The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore is an internationally renowned museum with an acclaimed collection that includes art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe. Founded in 1934 and located in Mount Vernon-Belvedere, the Museum began creating its collections during the mid-19th century by major American art and sculpture collectors, the Walters, which has grown into the world famous collection it is today.

Father and son, William and Henry Walters refined the collection and placed them in an elaborate stone palazzo-style structure on Charles Street for the public to view and on Henry’s death in 1931, Henry Walters bequeathed his entire collection of over 22,000 works and the Charles Street Gallery in the City of Baltimore.

Highlights of the current collection housed in Charles Street include ancient Egyptian and Greek sculptures, Roman sarcophagi, illuminated manuscripts, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, Art Nouveau jewelry, medieval ivories, Old Master paintings, ancient Middle Eastern items, and 19th-century European and American masterpieces.

More ideas: Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips

Ancient art

The Walters Art Museum has an extensive collection of ancient art with an example from several regions, including Greece, Egypt, Rome, Etruria, Nubia and Near East. Highlights of the collection include two enormous lion-headed statues of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, gold bracelets and jewelry from Greece, a bronze banquet couch, portrait heads, and marble sarcophagi from two prominent Roman families, the Licinians, and the Calpurnians.

Art of the Ancient Americas

The collection also features several exquisite pieces of native art dating back to the ancient Americas, including 100 gold artifacts from Panama, pottery and stone from Central America, Mexico, and South America, and pieces from the Maya, Aztec, and Olmec cultures.

Asian Art

Highlights of the Asian Art collection include lacquers, porcelains, and metalwork from Japan and China, an earthenware camel from the T’ang Dynasty, and a finely painted wine jar from the Ming Dynasty. The museum is the proud owner of the oldest surviving Chinese wood-and-lacquer image of the Buddha that dates back to the late 6th Century, A.D. as well as the largest collection of Siamese/Thai scrolls and bronze banner paintings in the world.

Islamic art

Among the highlights of the Islamic collection include an Iranian (ancient Persian) silver bowl from the 7th century, copper, silver, and gold candlestick from the Egyptian Mamluk era, and a handmade Indian silk sash from the 17th century. The collection also features an array of Islamic manuscripts dating back to the 15th century.

Medieval Art

Henry Walters gathered an extensive collection of art from the Middle Ages period, which forms the basis of the Museum’s current world-renowned medieval collection. The collection includes examples of sculpture, stained glass, textiles, metalwork, paintings and other icons, such as ivories, silver, enamels, illuminated manuscripts, and post-Byzantine art. Highlights of the collection include the earliest surviving image of the "Virgin of Tenderness" by Rubens and a 12th-century ivory casket carved with scenes of jousting knights from France. There are also several beautiful late Medieval Italian paintings by Alberto Sotio, Giovanni del Biondo, Master of Saint Verdiana, and Tommaso da Modena.

Renaissance, Baroque, and 18th Century Art

The Museum’s collection of European Baroque and Renaissance art features a range of furniture, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, arms and armor, and metal work. Highlights include "Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata" by El Greco, "Donor with Saint John the Baptist" by Hugo van der Goes, and "Scipio Africanus Freeing Massiva" by Tiepolo, and one of ten surviving examples of the ship-shaped Sèvres potpourri vase from the mid-18th century.

19th Century art

The Walters Art Museum features many inspiring works by Impressionists and late 19th Century French academic masters, including Ingres, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Delacroix, and Edouard Manet, with a particular interest in the courtly arts of 18th Century France. Highlights of the collection include paintings by Gericault, Henri Rousseau, Jean-Francois Millet, Delacroix, Sisley, Monet, Manet and Antonio Rotta. The collection also includes some beautiful Sèvres Porcelain, Fabergé jeweled objects, Art Nouveau-styled jewelry by Lalique, and jewels by Tiffany & Co.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street Baltimore and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm with free admission. Parking is available in front of the building in Baltimore's historic Mt. Vernon Cultural District and the Museum is wheelchair accessible. The Museum offers docent-led tours for individuals, families, groups and school groups and includes free audio tours from the Visitor Services Desk for use in the permanent collection.

The Museum Store sells a range of art-inspired souvenirs, art reproductions, jewelry, china, books, and a selection of activities and gifts for kids and is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The Walters Art Museum offers a range of educational programs, tours, lectures, seminars, workshops and special events that give fresh insights into past civilizations and contemporary cultures through their world-renowned collection of art.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Baltimore

600 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, Phone: 410-547-9000