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The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

600 North Charles Street
Baltimore , Maryland
Tel: 410 547 9000's insider take:

A small museum with a strong personality, this institution owes its existence to William Walters, a 19th-century Baltimore railroad baron who annually opened his art-filled private residence in Mount Vernon, the city's toniest neighborhood. His son, Henry, an equally avid collector, commissioned a palazzo-style building to exhibit the family treasures and later bequeathed the whole lot to the city. That inheritance is a six-millennium survey of art history, from Egyptian mummies to Monet. Located one mile north of the Inner Harbor, the Walters is just the right size to digest in a few hours. Of special note are the Asian and medieval art, as well as the 17th-century Flemish Collection, which features a sumptuous "Chamber of Wonders" that shows off then-unfamiliar New World curiosities like a stuffed alligator, a walrus tusk, and a leopard skin. Another unusual museum attribute: free admission to the main collection and complimentary audio guides.

Open Wednesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.