EDITOR'S NOTE: Our Hometown Tourists visited The Crocker Art Museum on their most recent excursion. The following blog includes two accounts by Janet Lewis and Carol Dabrowiak, detailing their visit to this Sacramento attraction.
The Crocker Art Museum reminds me of the “Little Engine That Could.” Remember the children's story where the little engine doesn't know that it can't do the same things that the big engines do? It keeps saying "I think I can, I think I can." This Sacramento museum is like the little engine. I know this because in the last six months, I've had the opportunity to visit New York's Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. These are all wonderful, world renowned art museums. But Crocker "thinks it can" be like the bigger museums. And it is. After they completed a major building expansion in 2010, the Crocker Museum also expanded its education and entertainment activities. They offer films, lectures, art history classes, children's activities, concerts and tours. Of course they have an impressive permanent collection of art and an exciting variety of traveling exhibits.
My favorite activity is the Tuesday Lunch and Learn Seminar. Patrons are taken to a specific piece of art and a docent gives an in-depth explanation of the piece. Patrons are invited to ask questions and give opinions. After the seminar, everyone is encouraged to have lunch in the lobby cafe. It is a fun and easy way to expand your appreciation of a work of art and enjoy some great Sacramento dining.
“The Little Engine That Could” makes it over the steep hill and earns the respect of the other engines. The Crocker Art Museum also made it over a steep hill. They earned the respect of the art community.
The Crocker Art Museum is a good place to go on a hot day, a rainy day, any day. You can have lunch or a snack at the cafe. You can wander on your own or you can have a tour. It is located close to several downtown Sacramento hotels. Cindy, Carol and I had a tour by docent Barbara Campbell who led us around on an overview, and it was a good one! For nearly two hours, we heard and saw selections of art history, Sacramento history, Crocker family gossip, insight to the various collections, and more.
We lingered to discuss and “get into” the Flemish peasant wedding. Viewed and discussed the metaphorical/allegorical aspects of “Sunday Morning at the Mines” and “Fandango,” the two huge paintings in the stairwell which I’d previously considered only as quaint illustrations of some long-ago Mark Twain or Bret Harte story. On our trek, we made a pilgrimage and paid homage to the “Valley of the Yosemite” by Thomas Hill in the new California room - my new favorite room! We visited the giant, wild red-eyed fiberglass bull that used to grace the exterior entry of an office building on 16th street but now is the dramatic and larger than life centerpiece of the modern art collection. The new clay Navaho and Hopi bowls in that glassed-in room upstairs are unsung gems. The recently added ceramics collection spread among three rooms in the historic wing is a treasure trove waiting to be further discovered, perhaps via a handheld internet gadget to “Google” up the various Northern California glaze artists.
We enthusiastically recommend you to spend an afternoon, a morning, a day, or whatever time you have, at the Crocker! Maybe we'll see you there. Cindy’s message with the photos is "Had a great time. We should do the Crocker again." Believe me, we will!