The Cape Cod Museum of Art and Highfield Hall are among 55 museums featured by the Huffington Post in its list of top 55 institutions.
“Think World Class Art Museums in the Northeast USA and big city “majors” come to mind: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to start,” The Huffington Post reported.
“Of course, all of these institutions are worthy of note, and are covered extensively by the press. But there are other museums that, though they might take up a fraction of the real estate and square footage (read: less overwhelming), are equally worthy of your time – and just might surprise you.”
The list of museums extends from Maine to Virginia, and there are 10 museums cited in Massachusetts.
This is what The Huffington Post has to say about our Cape Cod museums:
Cape Cod Museum of Art. With more than its share of famous artists, Cape Cod residents were irritated by the fact that much of what was created here was shipped off Cape into the hands of collectors. This beautiful sunlit soaring space was built to keep at least some key pieces of art “on Cape.” Two main gallery rooms – one featuring a soaring ship-hull ceiling –best reflect the 30 art exhibitions mounted each year.
Highfield Hall and Gardens. This “saved from the wrecking ball” mansion is open to the public as an art museum/gallery/cultural center, where paintings and sculptures mesh harmoniously with graceful architectural elements like floral and geometric stained glass, Majolica tiled fireplaces, crown molding, wainscoting, picture windows, and oriental carpets on hardwood floors.
The other eight institutions in Massachusetts are:
Williamstown: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute aka “The Clark.” Like any world-class art museum named after a person or family, The Clark’s foundation was based on a private collection. Sterling and Francine Clark; he a wealthy soldier/adventurer, she, a Parisian actress, amassed a trove of French Impressionist art. The “heart of the collection,” first exhibited here in 1955, remains the best of these impressionists, though after a much heralded $145 million expansion in 2014, there are many more treasures to be found here.
North Adams: MassMoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). Housed in a restored 19th century mill complex, you’ll find massive sculptural, projection and painted installations from the likes of Sol LeWitt and Anselm Kiefer throughout a labyrinth of rooms. The 26-building compound, which once housed a textile dye factory, Arnold Print Works, known for its cutout Victorian cat and dog pillows, and then Sprague Electric (1930-1985), is now a cutting-edge world-renowned art museum, performance space, the fine Gramercy Bistro restaurant, book publishers, lawyer and accountant offices, and other repurposed spaces.
Salem: Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). Heralded as one of the top 20 museum in the USA, the Peabody Essex is also the oldest continuously operating museum in the country with the nation’s first collection of Asian Export artifacts, one of the best maritime collections and a top-ten children’s interactive museum. Following Independence, American ships were barred from most European ports, necessitating more far-flung expeditions. Our young and intrepid citizenry set course for unexplored lands, leading to trade with China and India, and creating fortunes for many. In 1799 a group of young merchants and explorers met over drinks to discuss the establishment of a museum to showcase collected artifacts from their world travels. The original Greek Revival Mariner’s Hall, built in 1825, still displays these early collections – and thousands more since.
Worcester: Worcester Art Museum (WAM). Walk through the Salisbury entrance of this magnificent, should-be-on-everyone’s bucket-list museum and right into Ancient Rome. The Antioch “Hunt” Mosaic – the largest Roman mosaic in North America, excavated alongside archeologists from Princeton and others – is just one astounding feature here. Perhaps you caught a glimpse of the Hunt Mosaic as Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale climb the Italian-Palazzo like stairs to the Rembrandt where they ponder, “who’s the master; the artist or the forger?” in the movie, American Hustle.
Rockport: Rockport Art Association. Established in 1920, this is one of the country’s oldest art associations, and still important to regional artists. With multiple buildings, the Rockport Art Association is much larger than it first appears. You walk in to a beautiful old home, encompassing a series of galleries, and then out the back door to a large barn-like structure housing much more.
W. Stockbridge: Norman Rockwell Museum. Rockwell was born in 1894 and died in 1978, bearing witness to both the first flight at Kitty Hawk and the Moon Landing – along the way illustrating Tradition and the Past while honoring the American Spirit.
Springfield: D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Situated in a 1930’s Art Deco building, this Museum (one of 5 within the Springfield Museums complex) has assembled the usual suspects – Remington, O’Keefe, Winslow Homer, European artists, etc. – and the country’s only permanent gallery dedicated to art created to grace the homes of the middle class, the lithographs of Currier and Ives.
Fitchburg: Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM). Industrial, depressed, in transition Fitchburg has a museum of art. Yes, you can laugh, but new management has breathed refreshed life into the realized dream of impressionist artist, Eleanor Norcross, who, in 1925, hired one of the first all-female architectural firms, Lois Lilley Howe, Eleanor Manning and Mary Almy to design the Fitchburg Art Center (now Museum).