a few off the beaten path spots that we visited on the last tour that i’d highly recommend:
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum - amazing archive of cartoons dating back to the birth of comics in newspapers at Ohio State in Columbus, OH. found this one at random after leaving a cindy sherman show at the university gallery, and it was just fantastic. so many originals, from winsor mccay to bill watterson, curated beautifully. well worth the trip!
KMAC Museum - great arts & crafts space in Louisville, KY, again beautifully curated. the current main show there was quietly astounding, an exploration of the concept of an eclipse through contemporary art.
Heard Museum - in Phoenix, AZ, and focuses on american indian artwork. we went for a kahlo/rivera exhibit but stayed for their gorgeous collection of southwest native american work. as a bonus we were there in time to see a demonstration of hoop dancing by the current world champion. so cool.