Excuse the stoopid title. I tried to think of something pithy and one sentence-y, but failed. To say I love Rockwell's work would be to flirt with understatement. To say I am equally fond of the museum these days would be a big, fat fib.
This was my husband and my second visit to the museum. We had come here before with our two kids about ten years ago and loved it. Even our children were enthralled. The museum then was absolutely PACKED with his paintings and the audioguides that provide information about each work were free. The charge now is $5. With adult admission at $16, I thought the fee was chintzy. My husband acquired one and shared it with me, which earned us both a hairy eyeball from one of the staff members...*awkward segue into an observation about the staff*....While most of them were as warm and homespun as one would hope someone working in a Rockwell museum would be, my sister-in-law and I were practically terrorized by a hypervigilant lady who chastised my sister-in-law for pointing at a detail in a corner of a painting ("Her fingertip was a foot away! She wasn't going to touch it, honest!") and me for stepping two inches off the carpet onto the floor so that a lady in a wheelchair could pass by comfortably. Having decided that we were both Art Terrorists, she followed us throughout the exhibitions on the first floor.
There was also an exhibition of Pixar animation taking place in a room adjacent to one housing paintings. I understand that Steven Spielberg has contributed money to the museum, but the blaring of "Ice Age" was a discordant element we didn't appreciate.
The good? Well, Rockwell's work speaks for itself. It would be hard NOT to be moved by some of his iconic illustrations. The opportunity to see his studio is not to be missed. Most of the employees were delightful--friendly and full of information. The bucolic setting is paradise. Even the gift shop had some good deals.
My recommendation: if you are in the Berkshires, you should pony up the $16 and go. Stay on the carpeted areas of the museum, keep your hands to yourself, and share an audioguide with the one you love.
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