breweries; the Zachęta National Gallery of Art (click!) across the street; proximity of Piłsudski Square with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Score (1-5 stars)
0

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Groninger Museum, Groningen, NL

Name – Groninger Museum

One of museum buildings

One of museum buildings

Type – modern art
Location – Museumeiland 1, Groningen

Web sitehttp://www.groningermuseum.nl/ (available in Dutch and English)
Intro –  About two years ago I moved to Groningen in the north of the Netherlands for my student exchange program. The city itself is dominant in the region, even if rather small (less than 200k inhabitants). Thanks to big, old, international University it is full of life and culture. One of the places which a tourist sees when arrives to Groningen is the Groninger Museum. Located on the canal makes an interesting checkpoint on the way from the Central Station to Grote Mark (main market square). Located in extravagant buildings hosts interesting modern and contemporary collection of arts, as well as great set of Chinese porcelain. Many temporary exhibitions create the feeling that this museum lives, is always interesting, has always something new.

I visited Groninger Museum when my good friend was visiting. We really had fun there. It can be due to the fact that we are as thick as thieves, but surely we were not bored by what we found in Groniger Museum. It is worth visiting not only for the art exhibited, but also for the building itself. The whole complex was designed by three different architects and some parts of the museum are only accessible by underwater tunnels.

As all Dutch museums, also the one in Groningen is a bit expensive for what it holds. However, if you stay in the Netherlands for a little while it might be worth to buy the Museum Card (more about it in coming months), which lets you enter most of Dutch museums for free for a year. Groninger Museum is definitely a place to check when you’re in the north of this flat-as-a-pancake country.
Pros (+)

  • modern
  • interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions
  • sensational building
  • restaurant and shop available
  • can buy tickets online

Cons (-)

  • sometimes feels a bit empty
  • it is possible to get lost

Prices – normal – €13, students and 17&18 y/o – €10, 6-16 y/o – €3; free for holders of Dutch Museum Card; closed on Mondays
Accessibility – good, elevators throughout the building
Other/Trivia – on the way from the Central Station to the Grote Markt (main market square)
Score (1-5 stars)4
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Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, PL

Name – Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej / Museum of modern art
Type – modern art
Location – Pańska 3, Warsaw, Poland


Web site
http://www.artmuseum.pl/ (available in Polish and English)
Intro – I always have problem with museums of modern art, also in Polish (my native language). Some are modern and some are contemporary, which in Polish version is almost the same – Nowoczesne and Współczesne. The former is of new times, the latter of current times, yet it seems there is no good definition about where does the border lie. The ‘modern art’ museum in Warsaw exists, but as if it didn’t. Since almost a decade already there is a fight to make the proper building for it happen. Christian Krezer, famous Swiss architect, prepared the design of the building, but… (and here an explanation how things are done could follow)
Museum of Modern Art in its present form is not impressive. A lot of space and light, but not so many pieces of art, which seem to be scattered around the building in some random order, without clear idea. On the other hand, thanks to its big windows and free admission it tries to accustom Poles to, often difficult, modern/contemporary art. It’s too early to give it a score. Maybe in some 20 years when the proper museum exists…
Pros (+)

  • free admission
  • central location in the city

Cons (-)

  • empty
  • no clear idea between pieces shown, scattered

Prices – free admission
Accessibility – bad, stairs only
Other/Trivia – Museum of Technology close by (in the Palace of Culture and Science); proximity of Central Station
Score (1-5 stars)
0
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National Museum, Warsaw, PL

Name – Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie / Warsaw National Museum
Type – art
Location – Al. Jerozolimskie 2, Warsaw, Poland

Web sitehttp://www.mnw.art.pl/ (available in Polish and English)
Intro – This museum was one of those I got good recommendations about. Located in majestic building was recently renewed and modernised. Many of collections are already ready to enjoy, while some (Antic and Middle Ages) still being renewed. Already right now it is well-thought museum Poles should not be ashamed of. Perhaps it is missing the most famous paintings, but it has a rich collection of Polish artists. It is definitely a place to visit! It broke the image of the old-type museum and I believe it is going to shine with full glory when finally works are finished (expected in the end of 2014). What I disliked about this museum was the fact that there was no map with location of collections (however stuff was omnipresent and could point to anything I searched for), but that might be due to the fact that museum is still being renovated. Another thing that was disturbing was the… creaking floor. Clearly made of nice and old wood was producing annoying sounds with each step; that, however, was the case only in about half rooms. You should not miss this museum while in Warsaw!
Pros (+)

  • renewed
  • rich collection of the greatest Polish painters, substantial collection of Dutch painters
  • interesting temporary exhibitions (Mark Rothko at the time of visiting)
  • explanations also in English (and guided tours available in English, German, Italian, French and Norwegian for €30)
  • shop available

Cons (-)

  • disturbing creaking of the floor in many rooms
  • it is possible to get lost
  • misses a map to take
  • cold air-conditioned rooms

Prices – normal – 15 zl (€4, $5), discount – 10 zl (€2.5, $3), including temporary exhibitions 20 zl (€5, $6.5) and 15 zl (€4, $5), respectively; free admission on Tuesdays; closed on Mondays
Accessibility – good, elevators throughout the building
Other/Trivia – Museum of Polish Army next door
Score (1-5 stars)
4

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