Passion Points: Learning
“American Friends”—that’s the secret password that can get you behind global cultural scenes, from touring the private Maison de Verre in Paris to visiting the closed-to-the- public chambers in Beijing’s Forbidden City. Renowned museums, like the Pompidou in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and China’s Shanghai Museum offer memberships to so-called American Friends organizations, and joining at the benefactor or patron level opens a whole new world when it comes to cultural travel. Members are invited to participate in private tours of artists’ studios and museum collections. They also receive curatorial advice and assistance with acquiring art and—perhaps best of all—they are invited to join curatorial-led trips that focus on a particular art-related subject or destination.
Patty Tang, the director of the American Friends of the Shanghai Museum, helps organize art-filled journeys like the group’s 2006 trip along the Silk Route and last July’s excursion to China and Tibet. Recently, James Watt and Maxwell Hearn–the chairman and the Douglas Dillon curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s department of Asian Art, respectively—led the Silk...
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