Williamstown is tucked into the northwest corner of Massachusetts, near both the Vermont and New York state borders; it’s named after Colonel Ephraim Williams, who died in the French and Indian War in 1755 and on whose land the town was founded.
There is so much to discover in this rich and varied area that you will feel truly spoiled for choice. And The Orchards places everything right at your doorstep. Our knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer any of your questions about the area or to offer assistance in making a reservation. Get ready to explore.
In 1950 Sterling and Francine Clark chartered the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a home for their extensive art collection. Opened to the public in 1955, the Institute has built upon this extraordinary group of works to become one of the most beloved and respected art museums in the world, known for its intimate galleries and stunning natural environment. One of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with research and academic programs, including a major art history library, the Clark is now a leading international center for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history. Building upon the founders’ legacy, the Institute recently completed its master plan for the twenty-first century. This final phase of a transformational campus expansion program adds new facilities to support the growth of museum and academic programs; enhances the visitor experience of the Clark; improves circulation throughout the campus; and creates new levels of environmental sustainability across its 140-acre grounds while maintaining the unique character of its beautiful rural setting.
For more information visit www.clarkart.edu
In 1903, Berkshire Museum founder Zenas Crane, inspired by such institutions as the American Museum for Natural Science, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, decided to blend the best attributes of these establishments in a new museum for the people of Western Massachusetts. Thanks in large part to Crane’s efforts, the broad and varied collections of Berkshire Museum include objects from virtually every continent, from important fine art and sculpture to natural science specimens and ancient artifacts.
Berkshire Museum has exhibited works by some of the most accomplished artists from the United States and abroad: Gilbert Stuart, Rembrandt Peale, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Sully, Paul Cézanne, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and John Singer Sargent. In the 1930s, the Berkshire Museum was the first to commission two site-specific mobiles (then a unique form of art) from Alexander Calder, who became one of the most significant artists in the 20th century. The mobiles can be seen in the theater, on either side of the proscenium. In the 1950s, the Berkshire Museum was the first to display the work of Norman Rockwell as well as pieces by artists that challenged convention, such as Andy Warhol, Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, and Nancy Graves.
For more information visit www.berkshiremuseum.org
The Shakers are one of the most intriguing religious movements in American history, and considered among the most successful utopian societies ever to have flourished in this country. A religious order whose members believe in pacifism, celibacy, and communal living, Shaker religious expression took the form of singing and ecstatic dance, which is why they were called the “Shaking Quakers,” or “Shakers.” There are currently no Shakers living at Hancock, although members continue to live at other Shaker communities.
Shakers came to America from Manchester, England, in 1774, when Ann Lee led eight Shaker converts here seeking freedom to live, work, and worship. The Hancock settlement was founded in 1783, and was active through 1960.
The Shakers have made important contributions to American culture in their art, architecture, craftsmanship, music, government, agriculture, and commerce. They are renowned today for their plain architecture and furniture.
The Hancock community, the third of nineteen major Shaker villages established in New England, New York, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, grew under the leadership of Joseph Meacham and Lucy Wright, with land donated by converted farmers. At the peak of its success in the 1840s, the Hancock community had more than 3,000 acres and 300 members. The community gradually declined, in part due to the urban migration that followed the Industrial Revolution. By the early 1900s, only 50 members remained, most of them children. Eventually, excess land was sold and many buildings were destroyed. Concerned citizens stepped in to preserve the Village in the 1960s.
Today, the 750-acre Hancock Shaker Village operates as a living-history museum open to the public with 20 authentic Shaker buildings, costumed interpreters, rich collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts in rotating exhibits, a full schedule of activities and workshops, a mile-long hiking trail and picnic areas, a Village Store and Village Cafe, and a working farm with extensive gardens and heritage-breed livestock.
For more information visit www.hancockshakervillage.org
The Bennington Museum was founded as the Bennington Historical Association in 1852 to celebrate Bennington's Colonial past and, more specifically, to commemorate the historic Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington in 1777. Over the years our mission has expanded to preserve and interpret the rich heritage of southern Vermont and neighboring regions as well as providing a venue for visual and performing arts that enriches our community and our world.
Over time the museum acquired paintings and sculpture by Vermont artists, children's toys, maps, books, and military artifacts. We are proud of our extensive collection including vintage portraits of early settlers by Ammi Phillips; our unique Ralph Earl townscape; a Windsor writing-arm chair owned by Ira Allen, a founder of Vermont and author of the State's constitution; and the world's largest collection of Bennington pottery. Read more...
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. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.
For more information visit www.massmoca.org
The Williams College Museum of Art is located on the campus of Williams, a liberal arts college, in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
An active, collecting museum, we feature a broad range of exhibitions that challenge assumptions about art, history, and the world in which we live. We look forward to welcoming you to our museum. All of our exhibitions and programs are free and open to all.
For more information visit www.wcma.williams.edu
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. The Norman Rockwell Archive contains more than 100,000 photographs, letters, and other rare mementos.
A visit to the Museum is an uplifting experience. Founded in 1969 with the help of Norman and Molly Rockwell, the Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of the work of America’s favorite artist. The Museum’s changing Norman Rockwell exhibitions present an illustrated chronicle of American life and showcase our nation’s ideals of kindness, tolerance, democracy, and freedom, as interpreted through the artist’s spirit, wisdom, and gentle humor.
For more information visit www.nrm.org