Monday, April 13, 2009

Free Admission in May in the Berkshires!

baystateparent received the following release from the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. If you take a drive there, have fun!

Berkshire Museum Announces Free Admission for Month of May

Pittsfield, Mass.: May is a month that’s particularly abundant with special days, including May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, International Museum Day, and Memorial Day. At Berkshire Museum there’s even more reason to celebrate in May because it’s offering free admission for the entire month. The recently renovated Museum, which turned 106 years old on April 1, has chosen May as the ideal month to offer Berkshire County residents and tourists alike the unique opportunity to experience the region’s most family-friendly museum at no charge.

According to Executive Director Stuart A. Chase, “We view this as one way of giving something back to our wonderful and supportive community. It’s our version of an economic—and cultural—stimulus program. We hope to encourage visitors, especially those who’ve never been here, or who last visited the Museum as children, to come and check us out."

Chase will host special behind-the-scenes tours of the Berkshire Museum’s collection each Tuesday morning in May at 10 a.m. The tours are one hour long and are limited to six guests, ages 10 and older, per tour. The director’s tours will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis on May 5, 12, 19, and 26. For a brief video preview of the tour, visit and click on “The Secret Storage Area at the Berkshire Museum.”

Those who haven't visited the museum in some time will notice many changes since renovations were completed in March 2008. There are new gallery spaces, such as the interactive and high-tech Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, which highlights the entrepreneurial and inventive spirit of the Berkshires. Visitors will also notice other recently renovated spaces and the state-of-the-art climate control.

Nostalgia-seeking visitors will also be pleased as many of the museum's classic exhibits, such as the mummy Pahat, Arctic explorer Matthew Henson’s amazing fur suit, and the ever-popular aquarium and touch tank are not only still here, but are actually doing better than ever with many updates and new technological

advances, especially for our mummy whose story has been further revealed (It's tempting to say unwrapped!)

Those experiencing Berkshire Museum for the first time will find a rich and storied facility where children can dig for dinosaur bones, adults can reflect in the art galleries and examine the layers of world history in the Ancient Civilization gallery. The entire family can also visit marine life and reptiles from around the world lurking in the museum's aquarium.

“They’ll have the chance to see our many new exhibitions and gallery spaces," said Chase. "I think people will be quite pleasantly surprised to see all that’s here in downtown Pittsfield."

Museum visitors will enjoy Race to the Top: Arctic Inspiration 1909 & Today, which has received highly positive reviews in the media and has been particularly popular with families and student groups. It explores the momentous attainment of the North Pole on April 6, 1909 by legendary Polar explorers Peary and Henson. Race to the Top will be on view through May 17, as will That ’70s Show which features a selection of artworks from the Museum’s collection that were created in the 1970s, many by noted artists with connections to Berkshire County. Opening on May 23 and running through May 31 will be an exhibition of vintage timepieces from the Museum’s collection called Vintage Time.

On May 22, Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema will open its 59th season with the acclaimed film Frozen River (2008), written and directed by local writer/director Courtney Hunt. Little Cinema screens first-run foreign and independent films with nightly screenings at 8 p.m., plus Monday matinees at 2 p.m. The 8 p.m. screening of Frozen River on Memorial Day, May 25, will be free to the general public.

Little Cinema will be closed on May 30 for the Museum’s wine auction, and will reopen on May 31.

When the galleries exhibiting Race to the Top close on May 17, installation begins for the Museum’s next new show called Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, a blockbuster traveling exhibition organized by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. This family-favorite will be on view at Berkshire Museum from June 13 through November 1.

“Frogs: A Chorus of Colors will showcase a large and varied assortment of living frogs from all over the world. Berkshire Museum will be transformed with peaceful waterfalls and the sonorous sounds of frogs. Children and adults alike will be immersed in the sights and sounds of some of the most colorful and fascinating creatures on the planet,” Chase added.

May is membership month at Berkshire Museum. Special membership offers for new and renewing family members include a complimentary Webkinz frog. Museum members who upgrade their annual memberships to the $100 and higher levels will receive an extra three months of membership—extending benefits through the summer of 2010, when the Museum premieres a new exhibition about mummies called Wrapped!

May’s free admission does not include special programs, performances or films screened in the Little Cinema.

Berkshire Museum will be closed on Memorial Day.

Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street on Route 7 in downtown Pittsfield Berkshire Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Other than the month of free admission in May 2009, admission is $10 adults, $5 children 3-18. Members and children under 3 are admitted free. For more information, contact the Berkshire Museum at 413.443.7171, ext. 10, or frontdesk@

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