Much to my embarrassment, it took me years to appreciate Baltimore beyond its aquarium. The turning point was one wintry day last year. We woke up early, the flat, frozen city before us, and decided to explore.
Our primary destinations on that visit were the two museums–the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum–and I was charmed by both. Still, when I think of that day, the elegant Mount Vernon Place springs to mind. It was too cold to linger then, so I’d love to see the entirety of the Mount Vernon neighborhood again during the cherry blossom season. Once upon a time, this was the gilded heart of Baltimore’s high society, and monuments to its philanthropic denizens still speak eloquently to that past. My first association with it all, though, will always be the grumpy hospitality of that still, grey morning.
Steps away from the Washington Monument, we were grateful for the warmth of the Peabody Library.
An exhibition gallery on the first floor was open to the public. That day, it displayed some of the brightest stars of scientific discovery, rare manuscripts and bound volumes by Copernicus, Kepler, Galilei, Newton, and Halley (sadly, no longer on view).
Two large doors at the center of the exhibit led into the library’s reading room, a bibliophile’s Valhalla. We were not allowed in just then, but could peek through the glass. I think I could spend an afterlife there:
From this dream paradise, our day meandered pleasantly to the Walters close by, and the Baltimore Museum of Art after that, where, as luck would have it, we got another glimpse of the library–Candida Hofer’s this time. Baltimore and I had a lovely first date; I look forward to continue the acquaintance this spring.
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Amazing! Another library to add to the travel list if we are visiting Baltimore. ~ Kat
It really is stunning. Have you seen this list (“America’s Most Beautiful College Libraries”): http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-most-beautiful-college-libraries ? Peabody is, deservedly, included.
Thanks for the library article reference.
Am I seeing that right? Has somebody dressed up the statue in a parka? Too funny! That library is amazing – that would be an afternoon well spent.
Yes, a glove on the Sea Urchin and a parka on the other kid. Apparently, Baltimoreans do this in winter, the caring lot that they are. As for the Peabody Library–ah, I can’t WAIT to get back there.
I live in Baltimore, and I am at the Walters about twice a month.However, I have never really spent a lot of time in the Peabody Library. I need to plan a visit. Sometimes when you have things so close to home, you never take the time to visit them.
You are so right. Having this blog actually encourages me to explore my “home turf” more, and I can’t believe that I overlooked Baltimore so badly until relatively recently. Can’t wait to go back to the Peabody Library. When we were there, the reading room didn’t seem to be readily accessible, so I’d love to hear more about the logistics of spending time there, if you get to it before me.
I will definitely let you know if I find out anything about the reading room at the library.
I’m so close and I’ve never been to the Baltimore Museum of Art. I am, however, a little obsessed with the Walters. I never thought about going to the Peabody — I can’t believe I never knew about the library. Must now go to see it and the Hofer.
I LOVED Walters. I think BAM-appreciation is helped if there is an interesting exhibit at the time. When we were there, the exhibit was of Candida Hofer’s larger-than-life interiors–I hope BAM owns at least some of them, especially the one of the Peabody Library. It really was stunning. As for the library “in the flesh”–I only found out about it because of a book at the hotel! Had no idea it existed before that. Counting days to spring, so we can go back.
Glad to know that Baltimore’s alive and kicking in the art world.
It really is. I am sorry to overlook it for so long.
So much to see and do. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by. Baltimore really does have a lot to offer.
Great photos. I love especially those art photos.
Thank you! Candida Hofer’s photographs drew you in–larger than life and rather mesmerizing in their lines and stillness