Rohan Vasa, Writer
Washington D.C. is known for its museums. They encircle the National Mall and are as diverse as the country itself. But if you want a more meditative experience, drive thirty minutes northwest to the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. The museum transports you to a contemplative and serene headspace that integrates art, architecture, and nature into one cohesive experience. Billionaire founders Emily and Mitch Rales envisioned Glenstone as more than just a place to show off their collection. By combining elements of art, architecture, and nature they’ve created a destination that inspires a different state of mind. Consequently, the works are presented in a series of indoor and outdoor spaces spread throughout the estate.
The collection includes post-World War II art done in multiple mediums. They show the shifts that have occurred in the way we think about and understand art. The personal collection has work by prominent artists, collected by many museums, but also by lesser-known ones whose work pushes the standards of what a museum can include.
The landscape spans nearly 300 acres and seamlessly incorporates the architecture and art. For instance, he area includes a variety of paths, meadows, streams, and forests, with outdoor sculptures spread along the way. In addition, Glenstone has its own Environmental Center which spearheads the museum’s sustainability agenda.
Glenstone’s architecture has an equal presence to the art it houses and the nature it’s surrounded by. Thomas Phifer and Partners created the minimalist design that allows for lots of space between artworks. Large windows let in natural light and overlook the vast landscape. There is an open patio at the forest’s edge where visitors can experience the outdoors while dining. The Pavilions surround an area of water where plant life changes with the seasons.