FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2020
Berkshire Cultural Sites Plan to Reopen With Message to Community: We Are Here for You
BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MA—Seven of the region’s revered cultural museums, gardens, and historic sites that share a history of great estates and utopian vision—Berkshire Botanical Garden, Chesterwood, Hancock Shaker Village, Naumkeag Public Garden and Historic Home, Norman Rockwell Museum, Tanglewood (grounds only), and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home—announce their plans to welcome visitors for the summer.
Located within a few minutes drive of each other, tucked into a scenic corner of the central and southern Berkshires, many of these great manors, properties, and historic communities reveal centuries-old stories and important cultural contributions. Sharing the distinctions of noted tourism destinations, these attractions offer art, history, nature, and culture, with extraordinary outdoor experiences in wide-open natural beauty, perfect for exploring from safe social distances.
Upon Governor Baker’s announcement reopening the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for public business, these beloved cultural treasures hold promise for a rejuvenating and uplifting healthy summer season in the Berkshires, despite the disappointing cancellation of many of the region’s performing art seasons due to the business and safety impacts of the pandemic. The Berkshires have long been a peaceful mecca for travelers, artists, writers, musicians, inventors, farmers, and those who seek inspiration from the land. With undulating hills for hiking and climbing, lakes, rivers, trails, and abundant open space, summer in the Berkshires offers the much-needed rejuvenation of the spirit following months of quarantine that globally disrupted public life.
With unique assets, their combined 1,300 acres of expansive and historic landscapes offer escape and refuge in nature to enjoy in outdoor settings, miles of trails, walking paths, gardens, park-like grounds, and historical landscapes. Visitors can encounter sculptures, baby animals, flowering gardens, art, music, architecture, history, contemporary installations, picnicking, botanical delights, and more.
“As the region slowly begins to reopen and as people seek spiritual nourishment, these properties promise to deliver what they have always offered—beauty, escape, inspiration, and creativity—perhaps needed now more than ever,” noted Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum.
From Hawthorne to Edith Wharton; from Daniel Chester French to Norman Rockwell; from a 200-year-old utopian Shaker settlement to the gardens of Naumkeag and the Berkshire Botanical Garden; travelers and settlers have for centuries chosen the Berkshires for creativity, renewal, and inspiration and it is no different now.
Engagement and learning opportunities will be present at the seven institutions this summer through exhibitions, informational signage, digital apps (downloadable on personal devices), and safely distanced programs, including baby animals, art and sculpture, music, and more amidst breathtaking scenic vistas and landscapes, sculpted and natural.
“Our thoughts are with everyone during this difficult health crisis, but especially all our friends, neighbors, and supporters in the Berkshires. We are determined to do our part, with all our sister arts and cultural organizations, to rebuild the extraordinary cultural community that is unique to the Berkshire region,” said Mark Volpe, BSO President and CEO. “Though we understand that nothing takes the place of live performance, I hope everyone who loves Tanglewood will take advantage of the diverse offerings featured throughout the summer.”
The venues that will open have the ability to offer visitors acres of outside grounds, and are dedicated to creating fun and safe experiences while following state and federal guidelines. (See https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information.) Each property is reopening in unique and individual ways, inviting visitors to start outdoors. Please visit each institution’s website for guidance and specific instructions.
“Our seven museums and historic sites offer many miles of trails and walking paths,” said Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Director of Hancock Shaker Village. “For those desiring culture in the great outdoors, we’ve got you covered.”
“The bloom of these mountains is beyond expression delightful,” wrote Herman Melville in 1855, “Each tuft of upland grass is musked like a bouquet with perfume.” Though the hills may not be filled with music this year, the attraction hasn’t changed.
PRESS CONTACTS AND MORE INFORMATION
Berkshire Botanical Garden: berkshirebotanical.org; Robin Parow; [email protected]; 413.320.4795
Chesterwood: chesterwood.org; Margaret Cherin; [email protected]; 413.298.2034
Hancock Shaker Village: HancockShakerVillage.org; Amanda Powers; [email protected]; 518.928.9888
The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home: EdithWharton.org; Rebecka McDougall; [email protected]; 413.551.5115
Naumkeag Historic Home and Garden: thetrustees.org/naumkeag; Brian Cruey; [email protected]
Norman Rockwell Museum: nrm.org Alyssa Stüble; [email protected]; 570.335.7916
Tanglewood: tanglewood.org; Bernadette Horgan; [email protected]; 617.638.9285