Top Art Museums and Why You Should Visit

There are so many reasons you should visit America’s top art museums. When most people think about fine art, they instantly think about travelling to Europe. You don’t have to go far to see great art. No matter where you travel in the United States, you are sure to find some amazing, world class art collections to fill your life with beauty and inspiration. Be sure to check one of these amazing places out on your next trip!

  1. Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

This is the biggest collection of art in the country, by far. The enormous and majestic building is sure to have an exhibit you will love. It faces Central Park on Fifth Avenue. After you see the amazing works, take a walk through New York’s gorgeous Central Park to reflect. The first floor has ten wings chock full of masterpieces. This floor is home to the American Wing, Modern and Contemporary Art, Egyptian Art, Medieval Art Greek and Roman Art, Oceana and the Americas, and Arts of Africa.

The second floor is home to musical instruments, drawings and prints, photography and other art from Asia. This is also where you will find their collection of sculptures and European Paintings. They also just finished renovating their Islamic Wing, which I have yet to see. Here you will see decorative objects, tapestries, and an entire room taken straight from 18th century Damascus. There are few places with such a wide range of art.

  1. New Museum of Modern Art in New York City

This is the place to go if you are looking for the more modern, and sometimes strange art. I visited when they had an Andy Warhol photography exhibit and it was a beautiful look behind the scenes into his life, work, and relationships. They host a wide range of interactive exhibits as well. Some are so large and you can climb through and even touch the art. While you can’t touch everything, it is cool to be in a place that allows you to interact with the sculptures and structures.

It is certainly an experience like few others. I often suggest exhibits from this museum to people looking to get their teens interested in art. They often have some of the most relatable works for young, modern people, which is a good way to start thinking about how classical art shows lives of the past.

  1. Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is the second largest collection of art in the United States. They are most well-known for their extensive collection of impressionist, American, and post-impressionist art and you can see more Claude Monet than nearly anywhere else. I love the collection of 20th century furniture. It is interesting to see the shift from the intricate designs of old, to the streamlined, mass manufactured furniture of today.    

  1. Philadelphia Museum of Art

This massive art museum has over 225,000 pieces from all over the world. They are most known for their Chinese porcelains, Turkish and Persian rugs, and one of the largest Rodin (sculpture) exhibits in the world. They have some of the most important and influential modern, impressionist and post-impressionist art pieces of any museum. You are sure to get a beautiful and inspiring view of the world here.

  1. National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

This is another one of the largest art collections in the United States. They even have the only da Vinci piece on display in the Americas. They also have a huge renaissance collection, Spanish art, impressionists, and Dutch masters. The East Wing is dedicated to their vast collection of modern art. They have a total of over 115,000 pieces on display. Whether you are looking for painting, photographs, decorative objects, sculptures, or drawings, you will have a ton to look at.  

  1. The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California

This museum is a piece of modern art in and of itself. Richard Meier designed the new complex. It was built from gleaming white travertine marble. It has five pavilions all connected to the courtyard. Each building is filled with art from a specific time period. It is so interesting to see how different areas of the world created art during the same years.

I hope visiting these museums will enhance your life like it has mine. Art is something that has been around forever, and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Everyone can benefit from looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. You will learn more about yourself, and the people around you. Use this link to find a great museum near you:

Proper Head Gear When Welding and Why It’s Important

Wearing the proper head gear when welding is very important. If you don’t have good headgear, you could permanently damage your eyesight and skin. You need to be properly protected no matter what size project you are working on. My old welding helmet just broke. If I were to use it I could end up with severe burns and maybe even damage my vision.

I know that spending more money will make me the most comfortable. I make my money by creating metal sculptures for my clients. If I can’t do that continuously, I may not pay my bills! I also need a helmet that can change tasks as quickly as I do. I want to upgrade to an auto darkening model. I spend a lot of time welding and often have a sore neck from flipping my mask up and down to look at my work. With an auto-darkening welding helmet I will be able to work with continuous protection.

What Happens When You Don’t Wear Proper Head Gear

While you can damage your skin, there is a bigger worry to think about– your eyes. One-quarter of all welding injuries are to the eyes. You may see the stars on American Chopper TIG welding some tacks without proper eye protection, but that doesn’t mean you should try it at home.

Most people don’t realize that the light from the arc isn’t the only danger. Welding also produce radiation, throw slag and other particles, and burns fumes and chemicals. All of these can be disastrous if you aren’t wearing both goggles and a welding helmet. A welding helmet alone can’t stop chemical fumes and radiation from hitting your face. They may irritate the skin, which won’t leave you out of work. However, if your eyes become irritated or damaged, you could be out of work for at least seven days. For more safety information visit,   

How to Choose A Welding Helmet

A welding helmet is made out of molded plastic with a sheet of treated glass secured over the face. This glass has ultraviolet, or UV, and infrared, or IR, coatings. Each welding helmet also has a tint with a specific number, unless it is a auto-darkening lens. The shade you choose should be based on the task you complete. Some people have multiple helmets or interchangeable glass to complete different tasks.

Most people can get away with a fixed shade helmet if they use the same material and process every time they work. I am often asked to use different metals with varied thickness. That means a variable shade will be my best option. However, I need to ensure to buy one with a wide shade range. A good auto-darkening lens will react in a fraction of a millisecond. Anything slower that around 5/10 of a millisecond will leave you unprotected. Here are a few of my options! Visit this hyperlink for more great helmet choices.

Jackson Safety W70 BH3

Jackson is one of the top-rated manufacturers of welding safety equipment. On top of that, It is very light. It only weighs about 2 pounds. It is rated at the top mainly because of it’s clear opticals. Some of my work can be very complicated, so it’s very important for me to see clearly. I don’t want to attach the wrong pieces together! I love the large viewing area. It is also one of the most adjustable and comfortable welding helmets money can buy right now.  


  • Extremely comfortable and light at just two pounds.
  • Large, clear viewing area.
  • Aerodynamic shape moves radiation and chemicals away from your face.
  • It comes with a five year warranty.
  • Switching speed of .15 microseconds.
  • Solar powered so you don’t have to worry about flash if your battery dies.


  • Doesn’t come with any add-ons.
  • It has a bigger price tag than most competing helmets.
  • There is no grind or torch mode.
  • Only has two arc sensors.

Lincoln Electric Viking 3350 Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

Lincoln is known for their high-quality welding helmets. This helmet is no different. This helmet has an impressive suspension system that makes it more comfortable than most other helmets. It also has a wide view lens, which I prefer. What’s great about this helmet is that it can switch between all sorts of welding tasks and styles.


  • The Suspension system and adjustable straps.
  • Low-battery alert will tell you to change the battery.  
  • It comes with a backpack, headband, and extra lenses.
  • Great large view lens. People with bifocals will find it perfect.
  • It has four sensors.
  • It includes a three-year warranty.


  • It can be hard to adjust. However, you only have to do it once.
  • Metallic parts need extra care. Sensors also need to be frequently cleaned.
  • The large lens adds some unwanted weight.
  • Never use solvents to clean it.

I chose to go with the Lincoln Electric Viking. It has the most versatility and largest lens. I can switch between tasks with little trouble. I can see very clearly and don’t have to flip the helmet up to see. I also loved the price. It won’t be the end of the world if I end up needing to replace it once the warranty is up. For more great tips and information, follow

Setting Up Your Shop

Creating beautiful metal art begins with setting up your shop. There are few resources for metal workers looking to start making gorgeous art in their own home. I want to help you feel empowered with everything you need to get started. Follow the instructions below to get everything you need for your metal working shop.

Safety First

Remember, some of these materials can hurt you. Be very careful and wear the correct safety equipment for the specific tasks. Safety equipment is the first thing you should get. You should always be wearing, at the very least, safety glasses. When you are welding, you will need welding gloves, welding helmets, goggles, and have all of your skin covered. Make sure your safety goggles seal to your face. They keep flying objects and dangerous gasses from coming in contact with your eyes. Most welding accidents are eye-related. They can be avoided by wearing your goggles and mask!

Tools of the Trade

  • Marking Tools: Pencils don’t make thin enough lines to help you make the precise cuts mane metal artists go for. Instead, you should use a scribe or razor blade. The tip needs to be very sharp. You may need to break off a new point in your razor blades. Scribes need to be replaced when the tip becomes dull. Always remember to close your razor knife when you finish using it. 
  • Rulers: Rulers will help you complete some measurements and marks. I like to keep them around just in case. I usually do most of my measurements with dial calipers, because they give a more accurate measurement. That helps me keep my work precise.
  • Dial Calipers: Dial Calipers come in common sizes between 4 and 12 inches. They give you the most accurate measurement between points on your work. I use my 6 inch caliper most often. Be careful to reset cheaper calipers to 0 often. Close the caliper and turn the dial until it reaches zero. Then, retake your measurement. If you don’t reset the caliper after every few measurements you can throw off your whole project.
  • Machinist’s Square: These hardened steel squares are more accurate than traditional woodworking squares. Because they are so precise, they can also break easily. If you drop your square, you should check to make sure you don’t need to replace it.
  • Center Punch: You need to have a punch with a perfectly ground tip. The end need to be very round so you get the right mark. One with an imperfect tip will cause the punch to lean in where there is more metal on the tip.
  • Optical Center Punch: This tool is useful for finding the exact spot where two scribed lines intersect. You use the magnifier on a metallic base. Use the crosshairs of the magnifier to align the base with your mark. Then, just hit the punch to mark your project.
  • Drill and Drill Press: A handheld drill can get the job done, but in many cases a drill press will be the better option. It can be difficult to drill on the center line perfectly with a handheld drill. You can find a new one for under $100! These tools will help you drill near perfect holes.
  • Drill Press Vice: Sometimes you will need to use the vice to keep project pieces sturdy while you drill them. There are many vices to choose from. Cheaper vices will need to be completely repositioned between every different use. Some vice grips are more adjustable, or even have an auto-centering feature. Choose the vice that best suits the jobs you will use it for most commonly.
  • Drill Bits: A drill won’t work at all without the proper drill bits! There are tons of bit options to choose from. I like to use split point drill bits. They have a sharper point that cuts more quickly and accurately. However, standard drill bits can make deeper holes. You can also sharpen them for a longer lifespan.
  • Thread Cutting Taps: Sometimes you will want to turn a hole you drilled into a joint where you will insert a screw. Thread cutting taps will do that for you! Gun taps are usually the easiest to work with, and hardest to break.
  • Saws: You will need a saw to cut all of your stock. Miter saws with bi-metal blades are a great option for most metal working projects. 
  • Grinders: Keep a good stock of 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. No matter what finish you are going for you will need to use a sander to get there.
  • Vacuum Cleaner: A good wet/dry shop vac to keep your workspace clean. A clean workspace is a safe one!