Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why no one is at the Fitchburg Art Museum

On a very hot day, on a drive back from the Berkshires, I tried to let my mind and steering wheel do the wandering for me, so as to discover something new to stimulate my mind besides the Netflix Watch Instantly feature and managing the shared In Box.

Fitchburg is one of the formerly-great Central Mass milltowns, in this case paper, and is still considered a working man's town off Rt 2, halfway between the plastics factories and the furniture mills.

And they have an art museum. Eleanor Norcross, the Isabella Stewart Gardner of her region (minus the villa and the lion). Eleanor was an artist and a collector, a small-town girl with a dream to give back, whose musuem finally opened in 1927.

And it is a lovely collection and a lovely museum, with an active children's program, a multi-cultural sensibility, and an architecture that somehow makes it larger inside than it is out.

The day I arrived, they seemed surprised to see me. I may have been their only visitor that day.

The parking is confusing
By that I mean, there are 6 spaces inside a courtyard, and the modern SUV would not fit through that space. When I asked if where I had parked (on a side street) was all right, they said, "This is ah pahkin right hee-ya." loudly.

The docents are hard-of-hearing
Which is a great book title. They holler to each other through walkie-talkies across the galleries, but then I suppose they are not very used to disturbing visitors.

The "cool stuff" is in the basement
Myself, I don't care about Egyptology, but it is what brings the kids in. People want a mummy.
And the FAM has one, as well as a reconstructed tomb chamber. Wander into the basement, and you encounter the work of Joseph Lindon Smith, who specialized in reproducing tomb art in actual size and detail. It's quite impressive, if you can find it.

The cool stuff is owned by the MFA
So maybe no one knows it is there.

They misspelled "Egyptian" on their website
And that's damned unfortunate.

Not enough fuss about Eleanor Norcross
I suppose if you grow up in Fitchburg, and you came here as a kid, you got the whole tour. And if you didn't, why would you be here? I wanted a book from the giftshop.

There is no giftshop.

There is no cafe.
There was an honor system coffee cart, but it was closed.

So go for the art. There is at least 1 of everything you like -- a Copley, a Sargeant, an O'Keefe -- pre-Columbian, African, Greek and Egyptian, some decorative arts/China trade stuff. And they exhibit local living artists, which is also nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments Build Community! We thank you for yours. Spam comments are not welcome and will not be posted.