Friday, September 20, 2013

The Walters Art Museum

I had never heard of this museum until a couple of weeks ago. It is in Baltimore and, through my homeschooling circles, I found out it was having a special exhibit, only through September 29th, on monks, nuns and their medieval manuscripts. I thought it would be great to see it, so I booked my husband and asked my dad and off we went.

I'd never been to this museum before but it was FREE! All we paid for was parking and even that was worth it as the museum has a staffed parking lot just across the street!

(Sorry the lighting and the yellow walls do nothing for these tapestries, but they were huge and so amazing.)

The manuscripts were simply exquisite. So beautifully crafted, written and drawn.

The details were amazing. (You can click on these pictures to get a larger view.)

I did take a few pictures of the descriptions. To think this one is about 800 years old! That is older than Thomas Aquinas!

I love the detail work on the flowers and the gold shines in the light.

Isn't that amazing and beautiful! Such detail and care!

An explanation of each of the panels above.

A close up of one of the panels... this one of St. Clare praying before the Eucharist for protection.

You can see the musical notes. To think nuns used this to sing at Mass over 700 years ago!

They also had a neat section where you could see how they used oyster shells to hold the paints and what minerals they used to make the amazing colors. 

Also how they made the parchment!

The exhibit was well worth the trip, but I figured we would look at a bit more while we were there. It turns out the museum has packets on each floor for kids. The packets contain pictures of different items in the museum and the kids hunt for them trying to find all the items pictured in their packets. On the one hand, this was a great way to keep the kids busy when they began to get a bit bored. On the other hand, they could become so engrossed trying to mark off each object it didn't seem like they were actually looking at anything beyond being able to mark it off. 
Since Felicity has been learning about Ancient Egypt, I really wanted to go to their Ancient Egyptian section. By then the girls were getting a bit antsy, but they did get to see some great stuff.

She got to see their drawings.

And their pictograms or writing.

They had an inner coffin for a mummy.

And four in tact canopic jars! 

And I pointed out how they drew or wrote on the entire inside of the coffin.

Those were the only two areas I had planned on, but since the girls were behaving and interested in finding more items in their packets, we also browsed through a few other sections.

In the Ancient Roman section, I had to snag a shot of this Good Shepherd.

In the Early Byzantine section, they had this amazing reliquary! Oh I so wanted to take it home with me! I was also dying to know if any of the relics were from St. Catherine of Siena, but most were hard to read or even impossible to see into. 

I loved the bishop's crosiers in the Romanesque and Gothic corner!

They beauty was in the 17th century Renaissance and Baroque wing.

I had to call Felicity back to look at this Annunciation from the 13th-15th centuries... Gabriel has rainbow wings! 
Going through the Greek and Roman sections took me back to my semester abroad in college.
Caesar never had to contend with my Teresa!

It was really a great trip and I do recommend it. There is a lovely store and a small cafe. We didn't eat at the cafe and Teresa broke an owl piggy bank in the store but they didn't charge us for the $27.00 item (it was pretty big; I stupidly assumed she couldn't break anything in the kid section) and the aroma of coffee filled the atrium. They have a classroom in the lower level for projects and crafts for kids on Saturdays. I loved how family-friendly the museum was although one woman working there was too friendly. She had to speak to us every single time she saw us and tell us more, and more, and more. Once fine, after that, let people look in peace. Hope you enjoyed this little sampling from the museum and are able to go yourself sometime! 


  1. How nice that they didn't charge you for her little accident. What a great place! I've been once, but I don't remember those beautiful books at all. Thank you so much for sharing! <3

  2. What a fabulous museum. So glad you guys got to go. It looks like a great experience.