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Another World, a Short Drive Away

Another World, a Short Drive Away


A preview of the summer’s most promising museum exhibits and events (for families and adults).

Right about now, the summer’s starting to lose a little bit of its glow. I mean, it’s still summer, so even the below-average days are better than February’s best effort. But the humidity’s inching up and the kiddos are already showing signs of malaise. The answer is a little deviation. Endless freedom goes from exhilarating to boring real fast. But when you pepper it with brief, unexpected episodes, they have a way of renewing everything around them—and you. Which is why the museum is our favorite Plan B year-round, but especially come the dog days. Nowhere else can you travel so far so fast. And, really, these exhibits are way more engaging than The Legend of Tarzan or Jason Bourne. —Scott Edwards


Art Splash | Today through September 5

Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Groundbreaking exhibit” means nothing to a child, unless, of course, there’s actual ground-breaking involved. But, in this case, they’ll never need to know that what they’re seeing and doing is enlightening them. This summer’s edition of Art Splash is being dedicated to a kid-friendly exploration of the art museum’s Creative Africa exhibit. There are tours aimed at kids as young as three—and, on two special occasions, parents with babies in tow—and an exhibit-inspired craft studio and daily storytelling.


Summer Nights | Wednesday through August 24

Bucks County Children’s Museum

Aside from having free run of the interactive exhibits for an extra couple of hours every Wednesday, the New Hope museum will also be hosting a series of family-minded activities. First up: “Make It Take It Craft Night.” Next week: “Picnic Night.” You bring dinner, and the museum will supply the Nina’s Waffle Bites. What kid wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend a night (part of one, at least) at a museum? Thanks to Ben Stiller, we all now know that after-hours is when all the interesting stuff happens.


Unguarded, Untold, Iconic | Opens July 16

Michener Art Museum

This isn’t only about piquing the curiosity of some young, dormant imaginations. Yours could use some challenging, too. Start at the Michener, with Exton photographer Steve McCurry’s intimate-verging on-unsettling introduction to the humble Afghanistan that’s too often lost in the news of the latest explosion or uprising. These images—some new, some instantly identifiable—cover McCurry’s countless trips to the country over the last few decades, trips spurred by the unrest we’re familiar with, but his experiences hardly mirror the coverage.


Happiness, Liberty, Life? | Through September 18

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 

When the Democratic National Convention ambles into town July 25, it’ll feel like the culmination of an overdrawn, overwrought process. But, of course, it won’t be. We’ll still have over three long months to wade through. Is this what democracy has always looked like? In short, yes. But, for a more interesting answer, check out Happiness, Liberty, Life?—a tongue-in-cheek play on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—which scans the long, contentious tradition of political discord in this country and its thought-provoking, often-funny expression through the arts.


A Material Legacy | Opens July 30


“Naomi and Her Daughters,” 2013, Kehinde Wiley, Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection. ©Kehinde Wiley Studio. Courtesy Princeton University Art Museum. Top: “Afghan Girl,” 1984, Steve McCurry. ©Steve McCurry. Courtesy Michener Art Museum.

Princeton University Art Museum

If you’ve been pulled in other directions over the last few years, A Material Legacy is an ideal reintroduction. The collection features some of the fastest-rising artists in the world—Kehinde Wiley, Anish Kapoor, Kara Walker, Sol LeWitt. Nearly every piece was made in the last 10 years, most of it in the last seven, so by the time you’re done, you can consider yourself all caught up. Fear not. There won’t be a test. The real reason to see this show is to remember why you fell in love with contemporary art. (Hint: It’s a far more inspiring way to confront the world’s issues.)

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