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Best Art Museums and Galleries in Research Triangle Park

(The Triangle Trend) — Between the pandemic and a seemingly neverending string of history-making events (what’s next, 2020?), we’re all due for a momentary escape from reality. One of the best ways to do that, of course, is through art. With everything from sculpture parks to contemporary exhibits, The Triangle hosts some of the best art museums and galleries in the country that showcase both local and international artists. While most are closed for the time being, there are still plenty of ways to stay involved with the art scene and, most importantly, provide a creative distraction — and maybe even a little inspiration.

North Carolina Museum of Art

Temporarily closed but The Park is open

2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, NC 27607

Though the indoor gallery of the NCMA remains closed, visitors are welcome to explore the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park from dawn until dusk any day of the week. The Park features both temporary and permanent installations that are made to complement the surrounding landscape. Enjoy a sightseeing adventure through the Park’s wooded trails or simply picnic next to one of the massive sculptures (the sleeping giant is a personal favorite).

CAM Raleigh

Temporarily closed

409 W Martin St, Raleigh, NC 27603

You never know what you’re going to get at the CAM. From avant-garde fashion collections to large format photorealistic paintings, the CAM emphasizes cultural experiences and artist-curated exhibits above all else. Beyond hosting contemporary art, the CAM offers educational programs to art-lovers of all ages, encouraging participants to think about art and design in new ways. While the museum remains closed for now, some exhibits are available for virtual viewing on their website.

Nasher Musem of Art

Temporarily closed

2001 Campus Dr, Durham, NC 27705

The Nasher boasts a collection of over 10,000 pieces of art that features everything from Peruvian textiles dating back to 300 BCE to contemporary pieces from renowned artists such as Amy Sherald — and everything in between. Though the museum is closed to visitors, The Nasher’s entire permanent collection is organized online in an easy-to-navigate database. Art lovers can also find interviews, podcasts, videos, and more relating to the museum online.

21c Museum Hotel Durham

Galleries temporarily closed

111 North Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701 

As the name suggests, this boutique-hotel-slash-art-museum in the historic Hill Building offers both visitors and guests alike the chance to see some of the best work from local, contemporary artists. At 21c, you’ll explore several floors worth of art, including the famous basement with the building’s original bank vault and lounge.

The Ackland Art Museum

Temporarily closed

101 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27599

The Ackland Art Museum’s motto is “look close, think far.” As UNC-Chapel Hill’s art museum, both students and members of the community can take advantage of the over 19,000 pieces of art in their permanent collection and become globally inspired. Though the museum is closed, the program “Ackland at Home” offers guides to works that are on view virtually, teacher resources for some art education, and a bi-weekly newsletter to keep you updated with the latest Ackland news.

FRANK Gallery

Open Thursday-Saturday, 12 pm-5 pm, and available by appointment by contacting our gallery manager, Natalie Knox at

201 S Estes Dr B6, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Having just celebrated ten years, FRANK gallery is, without a doubt, a staple in the Chapel Hill community. Not only does FRANK showcase incredible local artists of all mediums, but it’s also a non-profit organization that focuses on community engagement through the arts. Exhibits at the FRANK are available for in-person viewing at reduced hours or any time virtually on their website. There, you can also find videos of featured artists reflecting on their work, gallery videos, and even coloring pages (fun).

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