Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Museums of Western Massachusetts

Museums have a wide range of operating days and hours, some are seasonal, others open only on weekends. Some are limited to visits as part of a guided tour. It's always best to call ahead to get all of the details, or visit the museum's web site, if available, when planning an outing. (Updated July 10, 2013)

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The Amherst College Museum of Natural History
Amherst College Campus
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 542-2165

"A partnership of seven outstanding college museums with three unique neighboring museums offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience the art, books, Natural and human history of many periods and cultures." --From the museum web site.


Amherst History Museum
67 Amity Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 256-0678

"Housed in the 1750 era Strong House, the Amherst History Museum takes visitors on a journey from the towns colonial past, through its industrial age and into the computer driven present...The Amherst History Museum opened in 1916, governed by the Amherst Historical Society, founded in 1899." --From the museum web site.


The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 658-1100

"The mission of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is to inspire, especially in children and their families, an appreciation for and an understanding of the art of the picture book." --From the museum web site.


Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and the Evergreens
280 & 214 Main Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 542-8161

"The Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about Emily Dickinson's life, family, creative work, times, and enduring relevance, and to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public." --From the museum web site.


Hampshire College Art Gallery
Johnson Library Center, Lower Level
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 559-5544

"The gallery's active program of exhibitions includes, in addition to the more traditional media, environmental installations, dance and performance pieces, and video presentations." --From the gallery's web site.


Mead Art Museum
Amherst College Campus
Corner of Route 9 and Route 116
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 542-2335

"The Mead Art Museum exhibits highlights from the permanent collection in six galleries, and presents temporary shows on contemporary art, photography, and interdisciplinary subjects highlighted by loans from public and private collections." --From the museum web site.


National Yiddish Book Center
1021 West Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
(413) 256-4900

"We invite you to visit us in person at our beautiful new headquarters in Amherst, Massachusetts: a lively "cultural shtetl" featuring a book repository, theater, conference space and museum exhibitions." --From the book center web site.


University Museum of Contemporary Art - UMass Amherst
Fine Arts Center
University of Massachusetts
Anherst, Massachusetts 01003
(413) 545-3670

"The Gallery maintains a Permanent Collection of approximately 2,600 objects with an emphasis on drawings, prints and photographs from the second half of the 20th century." --From the gallery web site.


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Chester Historical Society
15 Middlefield Street (Route 20)
Chester, Massachusetts 01011
Email: HistoricalSociety@chestermass.com

"The Chester Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation of Chester’s heritage and historical buildings. The society maintains numerous resources for local history or genealogical research, as well as a large collection of items from Chester’s industrial past. Email us if you would like to make an appointment to use the resources of the society or if you have any questions/comments about Historic Chester Massachusetts." --From the historical society web site.


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Bisbee Mill Museum & Chesterfield Historical Society
66 East Street
Chesterfield, Massachusetts 01012
(413) 296-4384 (Curator)

"...In December 1995, this building with its old grist mill, woodworking shop and blacksmith shop --and space to display items already in the possession of the Historical Society-- was accepted and deeded to the Historical Society for $1.00." --From the historical society web site.

Edwards Memorial Museum
3 North Road
Chesterfield, Massachusetts 01012
(413) 268-9927 (Curator)

"The Edwards Memorial Museum features a Victorian Parlor and old organ, as well as period dresses and costumes. Antique furniture, spinning wheels, household tools, equipment, pictures and "Living History" tapes. Open Fourth of July and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m." --From the Hidden-hills.com web site.


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The Crane Museum of Papermaking
30 South Street
Dalton, Massachusetts 01226
(413) 684-6481

"In wall and floor cases, exhibits trace the history of American papermaking from Revolutionary times, with special emphasis on the durable, distinctive Crane papers made for currency, bonds, stock certificates and elegant stationery." --From the Crane Museum web site


(See EWM post: 'The Crane Museum of Papermaking', July 6, 2008.

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Historic Deerfield
Old Main Street
Deerfield, Massachusetts 01342
(413) 775-7214

"Historic Deerfield, Incorporated, is dedicated to the heritage and preservation of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut River Valley. Its museums and programs provide today's audiences with experiences that create an understanding and appreciation of New England's historic villages and countryside." --From the Historic Deerfield web site.


(See EWM post: 'Cemetery: Old Deerfield Burying Ground', July 31, 2007.)

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Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation
42 Water Street
Granville, Massachusetts 01034
(413) 357-8814

"NCCHP is a new museum created to preserve and incorporate the rich history of Granville and the surrounding areas. The museum is housed within the historic buildings of the Noble & Cooley drum factory." --From the NCCHP web site.


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Museum of Our Industrial Heritage
2 Mead Street
Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301

"The museum’s mission is to celebrate our industrial heritage through preserving, collecting, and educating the public, with emphasis on Franklin County and Athol, Massachusetts." --From the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage web site.


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Children's Museum at Holyoke
444 Dwight Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
(413) 536-7048

"The Children's Museum at Holyoke provides a unique setting in which children and adults learn together about art, science and the world around them." --From the museum web site.


The Volleyball Hall of Fame
444 Dwight Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
(413) 536-0926

"The Volleyball Hall of Fame...opened to the public on June 6, 1987. A two-day volleyball tournament was hosted by the Volleyball Hall of Fame to celebrate the grand opening." --From the Hall of Fame web site.


Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot Street
Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040
(413) 322-5660

"Wistariahurst Museum seeks to preserve the home, landscape and material culture of the Skinner family and promote an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events." --From the museum web site.


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Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum
East end of Housatonic Street
Lenox, Massachusetts
(413) 637-2210

"A vintage railway coach houses this unique permanent exhibit where visitors are introduced to the rich history of Berkshire County and to the locations where that history can be revisited...On summer weekends and Holidays the museum offers two ninety minute round trip excursions from Lenox Station to Stockbridge and a forty-five minute round trip excursion from Lenox Station to Lee narrated by a uniformed conductor." --From the museum web site.


Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio
92 Hawthorne Street
P.O. Box 2256
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240
(413) 637-0166

"Visit the home of American Abstract Artists George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen, set on a 46 acre estate in the heart of Lenox, Massachusetts. View their paintings, frescoes, and sculpture; experience their exquisite collection of American and European Cubist Art." --From the studio web site.


The Museum of the Gilded Age at Ventfort Hall
104 Walker Street
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240
(413) 637-3206

"Ventfort Hall is an imposing Elizabethan-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan...Located on spacious grounds in the heart of the village, it is partially restored and open to the public. Through lectures, exhibits, theatrical performances and other events, The Museum of the Gilded Age interprets the great changes that occurred in American life, industry, and society during the Nineteenth Century, a fascinating period of American history." --From the museum web site.


The Mount - Edith Wharton's Estate and Gardens
2 Plunkett Street
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240
(413) 551-5100

"The Mount is the turn-of-the-century home that Edith Wharton designed and built based on the precepts outlined in her groundbreaking 1897 book, The Decoration of Houses, co-authored with architect Ogden Codman, Jr. A perfect example of the newly dawned American Renaissance, the classical revival house and its formal gardens represent the only full expression of Wharton’s architectural and landscape architectural theories." --From the Mount web site.


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The Bidwell House Museum
Art School Road
P.O. Box 537
Monterey, Massachusetts 01245
(413) 528-6888

"The museum, set in the Berkshire hills, is an elegant Georgian saltbox originally built circa 1750 as a parsonage. Authentically restored, filled with antiques and surrounded by beautiful grounds and hiking trails, the museum is open Thursday through Monday between 11 am and 4 pm from May 27th to mid October." --From the museum web site.


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North Adams

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
87 Marshall Street
North Adams, Massachusetts 01247
(413) 662-2111

"Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world's premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art." --From the museum web site.


North Adams Museum of History and Science
Western Gateway Heritage State Park, Building 5A
State Street
North Adams, Massachusetts 01247
(413) 664-4700

"Our mission is to protect, preserve and promote the rich history of North Adams, Massachusetts and its people...Our goal is to present exhibits, publications and programs that will bring to life the rich history of North Adams, Massachusetts. You are cordially invited to attend all of our programs." --From the historical society web site.


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Smith College Museum of Art
Elm Street at Bedford Terrace
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
(413) 585-2760

"With approximately 25,000 objects, the Smith College Museum of Art has one of the nation's finest teaching collections." --From the museum web site.


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The Berkshire Museum
39 South Street, Route 7
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201
(413) 443-7171, Ext. 11

"The Berkshire Museum enriches, educates, and inspires through diverse collections of art, natural science, and history, as well as dynamic educational programs and special exhibitions. From American art by Hudson River School artists to our aquarium housing both native and exotic fish, reptiles, and amphibians, from an interactive dinosaur dig to the mummy of Pahat, the Berkshire Museum is “a window on the world” for all ages." --From the museum web site.


Herman Melville's Arrowhead
780 Holmes Road
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201
(413) 442-1793

"It was at Arrowhead that Melville wrote his most famous work, Moby-Dick, along with three other novels...Arrowhead is now a house museum interpreting the life of the Melville family in the Berkshires. It is owned and operated by the Berkshire County Historical Society, a non-profit corporation" --From the museum web site.


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South Hadley

Joseph Allen Skinner Museum
Woodbridge Street
South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075
Contact: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (413) 538-2245

"The main building, open to the public, was originally the Congregational church in Prescott, Massachusetts. When that town was flooded due to the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, Skinner bought the 1846 building and moved it to South Hadley. It became his personal museum, housing his wide-ranging collection of American and European furniture, decorative arts, crafts, tools, and geological specimens." --From the Mt. Holyoke College web site.


Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Lower Lake Road
South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075
(413) 538-2245

"Dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value, the Museum develops exhibitions and programs that aim to provide aesthetic enjoyment, stimulate inquisitive looking, and encourage understanding of the artistic achievements represented by a diversity of cultures." --From the museum web site.


South Hadley Historical Society - The Old Firehouse Museum
4 North Main Street
South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075

"The Old Firehouse Museum presents the history of this town, which was settled in 1753 and is the site of our new nation’s first commercially successful canal." --From the museum's Facebook page.


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Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle
21 Edwards Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

"The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of the two Springfield Museums dedicated to fine and decorative arts. It represents the very personal taste of the Victorian collector whose name it bears. The Museum was built in 1895 in the style of an elegant Italian villa and opened to the public in 1896 as the “Art Museum.”" --From the museum web site.


The Museum of Fine Arts

"The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the two Springfield Museums dedicated to fine and decorative arts. The Art Deco-style Museum was erected in response to a bequest from Mr. & Mrs. James Philip Gray, who left their entire estate for the "selection, purchase, preservation, and exhibition of the most valuable, meritorious, artistic, and high class oil paintings obtainable," and for the construction of a Museum to house them. The Museum opened in 1933. The Museum of Fine Arts presents a strong cross section of American and European paintings, sculpture and works on paper." --From the museum web site.


Springfield Science Museum

"Visitors to the Springfield Science Museum will find a world filled with the wonders of natural and physical science. The Museum also is home to a live animal center with fish, insects, reptiles and amphibians in such realistic natural habitats as an Amazon rainforest, coral reef, and New England harbor." --From the museum web site.


Connecticut Valley Historical Museum

"Learn more about the history and traditions of the Connecticut River Valley through our permanent and changing exhibits that tell the story of the region from 1636 to the present through the Museum's collection of handcrafted furniture and silver by local craftsmen, motorcycles and antique autos made in Springfield, industrial objects from the region's factories, and historical firearms from the area's gun industry, including selected revolvers from a premier Smith & Wesson collection." --From the museum web site.


Dr. Seuss National Memorial

"The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden is now open at the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where Theodor Seuss Geisel was born and which appears to have inspired much of his work." --From the National Memorial web site.


Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History

"The 40,000-square-foot museum presents exhibits that interpret Springfield history in the larger context of American history in the 19th and 20th centuries. As a prosperous city growing out of the Industrial Revolution, Springfield reflects historical trends experienced by the United States as a whole." --From the museum web site.


Springfield Armory National Historic Site
1 Armory Square
Springfield, Massachusetts 01105

"Overlooking the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts, Springfield Armory National Historic Site offers the story of our Nation’s first armory. Our large museum, year-round public programs, exhibits, and special events speak of nearly two centuries of pioneering American military arms manufacturing." --From the Armory's web site.


The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1000 West Columbus Avenue
Springfield, Massachusetts 01001
(413) 781-6500 or 1-877-4HOOPLA

The museum of the continuing history of basketball in the city where the sport was created.


Pan-African Historical Museum USA
Tower Square
1500 Main Street
Springfield, Massachusetts
(413) 733-1823

"Existing exhibits at PAHMUSA include documents and photographs chronicling centuries of Black history in the Pioneer Valley." --From the Tower Square newsletter.

The Titanic Museum
208 Main Street
Indian Orchard, Massachusetts 01151
(413) 543-4770

"The Titanic Museum provides an exciting combination of discovery, adventure and education for visitors of all ages. The Titanic Historical Society's (THS) foundation, and its greatest strength, is its collection of rare, Titanic survivor artifacts, one of the finest anywhere." --From the museum's web site.


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Chesterwood Estate and Museum
Williamsville Road
P.O. Box 827
Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262
(413) 298-3579, Ext. 11.

"Chesterwood, the 1920's summer home, studio and garden of sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) is just a few short minutes from the Red Lion Inn. Guests take a step back in time when visiting this 122 acre estate that inspired an artist who inspired a nation." --From the museum web site.


Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Road, Route 183
Stockbridge, Massachusetts 01262
(413) 298-4100

"Norman Rockwell Museum houses the world's largest and most significant collection of original Rockwell art. Highlights include enduring favorites from Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers, the powerful Four Freedoms, and the nostalgic Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas." --From the museum web site.


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West Springfield

Josiah Day House Museum
70 Park Avenue
West Springfield, Massachusetts
(413) 734-8322

"The oldest known brick salt-box style home in the United States...Tours of the Josiah Day House are available by appointment and during special town events and selected holidays. Tours may include a demonstration of a working loom and a cemetery tour." --From the museum web site.


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Amelia Park Children's Museum
99 Elm Street
Westfield, Massachusetts 01085
(413) 572-4014

"Amelia Park Children's Museum is a Learning Place where hands-on exhibits invite children to experiment, create and play through activities. Adults and children can share in the excitement of learning and discovering the region and the world in which we live." --From the museum web site.


Jasper Rand Art Museum
Westfield Athenaeum, Main Level
6 Elm Street
Westfield, Massachusetts 01085

"The Jasper Rand Art Museum on the Athenaeum's main level is a spacious gallery designed to showcase the works of local artists and craftspeople, with exhibits in all types media shown on a monthly basis." --From the museum web site.


Edwin Smith Historical Museum
Westfield Athenaeum
6 Elm Street
Westfield, Massachusetts 01085

"The Athenaeum's Edwin Smith History Museum is a treasure trove of Westfield history dating back to Westfield's colonial settlement in the 1600s. Opened in 1927 and named in honor of Edwin Smith, the co-founder of the H.B. Smith Company, the quaint History Museum is open Thursdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. or by appointment. (Call (413) 568-0638)" --From the museum web site.


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Westhampton Blacksmith Shop Museum
5 Stage Road
Westhampton, Massachusetts 01027
(413) 527-3209

"The front room of the museum is an authentic 19th century blacksmith shop, filled with tools of that trade and featuring a large collection of hand tools." --From the museum web site.

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Wilbraham Children's Museum
678 Main Street
Wilbraham, Massachusetts 01095
(413) 596-2472

"The Wilbraham Children's Museum is available to children in all surrounding communities. Designed to meet the needs of children under age 5, the playground and play areas inside the museum have been specifically designed with this age group in mind." --From the museum web site.


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The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
225 South Street
Williamstown, Massachusetts 01267
(413) 458-2303

"Nestled in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is both art museum and research center, welcoming visitors year-round to experience its outstanding collections of European and American art in an intimate setting of profound natural beauty." --From the Institute web site.


Williams College Museum of Art
15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Ste 2
Williamstown, Massachusetts 01267
(413) 597-2429

"One of the finest college art museums in the country, the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) houses 12,000 works that span the history of art. Within the broad range of time periods and cultures represented, the collection emphasizes modern and contemporary art, American art from the late 18th century to present, and the art of world cultures. Admission to the museum is always FREE as are a host of educational programs that are available to the public." --From the museum web site.


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This list is continually evolving. If you want to help build it, and there is a museum you know of that can be added, please email explorewmass@yahoo.com, or leave a comment here. Thanks!

For lots more Western Massachusetts activity ideas visit the EWM page, 'Things To Do In Western Massachusetts'.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

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Anonymous said...


You seem to be missing the new Wood Museum of Springfield History, part of the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle.

And the Conn. Valley Historical Museum is closed right now for renovation.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous said...

You are also missing the Westhampton Blacksmith Shop Museum at 5 Stage Rd. in Westhampton, now home to the ONLY Loudville Lead Mine history exhibit.

Note: The Pioneer Valley History Network's website has an updated comprehensive listing of area museums at www.pioneervalleyhistorynetwork.org
Why not just offer your viewers a link?

Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks for the suggestion! Consider the Westhampton Blacksmith Museum Shop added to the list. Having worked with steel myself for 25 years, it sounds like a pretty cool place to visit!

As far as the great website the PVHN maintains, I have had a link to them from EWM for quite some time. You can find it on the page 'Surfin' the Western Mass. Web' along with lots of other neat local internet resources.