The Berkshire Museum Pittsfield is a treasure trove of information, art, and delightful surprises. The Museum doesn’t focus on one area such as fine art or geology but instead celebrates all aspects of life and culture.
Visit Berkshire Museum Pittsfield
The Berkshire Museum is popular with residents and visitors. Families enjoy visiting this museum as it packs so much culture and interest into one space. Visitors can experience art, geology, ecology, and innovation without being overwhelmed.
History of the Berkshire Museum
The Berkshire Museum was founded in 1903 by paper businessman Zenas Crane. Crane was inspired by institutions such as the Smithsonian and wanted to create a museum that would enrich the area’s residents. Crane found artifacts and art from across the world and brought them to Western Massachusetts.
Collections and Exhibits
The original collection included paintings from the Hudson River School and works by Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt. The Berkshire Museum houses more than paintings. Visitors will find fossil collections, an Egyptian mummy, portions of ancient Babylonian tablets, and a 143-pound meteorite.
Exhibits feature examples of Berkshire’s natural environment, including minerals, stuffed birds, stuffed mammals, and examples of native plants.
Zenas Crane funded the first successful mission to the North Pole in 1908 and 1908. The Berkshire Museum exhibits several items from that famous trip, including a full-body fur suit. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing desk is also featured.
Animals of the World in Miniature
This exhibit is popular with children and adults alike. The museum displays 14 different miniature ecosystems, complete with representative sculpted and stuffed animals. Areas featured include the Arctic Ocean, African Water Hole, and Australia.
The Rocks and Minerals Gallery
The Rocks and Minerals Galleys houses the acclaimed 143-pound meteorite. Different rocks and minerals are displayed alongside art and objects that use the medium. For example, visitors will find a marble bust created by Henry Hudson Kitson. In addition, there’s a beautiful glass representation of the planets that has an innovative gear system to plot the planets’ locations.
The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation
The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation features stories of inventors from the Berkshires and their inventions. Visitors will learn about the first electrical transformer and explore how different innovations have impacted the world.
The Berkshire Museum displays a variety of influential artworks. Visitors will find impressive works by John Singleton Copley, Paul Cezanne, Rembrandt Peale, and Pierre Auguste Renoir.
The Berkshire Museum commissioned mobiles created by Alexander Calder in the 1930s. Calder became one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists. These inspirational mobiles are displayed in the museum’s theater.
The Berkshire Museum was the first museum to display Norman Rockwell’s art. They were also the first institution to display art by Andy Warhol, Nancy Graves, and Ellsworth Kelly.
The Berkshire Museum frequently loans parts of its collection to well-known museums such as the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Museum Aquarium
The Museum Aquarium features 35 different tanks with an assortment of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Visitors can see colorful clownfish and toothy piranhas. Other creatures include unique poison dart frogs, scorpions, and tarantulas.
The museum is involved in several conservation projects. For example, the museum hosts the endangered Red-bellied Cooters every year. The turtles spend their early months at the museum and are released when they are less vulnerable.
Experience the Berkshires
The Berkshires are filled with nature, art, history, and culture, and the best way to experience them all is while staying at one of the best hotels in The Berkshires.