Best Art Museum - 2010
Norton Museum of Art
Since its 1941 opening, the museum has grown dramatically, more than doubling its size with one expansion, completed in 1997, and adding 75 percent more gallery space with another expansion a mere half-dozen years later. The museum now encompasses 122,500 square feet. The collection has grown commensurately, so that it's now up to more than 7,000 works, with substantial holdings in European, American, Chinese, and contemporary art as well as photography. And although a surprising amount of this art is on view at any given time, the Norton doesn't stint on its special rotating exhibitions either. Of the dozen or so from the past year, five were recently on view at the same time, and their diversity is a testament to the institution's creative programming: "Avedon Fashion 1944-2000," "Habsburg Treasures: Renaissance Tapestries From the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna," "Here Comes the Sun: Warhol and Art After 1960 in the Norton Collection," "Paul Fusco: RFK Funeral Train Rediscovered," and "Reclaimed: Paintings From the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker." In the case of an art museum, bigger really is better — it's a matter of having more room for more art, and on both those counts, the Norton wins.