The days on this tour have been carefully programmed, however there will be opportunities for tour participants to break from the group to explore their own interests if they so desire. On a number of days the program is scheduled to finish mid/late afternoon thus allowing free time for individual exploration. Evenings have been deliberately left free to allow participants to avail themselves of endless dining opportunities and sample the many performing arts options found in each of the major cities to be visited. The daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight schedules etc. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and and evening meals, indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D = evening meal. All entrance fees on the official program are included in the tour price.
Chicago - 4 nights
Day 1: Thursday 20 September, Arrive Chicago
- Arrival Transfer for those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Participants taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight from Australia are scheduled to arrive into Chicago in the evening and will transfer directly to The Palmer House Hilton. If you are travelling independently to Chicago, you should take an officially marked taxi to the hotel. (Overnight Chicago)
Day 2: Friday 21 September, Chicago
- Architecture Highlights Coach Tour
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Chicago Cultural Centre
- Welcome Dinner at the Drawing Room Library Restaurant
This morning we embark on a Chicago Architecture Foundation ‘Highlights by Bus’ tour. On this two-and-a-half-hour private tour we shall visit Chicago’s finest landmarks, including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s IIT Campus and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House.
After time at leisure for lunch we visit the massive and modular home of the Museum of Contemporary Art, which offers an impressive array of exhibitions. We then make our way along the Magnificent Mile to the Chicago Cultural Centre, formerly the Chicago Public Library, which boasts two backlit stained glass Tiffany domes.
This evening we enjoy a Welcome Dinner at the Drawing Room Library Restaurant at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. (Overnight Chicago) BD
Day 3: Saturday 22 September, Chicago
- Oak Park, incl. Frank Lloyd Wright’s House & Studio
- Architecture River Cruise
This morning we drive to leafy Oak Park, where we see Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and studio, featuring furniture he designed. We also see many other examples of his work in the Oak Park neighbourhood. Our visit is hosted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
After lunch we will take one of the famous Architecture cruises on the Chicago River. The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the city – perhaps by visiting the Sears or Hancock building to take in the views. (Overnight Chicago) B
Day 4: Sunday 23 September, Chicago – Plano – Chicago
- Farnsworth House, Plano
- Chicago Art Institute
Ninety-four kilometres out of Chicago is one of North America’s architectural masterpieces – Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House. This morning we drive to Plano to tour Farnsworth House and explore this fine example of Modernist domestic architecture.
This afternoon we visit one of the world’s great art museums, the Chicago Art Institute. The Art Institute collection is both enormous and of the highest quality, and presents major works by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and many more. Chagall’s impressive stained glass windows are truly stunning. Our visit includes an orientation tour of the collection and participants will have time to wander at their leisure. (Overnight Chicago) B
Boston - 3 nights
Day 5: Monday 24 September, Chicago – Boston
- Morning flight: Chicago – Boston
- Boston Public Library
This morning we transfer by coach to Chicago airport for our flight to Boston on the East Coast. Boston, one of the most important historical cities in the USA, has been described as ‘the cradle of American Independence’. Its most important buildings are more than just landmarks – they are icons of US history. Boston’s citizens have played a critical role in the development of the USA up to the present day. After settling into our hotel, we walk across the road to the marvellous Boston Public Library for a guided tour. Established in 1848, this was the first large free municipal library in the United States. The present building on Copley Square was completed in 1895, designed by architect Charles Follen McKim as a ‘palace of the people’. In addition to its superb collection of books, the library is renowned for the murals that adorn the walls of the main halls. (Overnight Boston) B
Day 6: Tuesday 25 September, Boston
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- Harvard Art Museums
- MIT Campus
This morning we will travel by coach to the revitalised South Boston Seaport District where we shall visit the Institute of Contemporary Art. Originally established as the Boston Museum of Modern Art in 1936 and located at Harvard, the current building was opened in 2006 and contains both galleries and performance space. We then cross the Boston Harbor by ferry to ICA’s new site – the Watershed. Opened in 2018 in a converted waterside warehouse, this space is used for special exhibitions. We then drive to Cambridge where we will visit the Harvard Art Museums, located alongside Harvard Yard. Established as an important learning tool for the university’s students in the disciplines of art history and conservation, the Harvard Art Museums are also dedicated to advancing learning in the wider community with public education programs. Our day ends with a walking tour of MIT, one of the most architecturally dynamic university campuses in the world. The site has undergone an extraordinary regeneration over the last few decades. Here we will tour the buildings of this complex to see the works of ‘Starchitects’ Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei and Alvar Aalto, who transformed this previously pedestrian campus into a showcase of contemporary architecture. (Overnight Boston) B
Day 7: Wednesday 26 September, Boston
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
- Afternoon at Leisure
Today we use the efficient Boston transport system to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts which boasts one of the country’s finest collections of American art as well as extensive Asian and European art collections. Highlights of the collection include Rembrant’s The Artist in his Studio, Goya’s Seated Giant, Copley’s Paul Revere, and a host of works by El Greco, Velázquez, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Singer Sargent and a superb collection of Egyptian antiquities. (Overnight Boston) B
New York - 6 nights
Day 8: Thursday 27 September, Boston – New Haven – New York
Today we travel by coach from Boston to ‘New York, New York’ for six days of discovery in the ‘Big Apple’, widely considered to be the world’s greatest city. En route we shall visit New Haven, the home of Yale University. Here we shall have lunch and make a brief visit to the remarkable university, before continuing our drive to New York in the afternoon. On arrival we shall enjoy an orientation walk in the Midtown area to introduce the group to this incredible city. (Overnight New York) B
Day 9: Friday 28 September, New York
- Grand Central Station
- The Brooklyn Museum
- Brooklyn Bridge
- The World Trade Center Memorial and Transportation Hub
This morning we travel by public transport to Grand Central Station – the iconic hub of New York’s train network and a magnificent historic building. We then travel by subway to the Brooklyn Museum, which has a mission to ‘create inspiring encounters with art that expand the ways we see ourselves, the world and its possibilities’. The museum’s collections include art from the Americans, the Pacific Islands, Asia, Europe and Africa, as well as sections devoted to decorative arts and the ancient world.
After time at leisure for lunch we will walk across Brooklyn Bridge that spans the East River, and in the downtown Manhattan. Here we shall visit the World Trade Center Memorial and also the remarkable new Transportation Hub designed by Santiago Calatrava. Structural steel ribs create the vast open space within before extending upwards to form canopies, giving the building the appearance of a great white bird lifting in flight. We continue to explore the innovative architecture of Downtown Manhattan before returning to the hotel. (Overnight New York) B
Day 10: Saturday 29 September, New York
- Walking tour including Fifth Avenue, Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel area
- Frick Collection
- Met Breuer Museum
Our day will start with a 2-hour walking tour along Fifth Avenue, which provides an opportunity to pass the Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel. Our first major stop is the magnificent Frick Collection: a true New York treasure. The collection owes its existence to Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), a Pittsburgh coke and steel industrialist. Although relatively small in size, it does feature an acclaimed collection of Old Master paintings, Renaissance sculpture, eighteenth century furniture, porcelain and bronzes superbly displayed in a glorious Fifth Avenue mansion built by Frick in 1913-1914 as his New York home. This superb house more than justifies a visit in its own right. The museum has a presentation on the life of Frick and the evolution of the collection.
After a break for lunchtime at leisure, we visit the recently opened Met Breuer Museum which houses a collection of modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries, sourced from artists around the world. The building itself was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1066, and housed the Whitney Museum of American Art prior to that museum’s relocation to it’s new building.
Group members then have the option of extending their visit to see the collection of notable modern artists, while some may wish to further explore some of the city’s great architectural delights: Johnson’s Seagram Building and AT&T House and SOM’s Lever House. (Overnight New York) B
Note: A visit to the Guggenheim Museum was originally planned for this afternoon, but as the museum will be between exhibitions, the Frank Lloyd Wright’s legendary ramps will be closed to the public.
Day 11: Sunday 30 September, New York
- Museum of Modern Art
- New York Public Library
- Rockefeller Center
Today we take the subway to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), renowned throughout the world for the quality, scope and diversity of its collections. MoMA provides an unparallelled overview of the development of modern art. The building has been refurbished in recent years which makes the visit even more pleasant. There is a courtyard featuring a magical array of sculptures by artists such as Picasso and Moore. Museum shop fans will love the huge range of merchandise available. There will be an introductory presentation and tour of the museum and its collections. Afterwards, there is time to wander at your leisure through MoMA.
We walk the short distance to the New York Public Library’s flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. This iconic building, with its flight of steps guarded by lions, was opened in 1911. Its Rose Main Reading Room has provided a work and reading space for scholars and notable authors, but also for the general public who are welcome to use its facilities.
The Rockefeller Center, or Rockefeller Plaza, is a complex of nineteen buildings between 48th and 51st Streets. The Center is named after its developer, John D Rockefeller Jr. The largest private building project ever undertaken in modern times, the construction of the fourteen buildings in the Art Deco style began on 17 May 1930, and was completed in 1939. Some of the buildings in the complex are: One Rockefeller Plaza – originally the Time-Life Building; 30 Rockefeller Center (’30 Rock’) – the 70-floor GE Building that is the centrepiece of the complex; 50 Rockefeller Plaza – the Bank of America Building, formerly the Associated Press Building; 1260 Avenue of the Americas – Radio City Music Hall. We will take a tour of the complex’s significant buildings, gardens and spaces, before visiting ‘Top of the Rock’, the 3-storey observation deck that provides magnificent views over the city. (Overnight New York) B
Day 12: Monday 1 October, New York
- Sunset Park Material Recovery Center
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- The High Line
This morning we will take the subway to Brooklyn and visit a fascinating new infrastructure site in New York, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Center. Located on an 11-acre waterfront pier in Brooklyn, it was designed by Selldorf Architects and reflects New York’s predilection for having well-designed, functional and interesting buildings to house the essential services required by a major city.
We then return to Manhattan by subway to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney opened at this new site in 2015 and is the country’s preeminent museum dedicated to collecting, preserving and exhibiting the contemporary art of the United States. After a guided tour and time for lunch, we walk to the nearby Gansevoort Street entrance to the ‘High Line’, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The ‘High Line’ is owned by the City of New York and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. We shall walk a section of this park before returning to the hotel by subway. (Overnight New York) B
Day 13: Tuesday 2 October, New York
- Central Park
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Afternoon at leisure
We start today with a walking tour of Central Park, that wonderful green oasis so important to New Yorkers and visitors alike. We follow this with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), one of the world’s largest art museums. The collections are extraordinary, featuring works from prehistoric times to the post-industrial age. The antiquities collection is spellbinding, as is the huge holding of tribal art. The Met also has one of the greatest displays of American art and presents a comprehensive collection of European art that is arguably the most outstanding outside Europe. The Egyptian collections, including the Temple of Dendur, are a sight to behold. The medieval collection is housed in the Cloisters, located at the top of Manhattan Island. A visit could be easily achieved independently in the afternoon. There are a range of eateries in the Met and one of the world’s largest and most impressive museum shops. After formal introductions to the collections you will be able to explore the Met at your leisure and stay until closing time, as the rest of the day is free. (Overnight New York) B
Washington - 4 nights
Day 14: Wednesday 3 October, New York – Philadelphia – Washington DC
- The Barnes Foundation, Parkway Museum District
Early this morning we depart New York for Philadelphia to visit the new Barnes Foundation located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Located on 4.5 acres, the vast two-storey building houses the Foundation’s art collection in an exhibition space that replicates the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original galleries in Merion. Designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, it is described as a ‘gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery.’ Boasting a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the building is a breathtaking addition to the Parkway Museum District. It includes a number of sustainable features, including a green roof and a 40,000-gallon rainwater cistern to water the Olin-designed gardens. But the true draw is the Barnes Collection, arguably America’s finest collection of Impressionist and Modernist works, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat and Picasso. A tour of this collection will deepen your understanding of the European landscape tradition that has enriched American landscape painting and gardening.
This afternoon we continue our journey south to Washington DC. Time permitting, there will be a short orientation walk in the vicinity of our hotel. (Overnight Washington DC) B
Day 15: Thursday 4 October, Washington DC
- National Mall Monuments and Memorials
- Library of Congress
This morning we embark on an excursion that will highlight some of the great monuments centered on the National Mall, the grand promenade designed by Pierre L’Enfant that stretches from the Capitol Building at one end to the Lincoln Memorial at the other, a Grecian-temple-style structure housing a statue of the former President. From the centre of the National Mall rises the tall white stone obelisk of the Washington Monument. We will drive through beautifully manicured parkland, past the long Reflecting Pool, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. We also pass the many galleries and museums that line the National Mall, several of which we will be returning to during our program.
We finish the morning with a visit to one of the greatest institutions in Washington DC, the magnificent Library of Congress. Three buildings named after early presidents combine to form the library, but it is the 1897 Jefferson Building with which visitors will be most familiar. It is here that we see the impressive Main Reading Room, and the vaulted ceiling of the ornate Great Hall. This is the largest library in the world and houses over 26 million books and 36 million manuscripts, plus significant collections of maps, sheet music, musical instruments and photographs. (Overnight Washington DC) B
Day 16: Friday 5 October, Washington DC
- The Phillips Collection
- National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Dinner at Central Michel Richard Restaurant
This morning we visit the Phillips Collection, founded by Duncan Phillips in 1921. The museum is noted for its broad representation of both Impressionist and modern paintings, with works by European masters such as Courbet, Bonnard, Braque, Villon, Cézanne, Daumier, Degas, van Gogh, Klee, Matisse, Monet, and Picasso. In 1923, Phillips purchased Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s impressionist painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-81), the museum’s best-known work.
This afternoon we come face to face with some of the most important figures in American history at the National Portrait Gallery. Here, the nation’s history is told through portraits of not only statesmen and women, but also of contributors to the performing and visual arts, political and human rights activists, sports champions, and much more.
We spend the afternoon at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (formerly the National Museum of American Art). This museum is home to one of the largest collections of art from the colonial period to the present that was made in the USA.
We will dine this evening at the Central Michel Richard Restaurant that specialises in contemporary American cuisine. (Overnight Washington DC) BD
Day 17: Saturday 6 October, Washington DC
- National Gallery of Art
- Afternoon at leisure/National Museum of American History
The morning will be spent at the National Gallery of Art, one of the USA’s greatest art collections, with work by Da Vinci, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet and Renoir. After an introductory tour of the gallery highlights, participants will be free to explore the extensive museum at their own pace. You may even wish to try out the ice-skating rink in the Sculpture Garden!
This afternoon is at leisure. You may wish to visit the National Museum of American History, one of many museums and galleries of the Smithsonian Institution. Here you may discover an eclectic collection of installations that celebrate American culture and history. One of the great treasures of the museum is the original American Flag. (Overnight Washington DC) B
Farmington - 1 night
Day 18: Sunday 7 October, Washington DC – Berkeley Springs – Chalk Hill – Farmington
- Berkeley Springs
- Kentuck Knob, Chalk Hill
- Farewell Dinner
This morning we depart Washington and travel Berkeley Springs, a charming small town in rural Pennsylvania. After time to wander through the town and visit the Sunday Farmers Market, we continue on to the Laurel Highlands region of western Pennsylvania. Here we visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob, which bears eloquent testimony to his genius. Dramatic yet serene, the home blends into the mountain against which it stands. It looks out on a breathtaking panorama of the Youghiogheny River Gorge and surrounding mountains. Kentuck Knob is a refinement of Wright’s core principles of organic architecture. Designed in 1953 for the I.N. Hagan family, it was constructed by skilled local craftsmen. With an open plan based on a hexagonal grid it is constructed entirely of tidewater red cypress and native fieldstone. These stone walls not only visually anchor the house’s two wings but also rise to penetrate the horizontal line of its copper roof. Its open floor plan, cantilevered overhangs and great expanses of glass artfully integrate outdoor and indoor spaces. Its expansive yet intimate interior is furnished to the tastes of its current owners, Lord and Lady Palumbo, dedicated patrons of the arts. A sculpture park has been integrated into the woodlands and informal gardens surrounding the house. It features 35 sculptures by masters such as Andy Goldsworthy, Harry Bertoia, Claes Oldenburg, Ray Smith, Michael Warren and Sir Anthony Caro.
Tonight we stay in a lodge located in the nearby town of Farmington and enjoy an evening farewell meal. (Overnight Farmington) BLD
Day 19: Monday 8 October, Farmington – Chalk Hill – Pittsburgh International Airport
- Fallingwater, Mill Run
- Tour ends at Pittsburgh International Airport
This morning we depart our hotel to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous house. Fallingwater was designed in 1936 for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. The house’s setting is dominated by the waterfall over which the house is built. The Kaufmanns chose the waterfall location but were unprepared for Wright’s suggestion that the house rise over it rather than face it; yet they accepted the architect’s original scheme unchanged. Completed in 1939, Fallingwater was constructed of sandstone quarried on the property and was built by local craftsmen. The stone walls rise between reinforced concrete ‘trays’ carrying the living and bedroom levels, that are dramatically cantilevered over the stream. Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963, when the house, its contents and grounds were presented to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann Jr. Fallingwater is the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and artwork intact.
In 1986, New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote: “This is a house that summed up the 20th century and then thrust it forward still further. Within this remarkable building Frank Lloyd Wright recapitulated themes that had preoccupied him since his career began a half-century earlier, but he did not reproduce them literally. Instead, he cast his net wider, integrating European modernism and his own love of nature and of structural daring, and pulled it all together into a brilliantly resolved totality. Fallingwater is Wright’s greatest essay in horizontal space; it is his most powerful piece of structural drama; it is his most sublime integration of man and nature.”
Following our visit we drive to Pittsburgh International Airport for our flight home to Australia. B