First things first: the Mint has nothing to do with the U.S. Mint or the process of creating money—though it's obvious that some serious coin went into acquiring this superb collection. Along with a huge number of paintings (from such names as John Singer Sargent and Gilbert Stuart to such up-and-coming stars as Kehinde Wiley and Ken Apteka), many of the works are considered "craft and design" and are done in wood, glass, and porcelain. You'll see a desk and chair set that sprout wooden bristles like a porcupine, Cindy Sherman's take on French tea sets (with her face on the porcelain saucers and teapot, of course), and exquisite works in glass. It's those last items that make the museum rightly famous, and as visitors gaze upon objects that can be at once luminous, multi-faceted (quite literally), and transparent, they begin to rethink the bounds of traditional sculpture. Some of the biggest names in Czech glasswork are represented, and so is world-famous artist Dale Chihuly.

Visitors should know there are actually two Mints. The original, which is in a converted mansion and contains the collection's older works (including a famous portrait of Queen Charlotte, namesake of the city); and Uptown’s dazzling 2010 addition, which contains the more modern works. If you have to choose just one, go to the latter because it houses the most challenging pieces and the collection's famed glass sculptures.