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Berkshire Museum Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield, MA
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Exhibition: BerkshireNow: Michael Boroniec
9/4/15 - 11/22/15 (more information)
Michael Boroniec
Skull
clay
Highlawn
Giant Redwood Trees of California, c. 1874
Permanent Collection:
Hudson River Valley School
Albert Bierstadt
Giant Redwood Trees of California, c. 1874
oil on canvas
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street (Route 7)
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413.443.7171
Map

Email: info@berkshiremuseum.org


berkshiremuseum.org

Exhibition Information page 2

Hours
Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Closed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day

Admission
$13 adult; $6 child (under 18)
Museum members & children 3 and under get in for free
Special Discounts and Rates available. For more information on the discount programs, call 413.443.7171 or email info@berkshiremuseum.org.

*Blue Star Museums Program, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,800 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Little Cinema
$7.50, $5 members

Mission
Bringing people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among art, history, and natural science.

History
In 1903, Berkshire Museum founder Zenas Crane, inspired by such institutions as the American Museum for Natural Science, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, decided to blend the best attributes of these establishments in a new museum for the people of Western Massachusetts. Thanks in large part to Crane’s efforts, the broad and varied collections of Berkshire Museum include objects from virtually every continent, from important fine art and sculpture to natural science specimens and ancient artifacts.

As the third-generation owner of Crane & Company, a paper manufacturer that was (and continues to be) the official supplier of paper to the U.S. Treasury, Crane invested his wealth in his community. He actively sought out art and artifacts for Berkshire Museum, and encouraged the development of collections that would bring home to the Berkshires a wide cross-section of the world’s wonders. Berkshire Museum became a “window on the world.”

Crane purchased many of Berkshire Museum’s first acquisitions, including a sizable group of paintings from the revered Hudson River School. Significant works by Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church figure prominently in the collection.

The diverse collections also boast artifacts of ancient history and natural science: fossil collections, a 143-pound meteorite, an Egyptian mummy, shards of Babylonian cuneiform tablets, samplings of early Mediterranean jewelry, and representations of Berkshire ecosystems including local mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, plants, and minerals.

Berkshire Museum is the repository for objects associated with the lives of well-known figures in American history. The first successful expedition to the North Pole by Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson in 1908 and 1909 was supported by Crane, and Henson’s whole-body fur suit, the sledge that made the trip, and other equipment from the venture found a home at Berkshire Museum. The writing desk of Nathanial Hawthorne and the musket believed to have belonged to Israel Bissell (a cohort of Paul Revere who made a midnight ride to Philadelphia to warn that “The British are coming!”) also are part of the extensive permanent collection.

Berkshire Museum has exhibited works by some of the most accomplished artists from the United States and abroad: Gilbert Stuart, Rembrandt Peale, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Paul Cézanne, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and John Singer Sargent. In the 1930s, the Berkshire Museum was the first to commission two site-specific mobiles (then a unique form of art) from Alexander Calder, who became one of the most significant artists in the 20th century. The mobiles can be seen in the theater, on either side of the proscenium. In the 1950s, the Berkshire Museum was the first to display the work of Norman Rockwell as well as pieces by artists that challenged convention, such as Andy Warhol, Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, and Nancy Graves.

Berkshire Museum continues to add to the collections through purchase and gift. In the 21st-century, acquisitions have focused on artists with national and international reputations who have strong connections to the Berkshires: Gregory Crewdson, Peter Garfield, Helen Febbo, Morgan Bulkeley, Stephen Hannock, and others.

Well-known institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mystic Seaport, the Smithsonian Institution, the Guggenheim, and the Tate Gallery have all borrowed objects from Berkshire Museum’s fine collections. Original exhibitions created and curated by Berkshire Museum staff, incorporating items from the collections, travel to other museums. Armed and Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal was on view at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee through March 11, 2012.

In 2008, Berkshire Museum completed Phase II of an extensive renovation which included the replacement of the copper roof, the new 3,000-square-foot Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, the restoration of the fireplace and Stirling Calder fountain in the art deco Crane Room, and the installation of a heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system.

Collections
An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 objects comprise the Berkshire Museum’s permanent collection. Designed to bring knowledge of the arts, history, and natural science to a rural population, most of the collection was purchased by Zenas Crane, the founder of the Museum, in the early 1900s. As we develop the website, we will continue to add more behind-the-scenes offerings of our collections pieces.

We are very much “under construction” at the moment, but are working to present a wide range of topics that combine natural science, art, and history in a manner that encourages curiosity, creativity, and new ways of looking at the world around us.


Exhibitions

Powered Narratives: Photographer John Stanmeyer
BerkshireNow: Michael Boroniec
September 4 - November 22, 2015
(more information)

Hudson River School
Ongoing
(more information)

Permanent exhibitions
Ongoing
(more information)

Events

Exhibition Information page 2
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