Springfield Museums Review
One of the most ambitious cultural venues in New England, this complex includes five impressive facilities, all for one ticket:
The Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, the most modest of the group, presents changing exhibits drawn from its collections of furniture, silver, industrial objects, autos, and firearms; its main draw is the in-depth genealogical library, where folks from all over the world come to research their family trees.
The must-see George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum houses a fascinating private art collection that includes 19th-century American paintings by Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt. A Japanese antiquities room is filled with armor, textiles, and porcelain, as well as carved jade and rock-crystal snuff bottles.
The Museum of Fine Arts has paintings by Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer, and J. Alden Weir, as well as 18th-century American paintings and contemporary works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Frank Stella, and George Bellows. Rotating exhibits are open throughout the year.
The Springfield Science Museum has an Exploration Center of touchable displays, the oldest operating planetarium in the United States, an extensive collection of stuffed and mounted animals, dinosaur exhibits, and the African Hall, through which you can take an interactive tour of that continent's flora and fauna.
The Museum of Springfield History opened in 2009 and tells the story of the town's manufacturing heritage. (Springfield was home to the former Indian Motorcycle Company, and the museum has a rich collection of Indian bikes and memorabilia.)
Also on the grounds is the free Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, an installation of five bronze statues depicting scenes from Theodore Geisel's famously whimsical children's books. Born in Springfield in 1904, Geisel was inspired by the animals at Forest Park Zoo, where his father served as director. The statues include a 4-foot Lorax, a giant "Horton Court" featuring the elephant and Things 1 and 2, Giesel at his desk, and a 10-foot-high book inscribed with the entire text of Oh the Places You'll Go!
- Address: 220 State St., at Chestnut St., Springfield, MA, 01103 | Map It
- Phone: 413/263-6800
- Cost: $12.50
- Hours: Museums Tue.--Sat. 10--5, Sun 11--5. Springfield History Library Archives Tues.--Fri. 11--4. Outdoor Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden daily 9--5
- Website: www.springfieldmuseums.org
- Location: Springfield
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