Berkshire Museum in 2008

Berkshire Museum to Present Public Programs at Lichtenstein Center, the YMCA, and the Berkshire Community College While Closed for Renovations in January & February

The Berkshire Museum will be closed for construction from January 1 through March 28, 2008. During this time Phase II of the renovation project, which includes the long-awaited installation of a climate control (HVAC) system, will be completed. During the construction period, the Berkshire Museum will present several public programs at other locations in Pittsfield, including an exhibition devoted to the Mohican people at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

  • On March 29, the Berkshire Museum will unveil the new Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation. The 3,000 square foot gallery devoted to Berkshire innovations that have had worldwide impact will be a permanent exhibition with regular updates.
  • The Berkshire Museum will offer the popular preschooler program Aquarium Adventures at 10 a.m. on Fridays, January 4 through March 28, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue in Pittsfield. The program includes toddler playtime and a story, followed by a live animal encounter.  ($) Berkshire Museum members and children under 3 are admitted free. A schedule of animals for each week is available at www.berkshiremuseum.org.
  • From January 19 through March 8, 2008, the Berkshire Museum will present the exhibition Berkshires’ First People: The Mohicans at the Lichtenstein Center. This small exhibition, modeled after the museum’s Mohican Room, invites visitors to discover how clothing, hunting tools, and games tell the story of daily life of the native people of the Berkshires’ first residents, the Mohicans. Visitors may try-on clothing, examine animal furs, and play games and native instruments. The exhibition will also include artwork made by first grade children from the Silvio O. Conte Community School, inspired by the Native American Sky Woman creation myth of the Iroquois. The students participate in Connected for Success, an after school program at the elementary school for at risk children. The Berkshire Museum has been a partner in Connected for Success for six years.
  • Also at the Lichtenstein Center, the Berkshire Museum will offer the hands-on art course “Looking for Red in All the Right Places” on Saturdays, January 19, January 26, February 2, and February 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Instructor for the course for children ages 7 to 10 is artist and Berkshire Museum educator Melanie Mowinski. Participants will explore how artists use the color red as they create painting, drawings, and sculpture. A four-part course ($$). To register, call 413-443-7171, extension 10.

  • On Monday, January 21, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Berkshire Museum will offer its annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day celebration, “I Have a Dream,” at the Lichtenstein Center. The program includes readings from King’s famous speech, a performance by Youth Alive, and soul food samplings. ($) Berkshire Museum members and children under 3 are admitted free.

  • On Sunday, February 3, at 3 p.m., the Berkshire Museum will present the first in a new Little Cinema series, “Film Feasts.” Film Feasts feature a food-related film, discussion with food experts, and dinner at a Pittsfield restaurant. The February 3 film will be Big Night, to be shown at Koussevitzy Hall, K-11 State, at Berkshire Community College. Guest speaker will be Francine Segan, author of Movie Menus. Since the film takes place in an Italian restaurant dinner will be at Trattoria Rustica in Pittsfield. ($$)

  • In partnership with BTF PLAYS!, the year-round educational program of the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Berkshire Museum will present the family performance “Aesop’s Network: Broadcasting Theatrical Fables” at the YMCA auditorium, 292 North Street, Pittsfield. Performances will be daily at 11 a.m. from Monday, February 18, through Saturday, February 23. The play retells Aesop’s fables, such as “The Tortoise and the Hare,” in the style of a sports highlights show. ($$)
  • In addition to the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, the Phase II construction includes the climate control system that will bring the Berkshire Museum facility to current museum standards for temperature and humidity control. The HVAC will be operational when the Berkshire Museum reopens. In April, the Museum will unveil new installations of its permanent collection, including a new Native American gallery featuring art and artifacts from the extensive collection that has not been on public view in many years due to the lack of climate control.

Grand Reopening and Unveiling of Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation Scheduled for March 29, 2008

When it reopens in late March after a period of construction, the Berkshire Museum plans the following exhibitions:

March 29, 2008-ongoing
Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation

An exploration of innovations and innovators that have enhanced people’s lives around the world. Innovations that originated in the Berkshires have had worldwide influence. The multi-media exhibition explores innovations in science, technology, business, politics, culture, and the arts, and includes original historical artifacts, works of art, video, and interactives. Innovations and innovators featured in the premiere version of the exhibition will be: Crane & Co., printers of U.S. currency; Tripod and user-generated web content; Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, founder of Simon’s Rock College; Elizabeth Freeman and the end of slavery in Massachusetts; Cyrus Field and the first transatlantic cable in 1866; Herman Melville; the Berkshire plastics industry; Ted Shawn and modern dance; Elkanah Watson and the nation’s first agricultural fair; Douglas Trumbull and cinematic special effects; George Mobray and excavating with dynamite; Frank Julian Sprague and electric trolley; William Stanley and the AC transformer; the Shakers; the art of Nancy Graves; W.E.B. Dubois, co-founder of the NAACP; Clare Bousquet and night skiing; and glass artist Tom Patti. Made possible by The Feigenbaum Foundation.

April 12, 2008-ongoing
America Seen

19th-century American art and decorative arts from the Berkshire Museum collection, including the return of the museum’s Hudson River School paintings by such artists as Frederick Church, Thomas Cole, and Albert Bierstadt. Also included are contemporary American works by such artists as Gregory Crewdson.

April 12, 2008-ongoing
Native Peoples: Northeast-Northwest

Musical instruments, cooking utensils, hunting tools, baskets, clothing, weapons, pipes, toys, and games used in everyday Native American life, all drawn from the Berkshire Museum’s rarely seen collection, tell stories of native people in the northeastern woodlands from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The exhibition includes contemporary native voices and explores the traditions of the Iroquois, Mohican, Haida, and Tlingit nations. Visitors may play instruments, games, and toys, and try on clothing.

April 12, 2008-ongoing
Ancient Civilizations

The ancient peoples of Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and Mesopotamia created complex civilizations. They used and made objects that communicated important ideas about their daily lives, their homes and businesses, and their beliefs and practices for the afterlife. This new installation drawn from the Berkshire Museum’s extensive collection of ancient art and artifacts will feature ritual objects, burial objects, every day household objects, and jewelry. Highlights from Ancient Egypt include the mummy Pahat (circa 332 BC), a falcon mummy, canopic jars, and shabti figures in faience and wood. Ancient Roman glass and bronze household objects, Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, ancient Greek pottery, and terracotta figures from ancient China will also be on view, as will 19th-century plaster casts of the famous ancient Greek sculptures Venus de Milo and Nike of Samothrace.

April 26, 2008-June 1, 2008
What’s the Story?

Museums are more than repositories of objects—museums tell stories. From works of art depicting historical or mythological tales to personal items once connected to a real life to abstract images evoking one’s own imagination, the objects here all have tales to tell. From the carved tusk of a legendary elephant with Pittsfield connections to Victorian memorial embroidery to paintings by Norman Rockwell, the works of art, historical artifacts, and natural science specimens in this exhibition explore storytelling as an important way that people make sense of their world. Sponsored by TD Banknorth Foundation.

May 9-12, 2008
Galleries in Bloom

Professional and amateur designers will create one-of-a-kind floral arrangements inspired by the works of art throughout the Berkshire Museum. Sponsored in part by Cranwell Resort, Spa, and Golf Club.

July 1, 2008-October 26, 2008
Look at Us

Portraits–paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints– by artists ranging from Ammi Phillips and Erasmus Salisbury Field to John Singer Sargent and J.M. Whistler to Grant Wood and Red Grooms will be complemented with a selection of portraits by such artists as Chuck Close and Andy Warhol, on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art.

November 15, 2008-January 4, 2009
24th Annual Festival of Trees

The Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street on Route 7 in Downtown Pittsfield. The Berkshire Museum is closed for construction January 1-March 28, 2008. Upon reopening the galleries will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171, ext. 10, or visit berkshiremuseum.org.

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