Nick Peabody on Discovering the Magic of the PUAM

As a freshman in the fall of 2013, I don’t think I even knew that Princeton had an Art Museum. When my mom, a lifelong art enthusiast, informed me of that fact and encouraged me to visit the museum, I shrugged it off. I’m busy. Museums are kind of boring. I don’t know much about art anyways. It wasn’t until I took my first Art History class while studying abroad in Paris that I realized how wrong those notions were. Museums are so much more than the places you go out of a sense of obligation when you’re visiting a new city. They are a marvel, a place where art comes alive.

When I returned to Princeton as a sophomore, I was determined not to waste the incredible resource that is the Princeton University Art Museum any longer. I enrolled in Art 100 and visited the PUAM for the first time in precept. Strolling through the galleries during precept became my favorite 50 minutes weekly of class time at Princeton, and returning to the galleries to study pieces for papers felt a lot more like leisure than work.

My favorite moment at the PUAM, however, came about not during a class but rather the first time I visited the museum with my mom. Walking around the galleries with her, I felt a certain sense of fulfillment knowing that the kid who didn’t even know where the museum was a mere year earlier was now a frequent visitor. The PUAM was the perfect venue to bond over a shared interest.

Whether it’s examining a work for a paper, socializing with friends during a sponsored event at the museum, or strolling through with my mom, the art museum has become both a wonderful resource and respite on campus. For those who haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it.

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