Two years of research and planning culminate in a $20 million New Vision for the historic Berkshire Museum, situated in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
The Berkshire Museum has been a focus for science, history, and the arts in the region since 1903. The plan is to build on this legacy and create a radical fresh approach for visitors. Rather than focusing on one discipline, the aim is to explore interdisciplinary connections between history, science and the arts.
”We are so proud of this thrilling new vision for the Museum,” says Elizabeth McGraw, president of the Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees. “It was important to take bold steps to address our financial challenges and to affirm that the Berkshire Museum of the future will reflect the growing needs of our community.”
The ambitious plan is expected to cost $20 million. The Museum will also create a new endowment of at least $40 million to provide financial stability for the future. This is largely being funded through the sale of artworks in the Museum’s collection. These include two Norman Rockwell paintings.
New interpretive techniques and cutting-edge technology will galvanise the museum experience. Active teaching laboratories will take the place of static museum galleries.
The mission statement of the Museum is: “To bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring, educational connections among art, history, and natural science.”
Visitors will be able to explore five themed zones: Our Living World, Our Human Fabric, Make & Create, Shaping History, and Perceive & Process. A much expanded and improved aquarium will highlight life in the streams and ponds of New England. The museum’s iconic Egyptian mummy Pahat will play an important role in the Human Fabric zone.
“The Berkshire Museum’s plan for a major investment in our city will greatly accelerate Pittsfield’s ongoing transformation,” says Mayor Linda Tyer. “I’m thrilled that the Museum is doubling down on its well-known dedication to meet community needs.”
“Pittsfield’s economy is on the rise, and we know that arts and culture is a driving force behind that,” adds State Senator Adam G. Hinds. “Cultural attractions help to revitalize downtowns and the Berkshire Museum is a cornerstone of that effort.”
Images: Berkshire Museum