If you are looking for great things to do in Western Massachusetts, you will certainly find that the area has much to offer. In this second of a four-part series, we will explore the numerous museums, historic locations, gardens and more within the region.
Eric Carle Museum
Dedicated to children’s picture-book art, the Eric Carle Museum hopes “to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books”. In addition to offering a dose of nostalgia, the museum takes a socially-conscious perspective when choosing which books to highlight. For example, the Coretta Scott Illustrator awards area features African-American authors and illustrators while another special exhibit pays homage to the LGBTQ community.
The museum also offers a number of educational opportunities and fun classes that are open to the public. Current course offerings include Create with The Carle! Printmaking for Adults 55 and Older and the Everyday Art Program: Painting in Three Dimensions! The museum also regularly hosts the Toddler and Preschool Play Series: Open Book, Open Play, where participants can enjoy an interactive storytime followed by time to play, move and explore art materials.
The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst.
Children’s Museum at Holyoke
Considered to be one of the best children’s museum’s in the area, the Children’s Museum at Holyoke offers exhibits that focus on interactivity and play. Among these is the World of Motion exhibit, which teaches STEM through levers and pulleys while keeping kids entertained. The Holyoke Heritage State Park outside of the museum, which features an antique carousel with hand-carved horses, is also worth a visit. The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is located at 444 Dwight Street in Holyoke.
Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge’s Norman Rockwell Museum contains the largest collection of Rockwell’s work. Among these are more than 900 illustrations and the famous Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell’s drawing studio, which is also located at the museum, can be visited from May through October where additional paintings and furniture from his studio can be viewed. After visiting the museum, which is located at 9 Glendale Road, take some time to walk around the town of Stockbridge to see additional Rockwell works throughout the community.
Dubbed “a weird and wonderful place” by the New York Times, MASS MoCa, or the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, boasts the largest space fro contemporary visual art in the country. Situated in a former 19th-century factory on a campus spanning 250,000 square feet, the museum is geared toward art novices and lovers alike. Most of the museum’s buildings are devoted to displays, including the virtual-reality installation of Laurie Anderson.
With a concert venue capable of holding 10,000 people added to the museum campus in 2010, MASS MoCa has become the go-to place for performing arts. The museum also offers a wide range of engagement opportunities for teachers, students, teenagers, adults and families. Among these are school-time performances, guided tours, artist talks and art camps. The museum is located at 1040 MASS MoCa Way in North Adams.