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Getty Center in Los Angeles

Museums double as great places to shop. Now, the coolest of cultural hot spots aims to educate visitors with programming that goes beyond the exhibition calendar. Learn — or strengthen — a new skill this season.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles and its sibling Getty villa in Pacific Palisades offer a variety of studio activities, such as watercolor painting classes and culinary workshops, themed to the museum’s permanent collections of Greek and Roman artifacts. Those antiquities are the basis for a free series on drawing, held in the garden at the villa. getty.edu
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Museum of Contemporary Art Miami

The boutique Museum of Printing History in Houston surveys the printed word from clay tablets to typewriters. Its robust curriculum includes upcoming courses on silk-screening T-shirts ($150) and letterpress-printed business cards ($105), with future classes in lithography, hand papermaking, and bookbinding in 2012. printingmuseum.org

After Art Basel Miami Beach pulls out of town in December, the Museum of Contemporary Art resumes its regularly scheduled studio art classes ($15), including painting in the manner of Jean-Michel Basquiat, mixed-media compositions a la Julie Mehretu, collages as inspired by Mickalene Thomas, and recreating Yoko Ono’s “Box of Smile.” mocanomi.org

Using boards, maps, and models, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans holds weekend war games throughout the year. The games often re-create historic battles, culminating in the International Conference on World War II (from $299 for an all-access pass to panel discussions and lectures). nationalww2museum.org
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Museum of Fine Arts Boston
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Home to a recently renovated I.M. Pei-designed contemporary wing, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston amplifies its appeal with a series of hands-on studio art classes, from one-day workshops in ring-making, architectural drawing, and photo journals to four-day glassblowing sessions and two-day classes to learn stained glass. mfa.org