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 dinners, indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D =dinner. All entrance fees on the official program are included in the tour price.
Chicago - 4 nights
Day 1: Wednesday 15 September, Arrive Chicago
- Arrival Transfer for those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
- Welcome Meeting
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. This evening we gather for a welcome meeting and drink. (Overnight Chicago)
Day 2: Thursday 16 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: Friday 17 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: Saturday 18 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: Sunday 19 September, Chicago – Boston
- Morning flight: Chicago – Boston
- Boston Public Library (subject to guide availability on a Sunday)
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: Monday 20 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: Tuesday 21 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 - 5 nights
Day 8: Wednesday 22 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: Thursday 23 September, New York
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- The High Line and The Shed
This morning we 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 to visit the Whitney Biennial at your leisure, 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. On our walk we will pass the impressive new art and performance space – The Shed. Opened to the public in April 2019, this is New York’s first multi-arts centre designed to commission, produce and present all types of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. The building itself is highly innovative and its most notable design feature is a telescoping outer shell that deploys over a plaza to create a great hall. (Overnight New York) B
Day 10: Friday 24 September, 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
Day 11: Saturday 25 September, New York
- Walking tour including Fifth Avenue, Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel
- The Frick Collection at the Old Whitney
- Solomon R. Guggenheim 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. 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. The collection is usually displayed in a glorious Fifth Avenue mansion built by Frick in 1913-1914 as his New York home. However, this building is scheduled to undergo renovation from late 2020 and the Frick Collection will instead be presented in the building that was formerly the Whitney Museum and then the Met Breuer.
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.
We then visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. World famous for its striking architecture, it is the work of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright – whom we have encountered in Chicago. Our visit will focus on the extraordinary architecture of this museum and also on the special exhibition that presents the story of the museum through a selection of highlights from the permanent collection. 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
Day 12: Sunday 26 September, New York
- Museum of Modern Art
- Architecture walking tour
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 unparalleled 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.
We then travel by subway to visit some of the innovative architecture of Downtown Manhattan – 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. (Overnight New York) B
Washington - 3 nights
Day 13: Monday 27 September, 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 14: Tuesday 28 September, Washington DC
- National Mall Monuments and Memorials
- Library of Congress
- The Phillips Collection
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.
This afternoon 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. (Overnight Washington DC) B
Day 15: Wednesday 29 September, Washington DC
- National Gallery of Art
- Afternoon at leisure
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 one of the many wonderful museums to be found in the city – the National Museum of American History, National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum (formerly the National Museum of American Art) are all located in the Mall area and host marvellous collections. (Overnight Washington DC) B
Farmington - 1 night
Day 16: Thursday 30 September, Washington DC – Chalk Hill – Farmington
Early this morning we depart Washington and travel 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 a dinner at the hotel. (Overnight Farmington) BD
Pittsburgh - 1 night
Day 17: Friday 1 October, Farmington – Mill Run – Pittsburgh
- Fallingwater, Mill Run: In-depth private visit
- Afternoon at leisure in Pittsburgh
- Farewell Dinner
This morning we depart our hotel early for a special out-of-hours in-depth tour of 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.”
We then drive to Pittsburgh for an afternoon at leisure. This evening we gather at the hotel for a farewell dinner. (Overnight Pittsburgh) BD
Day 18: Saturday 2 October, Pittsburgh
- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
- Airport transfer for participants departing on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Our final visit for the tour is the Andy Warhol Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of Warhol’s work and archival materials. The collection of drawings, paintings, postcards, videos, sculptures and photographs covers the entire career of the artist, from his student days in his hometown of Pittsburgh through to his pop art paintings and films.
In the afternoon, participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport to take their flight home to Australia. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay in the USA. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B