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20 N. Main St., Providence, RI 02903, United States | (401) 454-6500

The minute you step into the vast, skylit Grand Gallery—filled with dozens of 17th- and 18th-century European paintings—at the heart of this impressive university collection, you’ll see why locals hold it in such high regard. Over 100,000 objects are on view at the Museum of Art at RISD; but it’s the scope, not just the size, that most inspires. With Impressionist paintings, provocative costume exhibits, American decorative arts, and even an ancient Egyptian mummy, there’s a little bit of everything here (a recent exhibition featured original drawings and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso). On the third Thursday of every month, the museum offers free admission after 5 and extends its hours to 9 p.m.—great for travelers negotiating already-packed itineraries.

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Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design

The minute you step into the vast, skylit Grand Gallery—filled with dozens of 17th- and 18th-century European paintings—at the heart of this impressive university collection, you’ll see why locals hold it in such high regard. Over 100,000 objects are on view at the Museum of Art at RISD; but it’s the scope, not just the size, that most inspires. With Impressionist paintings, provocative costume exhibits, American decorative arts, and even an ancient Egyptian mummy, there’s a little bit of everything here (a recent exhibition featured original drawings and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso). On the third Thursday of every month, the museum offers free admission after 5 and extends its hours to 9 p.m.—great for travelers negotiating already-packed itineraries.