The gargantuan Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main St., 860/278-2670, www.wadsworthatheneum.org , 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sat.; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.; 11 p.m.–8 p.m. first Thu., $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students, free children 12 and under, $5 first Thu.) is not only America’s oldest art museum, it’s also one of its best.
Founded in 1842 by arts patron Daniel Wadsworth, the Atheneum holds all the requisite genres, including works by European masters such as Monet, Picasso, and Dali; a fantastic collection of Classical bronzes; and early American portraiture, including the oldest known portrait, Elizabeth Eggington.
But what really separates the museum from the herd are two collections: the paintings of the Hudson River School, which formed the original basis of Wadsworth’s collection and includes many fine works by Hartford  native son Frederic Church; and the Amistad collection, which includes documents and relics related to the slave ship rebellion that achieved modern fame through the eponymous Steven Spielberg movie.