December 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm (Art, Berkshire Museum, Hilltown Families, Museum)
Tags: Art Exhibit, Norman Rockwell Museum, Ruth Sanderson
Norman Rockwell Museum Presents “Dancing Princesses: The Picture Book Art of Ruth Sanderson”
Saturday, December 7, 2013 – Sunday, March 9, 2014
One of the special holiday displays in the Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Distinguished Illustrator Series” this winter will feature over 60 works by noted picture book illustrator Ruth Sanderson. Described as “beautiful” and “jewel-like,” by NRM director, Laurie Norton Moffatt, the works on display include original paintings and drawings by Sanderson, in addition to costumes that the artist commissioned to correspond with her illustrations. The subjects of these works hail from a selection of Sanderson’s beloved books – some classic tales re-told, some original tales, and each one embellished with enchanting imagery – including The Twelve Dancing Princesses; The Sleeping Beauty; Cinderella; The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring; and several others…
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November 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm (Contest, Hilltown Families, MASS MoCA, Suggested Activity, Video)
Tags: Berkshires, Western Massachuestts
Win a family 4-pack of free tickets & museum passes to see…
A Family Concert at MASS MoCA
Saturday, November 23rd
Win a family 4-pack of free tickets & museum passes to see Grammy-nominate Milkshake in concert at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, on Saturday, November 23rd at 11:30am. Deadline to enter to win: Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 at 11:59pm (EST).
Hilltown Families and MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) have partnered up to offer a family 4-pack of free tickets and museum passes to one very lucky family to see the Grammy-nominated band, Milkshake, live at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on Saturday, November 23rd at 11:30am! Find out how you can enter to win below:
Milkshake began in 2002 as a musical experiment on the part of vocalist Lisa Mathews and guitarist Mikel Gehl , longtime bandmates from Baltimore’s indie rock group Love Riot, who vowed to “grow” their music right along with their own young children. Since then, Milkshake and the band’s legion of fans have been living an exciting, real life, growing up adventure, moving from early childhood through the early elementary years, as the group toured the country and produced several multi-award-winning CDs, a DVD, and a multitude of music videos seen all over the kid-friendly networks. Along the way, as the kids grew and the music grew with them, Milkshake grew from a duo to a six-piece band.
Known for their pop-rock style that fairly crackles with energy, Milkshake indeed has a following of all ages…
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November 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Hampden County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Springfield Museum)
Tags: Antique Toys, Cast-iron toys, Springfield Museums
Peek Inside Santa’s Sack at the Springfield Museums
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 through Sunday, January 5, 2014
For a fun challenge at the exhibition, discuss with your children the production methods used for cast-iron toys, and see if you can spot the hammered steel pins connecting the left and right halves of the toys! This can serve as both a history lesson and a lesson in engineering and fabrication.
The Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts at the Springfield Museums ushers in the holiday season with a showcase of vintage cast iron toys. The exhibition, titled “A Peek Inside Santa’s Sack,” features rare cast iron collectibles such as fire trucks, horse-drawn carriages and emergency vehicles, airplanes, toy trains and miniature wood and coal stoves – predecessors to the classic HESS trucks of the past fifty years – and tells the story of the three most popular toy-makers of the period.
Cast-iron toys were common between the 1870s and the 1940s because the molds in which they were made could be reused thousands of times, making the mass production of these metal toys an efficient and profitable endeavor…
November 5, 2013 at 8:00 am (Art, Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, History, Museum, Suggested Activity, Western MA Events, Western Massachusetts Events)
Tags: History, Illustrator, Norman Rockwell, Norman Rockwell Museum, Picture Books, Wendell Minor
Exhibition Celebrates 25 Years of Work by Historical Picture Book Illustrator Wendell Minor
Saturday, November 9, 2013 – Monday, May 26, 2014
Image credit: Wendell Minor, “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home,” 2008. Cover illustration for “Abraham Lincoln Comes Home” by Robert Burleigh, Henry Holt and Co. Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©Wendell Minor. All rights reserved.
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, invites families to “Wendell Minor’s America,” a special exhibition featuring more than 150 original artworks, artifacts, and references from illustrator Wendell Minor’s distinguished portfolio.
The award-winning illustrator drew his way through childhood in Aurora, Illinois, inspired by the richly illustrated magazines that were so much a part of American life during the mid-twentieth century. The exhibition celebrates his many cover illustrations and his 25th anniversary illustrating children’s books, each of which has been inspired by Minor’s love of history, art, science, and the natural world…
September 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm (Community Based Education, Hampshire County, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Historic Deerfield, Museums, Pioneer Valley, The Beneski Museum of Natural History, The Emily Dickinson Museum, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, The Hampshire College Art Gallery, The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, The Smith College Museum of Art, The Yiddish Book Center, University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst., western massachusetts
Museums10: Fall Exhibits & Displays
Museum10 Fall Highlights
Museums10 has release a new seasonal brochure to highlight the fall and winter displays and exhibitions at ten cultural, historical, and educational institutions throughout the Pioneer Valley (collectively known as Museums10). The brochure is a handy resource for both locals and visitors: it provides relevant contact and admissions information for each institution, making trip-planning significantly easier, and helps to publicize, and connect audiences with, a variety of displays and exhibitions that span a wide range of interests, ages, and expertise. This is outreach at its best: the brochure benefits audiences as well as other organizations with similar goals and similar content!
The member museums and galleries in Museums10 are: The Beneski Museum of Natural History; The Emily Dickinson Museum; The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; The Hampshire College Art Gallery; Historic Deerfield; The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; The Yiddish Book Center; The Smith College Museum of Art; and the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst.
The following is a partial list of each institution’s current and upcoming exhibitions and (if applicable) additional learning opportunities and events…
September 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm (Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Museum Day, Smithsonian Museum Day
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day in Western MA
Saturday, September 28th, 2013
In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums, who offer free admission everyday, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket… for free!
Western Massachusetts is home to a huge number of museums, each one filled with a myriad of unique learning opportunities. Families can visit the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield to learn about the role that manufacturing played in the development of the Pioneer Valley, or spend a day perusing classic works of 20th century American art at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Children’s book enthusiasts of all sizes love the exhibits at Amherst’s Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and a visit to Chesterwood in Stockbridge or Ashley House in Sheffield can reveal much about the lifestyle lived by some notable former Berkshires residents.
Thanks to Smithsonian Magazine, all of these museums and many, many more can be visited free of charge on Museum Day Live! on Saturday, September 28th. Tickets for the special day are available on the publication’s website, and each ticket grants admission for one person plus a guest. Only one ticket may be printed per household, and each may only be used at one participating location – but nevertheless, Museum Day Live! presents a great opportunity for families to explore local galleries, historic homes, museum exhibits, and historical societies that they’ve yet to visit.
Kids of all ages can satisfy their curiosity about nearly any subject while utilizing their free ticket. Institutions participating in Museum Day Live! can help families learn about everything from the first settlers in Deerfield and the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir to the Yiddish language and the works of poet Emily Dickinson. Families can even use the event as a way to target specific topics or interests that their children have. Try matching your visit to the topics that your children are studying in school this fall, or themes that you’re learning about together at home. Entering an exhibit with learning goals in mind can help kids to focus on a common theme while taking in lots of information. If you choose a topic beforehand, try writing down all the knowledge that your family has about the subject on your way to the museum, and then generate some questions that you have. Work on answering these questions as you learn throughout your visit, then discuss what you learned on the way back. You might be surprised what you’ll find out!
A full list of participating museums is available at www.smithsonianmag.com – check ahead of time to plan your visit!
August 6, 2013 at 9:00 am (Hampshire County, Museum, Suggested Activity, Wendy Somes)
Tags: Amherst College, Community Based Education, Informal Learning, Mead Art Museum, western massachusetts
Dig into Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College This Summer
Informal learning environments like libraries and museums are important in preparing children for success in school and life. Why? Young brains are hardwired to learn informally!
Art museums can seem daunting for families with children—untouchable artworks, quiet galleries, and security guards at every turn. But don’t rule them out, because art museums are the perfect destination for children this summer.
The Mead Art Museum now provides free activity totes for families to borrow while at the museum. A new theme will roll out every six months. The Museum’s debut theme, available now, is Dig into Art. Kids can dress up like Indiana Jones, with explorer vest and pith helmet, as they hunt for artifacts in the museum. Families can curl up on one of the Mead’s cozy armchairs and read a picture book of Greek mythology. Budding archaeologists will each receive a take-home gallery notebook to record their discoveries, inspired by real-life scientific field journals.
Dig into Art complements the Massachusetts Libraries summer reading program Dig into Reading. Libraries and museums are natural partners for helping kids and families prevent “summer slide”—the loss of school skills over the break…
The Institute for Library and Museum Services—a federal organization—recently published a report on how important libraries and museums are in preparing children for success in school and life. Why? Young brains are hardwired to learn informally. The more opportunities young children have to learn in an informal, non-school setting, the more successful they will be in school…
July 23, 2013 at 8:00 am (Hampden County, Museum)
Tags: Crafts, upcycle, western massachusetts, Wistariahurst Museum
Wistariahurst Museum Hosts Kids’ Crafts
Join Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke in the upcycling craze with kids’ craft events this month as part of a series of Trash-to-Treasure workshops! First, on Wednesday, July 24th at 11am kids will construct their own kaleidoscope from materials found in everyone’s own home at “Kaleidoscopes for Kids.” “Trash” you can bring to upcycle into this treasure: Pringles can or paper towel tube.
Return on Wednesday, July 31st at 11am for “Bottle Cap Crafts: Jewelry, Magnets and More” where you can fashion a neat necklace, a spectacular keychain, or a marvelous magnet. “Trash” you can bring to upcycle into this treasure: found objects, broken jewelry, buttons and more! All other supplies will be provided and reservations are suggested.
Can’t make it to the Museum? Both projects are fun to do at home. Learn how to make bottle cap necklaces (or magnets & keychains) using expoxy stickers in this DIY video:
July 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm (Art, Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum)
Tags: African American Art, Berkshires, History, Williams College Museum of Art
Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980
Williams College Museum of Art
Opening Day: Saturday, July 20th at 2pm
By the early 1960s the West Coast became highly visible among the
international arts community. African American artists such as Betye Saar made some of their earliest important works at this time. [Image credit: Betye Saar. Black Girl’s Window, 1969.]
Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 opens at the Williams College Museum of Art this Saturday, July 20th and will run through December 1, 2013. The exhibition chronicles the vital legacy of the African American arts community in Los Angeles, examining a pioneering group of black artists whose work and connections with other artists of varied ethnic backgrounds helped shape the creative output of Southern California.
Visiting this exhibition will give visitors first-hand exposure to a wide variety of works done by African-American artists who were active during this twenty year time period. Visitors will have a chance to consider how the art being made – and social perspectives about art – in this period underwent rapid change, as artists moved from traditional methods like painting and drawing to techniques like conceptual and performance art. The exhibition illustrates not only a major shift in American art but in American public thought – perfect for students of American history, civil rights movement, pop culture, and, of course, art.
On the opening day of the exhibition, join Kellie Jones at 2pm, exhibition curator and associate professor in Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, for a first look at the show. Hear about the research and curatorial choices that made this exhibition possible, and learn more about the forms of art on display – through which many artists of the era critiqued the social, political, and economic state of the country…
July 3, 2013 at 9:00 am (Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Video)
Tags: fairy tale, Fairy Tales, Fairytales, Norman Rockwell Museum, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney
Norman Rockwell Museum Presents “Altered Realities and the Land of Make-Believe” Summer Lecture and Performance Series
In conjunction with its new exhibition, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic,” Norman Rockwell Museum presents, “Altered Realities and the Land of Make Believe,” a lecture and performance series to be held Thursday evenings in July and August, from 5:30 to 7pm. Explore the impact of popular mythology and fairy tales on the way we view ourselves and our world, with literary scholars and folklorists, authors, artists and performers. The events are free with Museum admission unless otherwise stated.
Fairy tales are the focus of the Norman Rockwell Museum’s special exhibit this summer. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creations of a Classic,” features over 200 pieces, including conceptual drawings, character studies, storyboards, and animation drawings from the classic 1937 Walt Disney film. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, the film uses early animation techniques and the work of over 1000 artists and production staff in order to bring the story to life. The Museum’s exhibit offers families a chance to learn about the process of creating an animated film in the days before computer animation. The exhibit features pieces from every step of the process, allowing visitors to see the changes and improvements made along the way.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Norman Rockwell Museum is also offering a summer event series. Titled, “Altered Realities and the Land of Make-Believe,” the lecture and performance series features everything from acapella to a discussion on youth and media. The wide variety of events is designed to explore the impact of popular fairy tales on the way in which we view the world within our modern culture. Featuring literary scholars, folklorists, authors, artists, and performers, the series offers events for adults and children alike.
Families can pair a visit to the exhibit with a screening of the 1916 silent film version of Snow White based on the 1912 Broadway play, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was adapted from the Grimm brothers 1812 fairy tale…
June 19, 2013 at 9:00 am (Franklin County, History, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: History, Kemp-McCarthy Museum, Museum, town of rowe, western massachusetts
Kemp-McCarthy Museum: Historic Museum in the Hilltown Highlandss
Families can learn all about the history of life in the Hilltowns at the Kemp-McCarthy Museum, the town of Rowe’s fantastic resource for learning about local history! The Museum with be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Sunday, June 30th from 2-4pm!
A typical weeknight in a modern day Hilltown household might include driving to sports practice, using the internet to complete homework assignments, cooking dinner together on an electric stove in a well-lit kitchen, and searching for constellations in the night sky using a cell phone app. Nothing unusual – just some typical childhood activities and family downtime in a modern day society…
Rewind a full century. What would this typical weeknight have looked like during the early 20th century? Or what about fifty years earlier than that, even? Families in the Hilltowns during generations past similarly spent their evenings together at home, but their time was filled with very different activities. Instead of electricity- and technology-dependent pastimes, they played musical instruments together, did laborious household chores, and relied on woodstoves in order to do their cooking…
June 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Hampshire County, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Archaeology, Collaborations, Community Based Education, Literacy, Pioneer Valley, Reading Program, summer reading program, western massachusetts
Literacy Meets Archaeology in Amherst This Summer!
On Saturday, June 22, from 11am-3pm, Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum and Beneski Museum of Natural History will host a day of free, drop-in, kid-friendly activities. Activities include scavenger hunts and archaeology-themed art projects that are thematically linked to the Jones Library summer reading program.
Do your kids totally dig archaeology? Here’s your chance to tie their interest in dinosaurs, fossils and artifacts into reading this summer…
The Jones Library in Amherst along with its branches will be collaborating with two local museums in a free family event, Dig It! A Festival of Art, Books, and Fossils. Dig It! will be held at both the Beneski Museum of Natural History and the Mead Art Museum to kick off the library’s Dig Into Reading summer reading program on Saturday, June 22nd from 11am-3pm! To accompany the Dig Into Reading summer theme, these two Hampshire County museums, along with the Jones Library, have designed a collaborative event that will focus on archaeology and literacy!
At the Beneski Museum, families will learn how archaeologists find, uncover, and preserve bones and fossils. Kids can get up close and personal with dino skeletons and items that represent Pioneer Valley in eras past. Meanwhile, the Mead Art Museum will focus on items related to human history and culture, such as pottery and tools, offering families the opportunity to learn about the inferences that archaeologists are able to make about human history based on the artifacts that they uncover.
May 29, 2013 at 9:00 am (Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Berkshire County, Berkshire Family Fun, Museums, The Berkshires, The Clark, Tourism, western massachusetts
Summer Highlights at The Clark
American art takes center stage this summer at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, crowning a summer schedule that provides an exceptionally lively program of events and activities.
Headlining the season are two special exhibitions opening June 9: Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History and George Inness: Gifts from Frank and Katherine Martucci. Both exhibitions are open until September 8. This summer also marks an important milestone for the Clark as it celebrates the fifth anniversary of Stone Hill Center on July 27.
Also on view through September 8 is the Kidspace exhibition Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My! at Stone Hill Center. This interactive, family-friendly exhibition is designed to spark questions of curiosity and to uncover the answers.
Special events, musical offerings, family fun, performances, and films round out the summer. Check out what The Clark has in store this upcoming season…
April 10, 2013 at 10:00 am (Franklin County, Historic Deerfield, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Community Based Education, History, Patriot's Day, Pioneer Valley, Revolutionary Muster and Parade, Revolutionary War
Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
Go back in time and learn all about the Revolutionary War at Historic Deerfield this weekend! The museum’s Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade offers a chance to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of 18th century New England, just as the Revolutionary War was beginning. Families will find numerous ways to learn and experience history for themselves, and the event is filled with demonstrations and reenactments that will bring history to life!
The focus for this year’s muster is “The Shot Heard Round the World,” and the events in Concord and Lexington that officially began the country’s fight for freedom from England. Historical re-enactors will fill the grounds at Historic Deerfield with encampments of soldiers – both American and British – and will perform traditional fife and drum music and act out a small skirmish-style attack. Families can learn about the traditional dress of a revolutionary soldier, as well as the uniforms, weapons, and even behavior required of a member of the early American army.
Other educational opportunities include demonstrations of open hearth cooking and powder horn carving, house tours, a self-guided Revolution Walk tour, Colonial crafts, and more. Children can learn about the Revolutionary War through immersion – gaining an understanding of the events that lead to the war and experiencing the culture and traditions of those living during and participating in the war. They will learn about life as a soldier, as well as life as a villager contributing to the war effort. Older students can pair their pre-existing knowledge of the Revolutionary War with studies of 18th century life by learning more about the customs of early Americans.
The event takes place on Saturday, April 13th, 2013 from 10am-4pm, rain or shine – just as in Revolutionary times! Historic Deerfield is located on Old Main Street in Deerfield. Admission to the event is $12 for adults, and $5 for children ages 6-17. For more information, visit www.historic-deerfield.org/ or call 413-775-7214.
February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am (Hampden County, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Holyoke, Non-Commercial, Valentine's Day, Victorian Valentines, western massachusetts, Wistariahurst Museum
Victorian Valentines Workshop
Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
Join museum staff for an afternoon of crafting valentines for friends, family and sweethearts on Sunday, February 10th. Antique valentines, bygone love poems and enchanting phrases will be on display for inspiration.
On Sunday, February 10 from 1-3pm, come to Wistariahurst Museum for this fun and creative program that will inspire the artist in everyone! In 1847, the year she graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts received her first Valentine’s Day card. She was so pleased with this English novelty that she tried making some valentines of her own. With the help of her brother, a salesman who carried her cards with him along with his other samples, she received $5,000 worth of orders her first year in business!
Esther was able to handle the large volume of orders by employing friends and using “assembly-line” techniques for the production of her cards. Her cards were covered with an array of linen lace, colored paper, hand-painted birds and flowers and hand-inscribed, rhymed messages.
Esther found herself a true businesswoman by the end of 1849. She continued to make valentines for two decades. She eventually would profit $50,000 -$100,000 annually from the sale of her cards. Esther Howland’s business success made her one of America’s first “modern woman.”
Channel your inner Esther by creating your own beautiful, unique card for special friends, family and sweethearts. Antique valentines, bygone love poems and enchanting phrases will be on display for inspiration. Reservations for the workshop are suggested. $5 per person.
Victorian Era Days
Holyoke: From Monday, February 18 to Thursday, February 21 from 11am – 12pm, step out of the winter doldrums and back in time at Wistariahurst Museum! The museum is offering daily craft workshops for interested Girl Scouts and other young women. Victorian Era days is a program designed to educate young women on pastimes of yore. $5 per person per activity. Reserve online at www.wistariahurst.org
Monday, February 18, 11am-12pm: Decorated Diaries
Each member of the Skinner family kept countless journals, diaries and scrapbooks. Help keep the tradition alive by binding and decorating your own diary and learning a bit more about what was in the heads of the Skinner family.
Tuesday, February 19, 11am-12pm: Build a Bookmark
Before Kindles & Nooks there existed books! Often acting as mini-scrapbooks, bookmarks were more than just a placeholder. Join us for story-time and the opportunity to make your own bookmark keepsake.
Wednesday, February 20, 11am-12pm: Historic Hats & Hatboxes
First, take a peek at some of the antique hats Wistariahurst has gathered over time in its archives. Then, after being inspired by such ornate headwear, decorate your own miniature hatbox to take home with you!
Thursday, February 19, 11am-12pm: Fancy Fans
Become bilingual in the language of the fan with an afternoon at Wistariahurst! Scouts can see some examples of antique fans and then have the chance to decorate their own. Ending the hour of fun is a lesson on the art of communicating with your fan.
Wistariahurst Museum is located at 238 Cabot Street in Holyoke. For more information, please call 413-322-5660 or go online at www.wistariahurst.org.
-Submitted by Marjorie Latham [Photo credit: (ccl) SLV]
December 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm (Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum)
Tags: Art, arts, Berkshire County, clark art institute, francine clark art institute, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
Backstories: The Other Side of Art on View at
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
December 22nd-April 21st in Williamstown
Works of art can lead a double life, with one side revealed to the public and the other hidden from view. In the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Backstories: The Other Side of Art, these often hidden sides will come to light as a selection of works tell their little-known “backstories,” revealing when and how they were made, how they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have undergone.
Museums and galleries use more than just the pieces displayed in the exhibits they show to identify them – the stories behind paintings, sculptures, and other creative works are often much richer than they seem at first glance. Information like signatures, dates, and other notes can often be found on the back of paintings, while busts and vases often have information carved into their bases. Artists also often used the reverse sides of their works to do sketches or make notes about their piece. These markings and small bits of information can help viewers learn more about things like the historical context in which a piece was created, the previous homes and/or owners of the piece, and the materials used by the artist.
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a special new exhibit, Backstories: The Other Side of Art, focused on these hidden stories! On view between December 22nd, 2012 and April 21st, 2013, the exhibit is filled with works displayed non-traditionally so that viewers can inspect both sides of the story – literally! Visitors can inspect the back sides of paintings, see interesting double-sided portraits, view preliminary sketches on the back of beautiful drawings, and examine all 360 degrees of a silver milk jug engraved with the names of all of its owners (including Benjamin Franklin!).
Exploring this exhibit with your family or students (or on your own!) can provide a powerful learning experience – youth of all ages can learn about the importance of looking at art within its historical context, offering exposure to basic skills in identifying art techniques, historical relationships, and time periods. It can get them thinking about the backstory of other pieces of art too … maybe even spark an interest in researching the history behind other great works of art!
If your children or students have read and enjoyed E.L. Konigsburg’s book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, they love this real-life explorations of the backstories of art! This title would be great to pair with a visit to Backstories.
For more information visit www.clarkart.edu or call the Clark Institute at 413-458-2303. The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. Admission to the exhibit is included with regular museum admission ($).
December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm (Hampshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Amherst, Charlotte's Web, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts, Garth Williams, Illustrations, Museum Exhibit, western massachusetts
Some Book! Some Art!:
Selected Drawings by Garth Williams
for Charlotte’s Web on View at the
Eric Carle Museum in Amherst
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to offer the rare opportunity for guests to see selections from the 20th-century classic, Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams. Some Book! Some Art!: Selected Drawings by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web, on exhibit from December 11, 2012 until April 22, 2013, will celebrate Williams’s 100th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the book.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art hosts their newest exhibit, Some Book! Some Art! – a rare opportunity to view a selection of original illustrations by Garth Williams from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web!
While many of us picture the beloved classic tale’s characters the way they look in the 1973 animated film adaptation of the story (or, for the youngest amongst us, the way that they look in the live action version from 2006), the characters were originally given life in a series of illustrations created by Garth Williams before the book’s publishing in 1952.
The original copies of the illustrations were kept in a collection together until 2010, when they were put up for auction – dispersing the works amongst numerous private collections. The Carle acquired one of the pieces, and has borrowed a selection of 19 other original illustrations, along with a collection of preliminary sketches, in order to piece together the exhibit.
Along with the illustrations are images from the animated and live action film versions of Charlotte’s Web, allowing families a chance to compare depictions of various characters between the multiple versions of the story.
The book, appropriate for most elementary students (though it fits a 4th grade reading level), can serve as a perfect family read-aloud. Visiting the exhibit after reading Charlotte’s Web provides families with a chance to examine the function of illustrations, and can help students learn to look critically at the visuals provided within a story. The show opens on Tuesday, December 11 and will be open through April 22, 2013. For more information contact The Carle at 413-658-1100 or visit the museum’s website, www.carlemuseum.org. The museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA.
December 5, 2012 at 5:59 am (History, Holidays, Museum, Suggested Activity, Video)
Tags: Christmas, Community Based Education, History, History of Christmas, Holidays, Living History, Non-Commercial Christmas, Old Sturbridge Village, Origina of Holiday Traditions, place-based education, Victorian Christmas, western massachusetts
Old Sturbridge Village hosts Christmas by Candlelight
Celebration of favorite holiday traditions, music & food
Nine evening events set for Dec. 7-9; 14-16; 21-23
The legend of Santa has complex origins, blending diverse tales of magical gift givers with Christian beliefs. Dutch settlers in 17th-century New Amsterdam (New York) brought with them the legend of Saint Nicholas (Sinter Klaus), a 4th-century Christian saint from Turkey known for his generosity to children.
Take a break from the overwhelming wave of commercialized holiday “spirit” that the post-Thanksgiving season brings – visit Old Sturbridge Village for Christmas by Candlelight, which offers an incredibly wide variety of family-friendly holiday activities, performances, demonstrations, readings, crafts, and more! Villagers dressed in period costume will share holiday traditions from early New England – many of which formed the foundation upon which modern day holiday celebrations have been built! Families can learn about the roots of traditions such as yule logs, roasting chestnuts over a fire, building gingerbread houses, and even having a Christmas tree!
Friday-Sunday evenings from 4-9pm through December 23rd, the village will come alive with performances by Victorian carolers, Celtic music groups, handbell choirs, chorus groups and fife and drum corps. Visitors can view an exhibit of exquisite handmade gingerbread houses or see a miniature New England village decorated for the holiday, a model train show, or a 100+ piece nativity scene. There will be hands-on ornament making (using tin, and utilizing basic skills used by early New England metalworkers), as well as other holiday crafts.
A visit to the village can become a new holiday tradition for families, and is also a fantastic way for families to learn about history – hands-on! Each of the traditions being practiced and/or demonstrated throughout the village is specific to a particular period in American history, and families can work together to place each of their activities into a broader historical context. Visitors can actually see “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” and hear why they were a favored treat in early New England. They can also learn the origins of candy canes, mistletoe, fruitcake and how poinsettias were introduced to this country.
For more information on Christmas by Candlelight, call Old Sturbridge Village at 800-733-1830 or visit www.osv.org. Admission includes a free second visit within a 10-day period and any guests of second-day visitors receive a 25% discount on their admission. You could also inquire with your local library to see if they have a museum pass to OSV to lend. Monson Free Library, Westfield Athenaeum Library and Wilbraham Public Library all have passes to lend. Check with the nearest library near you too.
Did You Know?
The old folk tale of Hansel and Gretel, made famous by the brothers Grimm, inspired many Germans in the early 1800s to create model witches’ houses from hard gingerbread. Building fanciful gingerbread houses at Christmastime spread to America by the late 1800s.
- Most early New Englanders did not celebrate Christmas. They saw Christmas celebrations as dangerous foreign (pagan) perversions of pure Christianity and an excuse for sinful behavior.
- Yule logs began as a pagan reminder of the light and warmth of the sun on cold mid-winter nights. The word “Yule” is derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word “hweol,” which means “wheel” – a pagan symbol of the sun. The burning of a Yule log originated with the Druids, The modern practice of decorating trees and buildings with flashing electric lights seems to be a logical extension of the lighting of candles and bonfires at Christmas time.
- Christmas trees were pretty much only a German tradition until the 1840s, when Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, gave her a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts, and the custom began to catch on in the English-speaking world.
(Source of Facts & Photos: Old Sturbridge Village)
November 14, 2012 at 6:00 am (Art, Berkshire County, MASS MoCA, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Art Assemblies, arts, Berkshires, Mass MoCA, North Adams, School Assemblies, western massachusetts
Art Assemblies for Students
at MASS MoCA in North Adams
MASS MoCA will host three art assembly performances with two performances of each: Roy Nathanson on Thursday, Dec 13, 2012, LAVA on Friday, Feb 15, 2013, and Radio Jarocho on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013. Performances are at 9:30am and 12:30pm.
Mass MoCA in North Adams, home to galleries full of unique and interesting contemporary artwork, is offering a series of Art Assemblies for students! The performances, which will take place once each between December and June, feature a wide variety of music, dance, and storytelling and are meant to expose students to new forms of artistic expression.
Performances include: Radio Jarocho’s Mexican folk music; a jazz and spoken word hybrid by Roy Nathanson and his band Sotto Voce; and Lava, a troupe combining dance, theater, and acrobatics to present social commentary and and explore relationships. Download the Art Assemblies brochure for days, times and costs.
Shows are open to school and home-school groups, or individuals, and are designed for a pre-K through 3rd grade audience. Pre-registration is suggested, as space is limited and the performances tend to be popular! Attending one (or all!) of the events can help teach young students about the may different forms of artistic expression that exist. For more information, call the museum at 413-662-2111 or visit www.massmoca.org.
September 26, 2012 at 6:00 am (Hilltown Families, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: western massachusetts
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live!
Looking for a fun, interesting, and educational family activity for this weekend? A host of Western Massachusetts museums will be offering special free admission on Saturday, September 29th, 2012! 10+ museums in locations from Monterey to Deerfield, Amherst to Williamstown, will be taking part in the annual Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! event. Free admission will be granted at participating museums when a Museum Day ticket is presented (families can print the ticket from the magazine’s website) – a single ticket provides free admission to two people per household.
Each museum offers a unique learning experience, and the variety is wide enough that families can choose a location to visit based on their kids’ unique interests or subjects they’re learning about. Various topics in history (local and national) can be examined at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield, Amherst’s Emily Dickinson Museum, the Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, or by visiting historic Bidwell or Merwin Houses (in Monterey and Stockbridge, respectively).
Art enthusiasts can enjoy the galleries at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum, The Clark Institute in Williamstown, Stockbridge’s Norman Rockwell Museum, or the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst.
The Springfield Museums are on the list, too, and are home to galleries and exhibits covering a wide variety of topics – everything from motorcycle manufacturing to the science of board games.
Adventurous families can even peruse the list of participating museums across the state and take a field trip to a new location!
September 17, 2012 at 9:00 am (Berkshire County, MASS MoCA, Suggested Activity)
Tags: art education, arts, Berkshire County, Berkshires, Contemporary Art, Mass MoCA, Museum, New England, North Adams, place-based education, western massachusetts
Family Programming at MASS MoCA: Fall 2012
Kidspace visitors can delve into a world of dinosaurs, superheroes, dragons, cowboys, and monsters at the newest exhibition, Curiosity.
Fall is the perfect season for children and families to explore MASS MoCA in North Adams together. Educational programming at the museum abounds, with the exhibition Curiosity and art-making at Kidspace, curriculum-based performances through Art Assembly, a Halloween-themed gallery quest, and the Muppet Music Extravaganza concert (All this within the restored campus of 19th-century factory buildings, making MASS MoCA the largest center for contemporary art in the country!).
Kidspace at MASS MoCA, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio, collaborates with professional artists to present exhibitions and educational experiences for children and families. Right now, Kidspace visitors can delve into a world of dinosaurs, superheroes, dragons, cowboys, and monsters at the newest exhibition, Curiosity. Chock-full of unexpected, outlandish, fantastic objects-turned-artworks that kids likely already have questions about, this exhibition instills a sense of wonder in visitors of all ages. Curiosity features nine internationally acclaimed artists, each of whom inspires viewers to indulge the urge to investigate.
Colin Boyd of Troy, New York, weaves elements of folklore, natural history, and the future into his large-scale sculptures of a mastodon and an elephant bird in the exhibit, Curiosity.
For starters, Colin Boyd of Troy, NY, weaves elements of folklore, natural history, and the future into his large-scale sculptures of a mastodon and an elephant bird. Former comic-strip artist Dave DeVries renders children’s artworks into images with a striking realism. Ephraim & Sadie Hatfield of Adams, MA, re-imagine Renaissance cabinets of curiosity (which originally contained natural and human-made wonders collected by kings and queens). Kids can open drawers and doors of the cabinets to uncover mysterious specimens!
Curiosity also includes several LEGO sculptures by Nathan Sawaya (including the frozen Hans Solo from Star Wars), Muir Vidler’s photograph of grandparents with wild tattoos, Yoram Wolberger’s lifesize sculpture of a blue cowboy, and other treasures. In addition to viewing art, kids and families can also create their own at the Art Cabaret, Curiosity’s hands-on studio, which serves up inspiring art-making challenges for tactile learners. Kidspace is open from 11am-5pm every day except Tuesdays; art-making takes place Fridays through Sundays and during school holidays.
School groups are invited to attend Art Assembly performances throughout the academic year. These live events are educational, entertaining, and designed to adhere to the Massachusetts Learning Standards. Before the performance, teachers receive a curriculum guide chock full of pre- and post-performance activities to prepare their students for the experience. Activities might include writing exercise, movement games, instrument-making, readings on history, or group brainstorming projects. For more information about upcoming Art Assembly programming, or to reserve space at an upcoming performance, contact Courtney Parker, Assistant to the Manager of Performing Arts, at 413-664-4481 x8109.
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September 12, 2012 at 10:30 am (Art, Berkshire County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Suggested Activity, Video)
Tags: Art, arts, Berkshries, Film Series, The Clark
Old Masters in New Frames
Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at
The Clark in Williamstown this Fall
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a free film series featuring well-regarded feature films about seven famous artists. Older students interested in art, art history, and film can learn about artists from varying time periods and artistic styles, and each screening will include an introduction and post-film discussion with museum curators and art educators.
Topics presented in the films include artist Andrei Tarkovsky and the history of medieval Russia, Italian Baroque painting and portraiture, and the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh (used to illustrate a film adaptation of Irving Stone’s novel Lust for Life).
While the focus of each screening is on a particular artist, their passionate lives and the history of their form of expression and/or the context within which their life and work took place, the film series offers a unique opportunity for older students to learn about periods of history not often included in traditional school history curricula. The films themselves are also a valuable way to learn – learners who best absorb information when visuals are presented will enjoy the creative and aesthetically pleasing and dramatic ways in which information is conveyed.
Screenings will take place on Thursday evenings beginning September 20th at 7pm, and admission is free. The Clark Institute is located at 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. For more information, call 413-458-2303. www.clarkart.edu
- September 20 Thursday 7:00 pm: Andrei Rublev. (1966, 205 min, Russian with subtitles) Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterful epic explores not just the life and work of the famous icon painter, but the whole cosmos of late medieval Russia, in a cinematic classic of art, faith, and history. Steve Satullo, film programmer for the Clark, will introduce the series and the film. For the convenience of viewers, this film will be repeated on Friday 9/21, with Part One at 1:00 pm and Part Two at 3:00 pm.
- October 4 Thursday 7:00 pm: The Mill & the Cross. (2011, 95 min.) Lech Majewski offers a unique portal — through special effects and dramatization — for entering the world of a Pieter Bruegel painting, with the artist himself (played by Rutger Hauer) as guide. Keith Moxey, Chair of Art History at Barnard College and former Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College, will provide context and commentary on the film.
- October 18 Thursday 7:00 pm: Caravaggio. (1986, 90 min.) Derek Jarman’s bold experiment in portraiture tells the story of the scandalous Italian Baroque painter, played by Nigel Terry, with his muse and model played by Tilda Swinton. Michael Cassin, director of the Clark‘s Center for Education in the Visual Arts, will tell tales about the painter and his world.
- November 1 Thursday 7:00 pm: Edvard Munch. (1974, 172 min.). Peter Watkins’ brilliant docudrama follows the early life and career of the grim Norwegian painter, showing what led to The Scream. Jay Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs for the Clark and author of Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth, will introduce and assess the film.
- November 15 Thursday 7:00 pm: Lust for Life. (1956, 122 min.) Vincente Minnelli’s adaptation of the Irving Stone novel is an unusually serious Hollywood biopic, imbued with the colors of Vincent Van Gogh’s art and life. Kirk Douglas gives an impassioned performance as Van Gogh, with Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin. Perspective will be provided by Richard Kendall, Curator at Large for the Clark and author of Van Gogh’s Van Goghs.
September 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm (Franklin County, Hilltown Families, Historic Deerfield, Suggested Activity)
Tags: autumn, Historic Deerfield, History, history of scarecrows, Massachusetts, New England, open hearth, Travel, Western MA, western massachusetts
Visit Historic Deerfield this Fall for Fun Seasonal Activities with Your Family
Apprentice’s workshop open daily. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)
Historic Deerfield is a lovely place to visit any time of the year – but the fall is definitely a most special time. In addition to visiting historic homes and collections, visitors on weekends will enjoy involvement in hands-on activities on a variety of topics.
Open Hearth Cooking and Historic Trade demonstrations are featured on Saturdays, Sept-Nov, 2012.
Highlights this fall for families include Stencil Art offered September and October weekends 12–4:30pm. Learn about the work of stencil artists who traveled from town to town taking commissions to decorate building interiors. Explore the art of stenciling and make a beautiful and unique stenciled artwork to take home. Also visit Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture to see painted and stenciled furniture for inspiration!
Participate in a Family Scarecrow-Making Workshop held on September 29 at 10am or 2pm. Once a familiar sight as a guardian of crops in the rural landscape, scarecrows are now more often seen as symbols of harvest time and Halloween. Try your hand at making a scarecrow, and learn about the fascinating history of scarecrows in New England, and around the world. Space is limited; pre- registration is required. Contact Faith Deering at 413-775-7116 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Activity available with museum admission plus a $5 materials fee.
Studded with cloves and fragranced with cinnamon, an apple pomander historically served as a festive and decorative air freshener. (Courtesy photo)
Taking our cues from the seasonal changes around us, the museum will feature a program about apples on November weekends, 12-4:30pm. From Apples to Ornaments teaches about uses of apples and spices as you make an apple pomander to take home with you. From cider to pies to sauce, the bounty of fall apples has many uses. One way to use an apple is to preserve its fragrance and shape in the form of a pomander. Studded with cloves and fragranced with cinnamon, an apple pomander historically served as a festive and decorative air freshener.
During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend learn about both Native and English histories. Friday, November 23 meet Narragansett descendant Jennifer Lee will talk about Native history and culture while demonstrating traditional bark-basket-making technology in a program called Native Traditions Past and Present. On Saturday November 24 we welcome Season of Thanks: Society of the 17th Century, a group of re-enactors who will bring our historic Hall Tavern building to life with an incredible array of period arts, crafts and trades. See redware pottery, spinning, lace making, herbal lore, quill pen writing, wood carving, basket making, and arms and armor.
Hearth Cooking demonstrations this season will focus both on recipes for fresh foods of the harvest, as well as some techniques for preservation (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)
Capture the holiday spirit this December by joining our cooks, guides, educators, and craftspeople in a month-long series of traditional festive activities. Starting Saturday, December 1, visitors can see daily “Sugar & Spice” open hearth cooking demonstrations, participate in hands-on “Giftmaking” activities, and enjoy seasonal decorations hung throughout the historic Hall Tavern (except December 24-25). Experience the warmth of the hearth and take in the aroma of sweet, savory, and spiced foods prepared in the open hearth. Make one of three gifts by hand to take home and give to someone special.
Weekends will offer additional activities including horse-drawn wagon rides, and a special “Silhouettes” event. Bundle up and tour the village aboard a wagon drawn by the beautiful horses of Karas Farm December 1–2, 8–9, and 15–16. Don’t miss artist Lauren Muney demonstrating the historic art of cutting likenesses from paper with just a pair of scissors on December 8–9.
For more information about Historic Deerfield visit www.historic-deerfield.org for a full calendar of events and visitor information, or call 413-775-7214.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Rivera Lopez
Amanda is the Director of Museum Education at Historic Deerfield. She lives in Amherst with her family which includes an 11 year old daughter and 8 year old son.
September 5, 2012 at 6:00 am (Hampden County, Hilltown Families, Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Harry Houdini, Holyoke, Magic, Pioneer Valley, Wistariahurst Museum
Houdini’s Magic Come to Holyoke
Opening Night: Friday, Sept. 14th
Select pieces from the Magic Collection of Sidney Radner are highlighted by many items of Harry Houdini memorabilia. The exhibit, ” Houdini, Holyoke and the Sidney Radner Collection” explores Radner’s connection to the history of magic and Houdini, through his collection which contains handcuffs, tools, posters, documents, and ephemera. There will be an opening reception on Friday, Sept 14 from 6-8pm to view significant pieces of magic and Houdini memorabilia. Roving magicians and slight of hand practitioners will keep all delighted and entertained. ($)
During the months of September and October, the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke will house a special exhibit filled with magic history – featuring specifically many items used by the world famous magician Harry Houdini! The exhibit includes many different objects, including handcuffs, tools, posters, documents, and more, all from the collection of Houdini enthusiast and fellow magician Sidney Radner (known otherwise as Rednar the Magician).
The opening night of the exhibit (September 14th) will include exciting events between 6 and 8pm. There will be roving magicians (pockets literally full of illusions to share), and a chance to see some of the most exciting Houdini memorabilia up close and personal.
By visiting the museum, families can learn about the history of performed magic and its evolution over time, as well as the secrets behind some of Houdini’s favorite tricks. Older students can use a visit to the exhibit as a logic lesson, especially when learning about card tricks. Looking at the history of magic can also help supplement studies of American history and cultural change. Kids can compare the portrayal of magicians in posters and print material to the ways in which magic is introduced and portrayed today.
The Wistariahurst Museum is located at 238 Cabot Street in Holyoke, MA. For more information, visit www.wistariahurst.org or call 413-322-5660.
April 11, 2012 at 11:00 am (Hampden County, Museum, Springfield Museum, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Springfield, Springfield Museums, Western MA, What to do in Western Massachusetts during April Vacation
April Vacation Week at the Springfield Museums
While visiting the Springfield Museums, check out one of the newest installations, GameLand, an exhibit that teaches visitors about the history of games in American culture and also the thinking and learning behind the basics of many classic games. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)
The Springfield Museums’ usual array of family activities is broader than ever during school vacation week! Along with the museums’ many family-friendly exhibits and galleries, there will be several performances, special events, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and more!
The museum is currently hosting an exhibit titled, “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors,” which will be open throughout the week – families can learn about the habitat of many different types of frogs and how their adaptations reflect where they live.
Daily at 1pm, there will be kids’ concerts and performances, featuring interactive music from Brian Gillie, an artistic hip-hop dance performance by Poetry in Motion, and a concert of Indonesian gamelan music. Families will also be able to participate in scavenger hunts, see planetarium shows, create art projects related to current exhibits, and learn about science from the museums’ Roving Scientist!
Daily performance schedule includes:
- Monday, April 16 – Song, Dance, and the Possibilities by Brian Gillie.
- Tuesday, April 17 – Fascinatin’ Rhythms by Cornell “Sugarfoot” Coley.
- Wednesday, April 18 – Hip Hop Dimensions by the Poetry in Motion Crew.
- Thursday, April 19 – The Bramble Jam.
- Friday, April 20 – Music, Masks and Dance of Bali, Indonesia by Triple Shadow.
And ongoing activities happening throughout the week include:
- 10am-4:45pm: Scavenger Hunts in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and the Wood Museum of Springfield History
- 10:30am-1:30pm: Art Activities
- 11am-2pm: Gallery Science Demonstrations with the Roving Scientist
- 12noon-3:35pm: Art Discovery Center Activities
- 11:15am, 12noon, 1pm & 2pm: Planetarium Shows ($)
For a full schedule and admission information, visit the museum’s website at www.springfieldmuseums.org or call 800-263-6800.
February 9, 2012 at 6:30 am (Berkshire County, Community Based Education, Museum)
Tags: Community Based Education, Museum, Norman Rockwell, Norman Rockwell Museum, place-based education, western massachusetts
Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People
A Family Guide
Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the Norman Rockwell Family Guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images.
The month of February is artist Norman Rockwell’s birthday month! His birthday was on the 3rd, and to celebrate, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA continues to offer resources for families to learn about his art. In addition to the works available in the museum’s galleries, families can take an even greater in-depth look at Rockwell’s art using information available on the museum’s website. There is a biography page, which includes a timeline of Rockwell’s life and work. Another page offers information on exhibits past and present of Rockwell’s work, as well as a slideshow of the collection. There is accompanying information for many of the images- it’s a great way to prepare for a visit to the museum or to get a glimpse in to his artwork if you’re not able to go.
Also, newly added to the site is a special Family Guide you can download. Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images. Questions range from plain observations to more critical questions about what you can deduce about the inspiration for the painting, the creation process, or the cultural context of an image’s creation just by looking at a piece of art. The available resources can supplement learning done while visiting the museum or be used at home along with studies of other artists. Rockwell’s work is particularly useful for teaching kids to look critically at images because most of his paintings are depictions of everyday events. The images that kids will be considering are similar to the types of illustrations that they see in picture books- it’s a logical place to begin!
For more formal educators, the museum also offers a downloadable Educator’s Resource Packet and lessons plans for secondary students, as well as programs for schools (K-12) and both a Girl & Boy Scouts.
Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit the Museum online at www.nrm.org.
February 8, 2012 at 9:30 am (Berkshire County, MASS MoCA, Suggested Activity)
Tags: Berkshires, Mass MoCA, North Adams, Wesern Massachusetts
Free Day at MASS MoCA
Saturday, February 11th, 2012
Along with the museum’s exhibits will be special events just for FREE Day, including an elevator music festival, mermaid parade, art making, tours, and a dance party!
Have you been wondering what’s inside the tall, 19th century industrial buildings at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA? Now’s your chance! The museum’s annual FREE Day takes place on Saturday, February 11th from 11am-8pm. Visitors will be able to view the museum in its entirety- no exhibits will be excluded! Along with the museum’s exhibits will be special events just for FREE Day, including an elevator music festival, mermaid parade, art making, tours, and a dance party!
The elevator music festival takes place (where else!) inside an oversized elevator, where musicians will play short, intimate concerts for the elevator travelers, bringing new meaning and purpose to elevator music.
Inspired by James Grashow’s colorful sea creatures, Under the Sea is featured as the current KidSpace exhibit, where the mermaid parade will have visitors parading through the museum while decked out in mermaid garb and/or sporting cardboard fish created at the museum! There will be prizes for creativity (BYO flippers, triton, and seaweed). Along with the opportunity to create ocean-inspired art, there will be activities inspired by other exhibits, as well.
Kids can make bridges from toothpicks and clay, as inspired by the film work of Oded Hirsch (it’s a study in architecture and design!). Another project asks visitors to create works in the style of Sol Lewitt, and another will create a community installation inspired by Mary Lum’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor.”
Tours of the museum will leave the lobby every 30 minutes. There are many of activities, but there is ample time to fit in everything! A visit to the museum this Saturday (or any day, really!) will teach kids about contemporary art and will allow kids to practice working with different mediums and learning to use artists’ work as inspiration. Perhaps they’ll learn to see connections between artists, too! For more information, call 800-662-2111 or visit www.massmoca.org.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Timothy Valentine]
December 21, 2011 at 10:30 am (Community Based Education, History, Homeschooling, Museum)
Tags: american textile history, American Textile History Museum, History, Massachusetts, textile manufacture, textile production
American Textile History Museum
According to the museum's web site, "The American Textile History Museum houses one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. Its collections contain thousands of books, trade catalogs, business records and personal papers, prints and photographs, a growing costume collection, millions of textiles samples, and hundreds of machines used in textile manufacture. The Museum is an unparalleled resource for the study of textile history in the United States. You will find a wealth of information about textile art, factory architecture, textile production, technological invention, labor history, industrial organization and the everyday life of mill towns."
What do sheep and baseballs have in common? Find out at the American Textile History Museum! Located in Lowell, MA, a city that played an important role in the early development of the textile industry in the United States, the museum offers visitors a chance to learn about the evolution of textiles, both as an industry and as a science.
Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and supported by the MA Cultural Council, the museum currently has two main exhibits that families can tour and interact with: Textile Revolution lets visitors spin, weave, and design their way through history; while Aloft is an exhibit of kites from which visitors can learn about not only the textiles used to make kites but their significance within the history of science (think Benjamin Franklin!) and aviation. Future exhibits slated for a stay at the museum include Homefront & Battlefield: The Civil War through Quilts and Context (July 2012-November 2012) and Suited for Space (December 2012-February 2013).
The museum’s permanent collection is one of the largest of its kind, and includes costumes, textile samples, machinery and a library of literature that share the history of the production of textiles in America.
A visit to the museum offers a multidisciplinary educational experience! Kids can learn about architecture by examining sample factory structures, technological innovations by observing the changes in machinery over time, and labor history by learning about the life of an early mill worker and the evolution of changes in working environments.
If you’re planning on taking the kids for a weekend excursion, check out their Textile Learning Center for a hands-on place kids of all ages can explore and have fun. There are self-guided tours for families, and guided, hands-on activities and tours for larger groups.
For schools, the museum has on-site school programs even offers Traveling Textile outreach programs, which brings the history of textiles straight to your classroom, supplying educators with teacher’s guides. Traveling programs include: The Goat in the Rug, Threaded Together, FUN-damentals of Weaving, A Stitch in Time: Coming to America, Mothers (and Fathers) of Invention, and Estimation Mania.
For homeschooling families/groups, the museum has home school programs too and offer several textile art classes, including Felting, Knitting and Crocheting, Sewing, Spinning, and Weaving.
The museum also has several volunteer opportunities, including volunteer duties suitable for high school students.
The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm to visitors, but scheduled tours can take place on Mondays and Tuesdays. To find out more, visit the museum’s website at www.athm.org.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Anne Ruthmann]
December 14, 2011 at 10:30 am (Amherst, Community Based Education, Hampshire County, Museum, Science)
Tags: Amherst College, Beneski Museum, Community Based Education, Museum, Natural History, place-based education
Beneski Museum of Natural History
Home of the World’s Largest Collection of
Click on the image to see 360° views of the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. - The ground floor displays the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks (primarily from the Connecticut River Valley), skulls of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops and a diorama with a model showing what some of our local dinosaur species might have looked like. There is also a cast of a dinosaur track “book” that visitors can handle.
Did you know that the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks is housed at Amherst College in the Beneski Museum of Natural History? The Museum offers opportunities for families and students to learn about the natural history of the Pioneer Valley and many other parts of the world. There are over 1,700 specimens (including skeletons of a mammoth, cave bear, and saber-tooth cat, and skulls of a tyrannosaurus rex and a triceratops!), some from as far away as Patagonia, housed at the Museum, along with several collections, including anthropology, ichnology, meteorites, mineralogy, osteology, paleobotany and taxidermy.
There are three levels to the museum, with an entire floor dedicated to local geological phenomena, such as glaciation and mountain building- point out the Holyoke Range to your kids on you way to visit, then learn how it was created at the museum.
- When you arrive you will find on the Entrance Level Ice Age Mammals and the Evolution of the Horse.
- Travel to the Upper Level to see Human Evolution, Geology of the Connecticut River Valley and Bedrock Geology Model.
- The down to the Lower Level to check out the Hitchcock Ichnology Collection and Mesozoic Reptiles.
The museum’s resources offer several ways to supplement lessons on natural history. Before arriving, print out their self guided tour of the Vertebrate Fossils in the museum, and go on a quest with your kids/students when you arrive to locate and learn about vertebrate fossils. And get your kids excited about their Oddities of the Natural History Museum Collection by screening an audio slide show together online beforehand.
To arrange a guided tour of the museum for your youth group or school, email Alfred J. Venne, Museum Educator, at email@example.com. – The museum’s regular hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-4pm, and Thursdays from 6-10pm. Admission is free. For more information visit www.amherst.edu/museums/naturalhistory.
December 14, 2011 at 8:30 am (Art, Hilltown Families, Museum, Springfield, Springfield Museum)
Tags: Art, Art Appreciation, French Painting, Springfield Museum, Wadsworth Athenaeum
Take a Glimpse Back into French Art and Culture at New Exhibit, Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting
"The Duchesse de Poignac Wearing a Straw Hat, 1782," an oil painting on canvas by French artist, Elizabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) will be on display at the Springfield Museums’ D’Amour Art Museum through April 29th, 2012, courtesy of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Wadsworth Atheneum, America's oldest public art museum, has never before presented a full-scale survey of its distinguished collection of French paintings. This exhibition of 50 masterpieces provides a history of French painting and includes religious and mythological subjects, portraiture, landscape, still life, and genre painting.
The Springfield Museums’ D’Amour Art Museum is hosting an exciting new art exhibit on loan from the Wadsworth Athenaeum of Hartford, CT titled, “Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting,” which includes 50 pieces that together provide a survey of the history of French painting and includes works from as far back as the 17th century.
This is the first show of its kind to be presented by the Wadsworth, allowing students a glimpse back into French art and culture. Over the winter break, take your kids to see the show. While viewing the paintings, ask them if they see any similarities or differences amongst the works of different artists, taking a look at the development of techniques and changes in subject matter over time.
A free audio tour of the exhibit will be available for listening to narratives about the different paintings using your cell phone. Selected artwork will have “Guide by Cell” symbols indicating commentary on the painting for your family to hear.
If your youth group would like request a highlighted tour of the exhibit with one of the Museum’s docent’s, call 413-263-6800 ext. 379, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School programs/tours that are align with the MA State Curriculum Frameworks can also be arranged by calling 413-263-6800 ext. 322, or email email@example.com. — A teacher open house is scheduled for January 11th, 2012 from 4-6pm. Reservations required. Call 413.263.6800, ext. 323.
For older students and homeschoolers, several of the museum’s Museums a la Carte Lectures will support the exhibit with a number of discussions during the exhibit’s stay. Their lecture Culture or Counter-Culture: Café Society in 19th Century Paris on March 29th will take a look at 19th century French paintings of “seedy bohemian life or scenes of glittering, gilded café concerts, cabarets, music halls and opera are more than charming pictures of a long ago world. They depict a reality unique to Paris,” as explained on the Museum’s web site. “Cafes offered Parisians from all classes a gathering place where sociability was as important as food and drink. For artists, among them Courbet, Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, the café became a gold mine of subject matter, a source for lively images of modern life. In this lecture, we will look at the art they made and explore the rich story of 19th century café life in the City of Light.”
The exhibit is open during normal museum hours from December 13th through April 29th. For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org. To find out which local library has free museum passes for borrowing, check our Educational Support & Local Resources page. Springfieldresidents receive free general admission with proof of address.
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