The story of the West and famous faces from the past all come alive at this Palm Springs institution.
Established in 1938 in a small room, the Palm Springs Art Museum has since evolved far beyond what its founders likely imagined. The permanent collection alone now numbers over 20,000 pieces. The building’s modern architecture perfectly complements the surrounding sparse, desert landscape.
The Native American and Art of the West exhibit is as diverse as the people it represents. From Navajo rugs to the sculptures and paintings of Frederic Remington, this collection fills nine of the museum’s 28 galleries.
In the Mesoamerican exhibit, examine 2,000-year-old figures of warriors, shamans and musicians — a contrast to the more recent creations in the Modern exhibit. The museum’s gallery of photography is well worth a stroll through. The Hollywood and Portraits section featuring interesting, candid shots of Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Rock Hudson. Well-known photographers are well-represented in the contemporary section; Antony Gormley, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth all have works on show here.
The Architecture and Design exhibit provides a deep understanding of the Desert Modern Style architecture you’ll see throughout Palm Springs. This collection includes a spectacular hillside home, The Albert Frey House, donated to the museum by the renowned Palm Springs architect when he passed away in 1998.
If time is tight, join one of the museum’s guided tours for the highlights. A volunteer will walk you through some of the most popular objects in the permanent and special exhibitions. These informative tours are free with the admission price, although visitors are requested to book reservations at least two weeks in advance.
Unleash your creative talents in one of the museums workshop’s and classes, where you can learn various forms of painting and drawing. There’s also a great program of children’s activities. Check the museum’s website for dates and prices.
The Palm Springs Art Museum is open daily except Mondays and major holidays. It’s located on Museum Drive, in downtown Palm Springs. There is free parking on site.