We were given admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum by 1Berkshire for a story for our Massachusetts vacations series. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun and our efforts to share family vacation ideas with our readers. As always all opinions are our own.
The Comfort and Familiarity Of Norman Rockwell Art
When I was growing up, a Norman Rockwell painting of Rockwell’s Stockbridge scene,”Home for Christmas” hung in my home. As I got older, I found other paintings of his that appealed to me and seeing Norman Rockwell prints was a comfort to me. The simplicity of his art with relatable scenes and emotional occasions can resonate with all ages and experiences. My children aren’t as familiar with Norman Rockwell as I was, but I felt a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Massachusetts would be a perfect introductory art museum for them.
This is not to say Rockwell is a beginner’s artist only! His work is considered the standard of excellence for American illustrators and the Norman Rockwell Museum is the Berkshires’ most popular year-round cultural attraction. Rockwell began his career at 17 years old and illustrated his first Saturday Evening Post cover at 22 years old. For 47 years he was associated with the publication and through it commented on social concerns, most famously by painting the Four Freedoms series. More than 700 Norman Rockwell paintings are in the collection of the museum, ranging from whimsical (check out “Bottom Drawer”) to serious (“Murder in Mississippi”).
The Norman Rockwell museum began in a historic home on the well known Stockbridge Main Street but no surprise, outgrew the space. The Norman Rockwell museum was relocated in 1993. The museum is now just a few miles from the familiar Stockbridge scene on 36 peaceful acres. It was an easy and obvious stop for us while we vacationed in the Berkshires for skiing.
The Art…Norman Rockwell Paintings, Prints, and Pictures
Maybe you’re like me and thinking, my rambunctious, short attention span kids in an art museum, with Norman Rockwell pictures, no thanks. In all the places they’ve been, an art museum never made it into our plans. With my experience with Rockwell and his kid-friendly, mostly light-hearted art, I thought it would be a great first start. I wasn’t wrong. Upon entering the Norman Rockwell museum just 10 days before Christmas, there was a large tree with a train display underneath. That welcoming sight put my two kids at ease and while the entry-level floor is all gallery (security guards and all), they found interest enough in the artwork that they were engaged. Norman Rockwell drew the average American, usually using local friends and family as models. My kids identified with the sports players, the girls wishing they were more glamorous, the family gatherings. My daughter fell in love with one particular landscape and said, “It makes me want to paint like that.” To me, that’s a successful visit.
Things to do at the Norman Rockwell Museum
While the entry level floor is all gallery (and gift shop), the downstairs of the Norman Rockwell Museum is a more kid-friendly space.
- A theater room loops a short film on Rockwell’s life, and 323 original Saturday Evening Post covers line the walls.
- An “art zone” room gives space (and tools!) for kids to get creative or at least take a seat.
- On warmer days, the grounds of the museum are open to visitors for picnics, walks or just fresh air. Special events and exhibitions can be found listed here.
- Daily gallery talks give more insight to the Norman Rockwell artwork, and iPad tours can help keep focus as you tour the gallery.
Our group spent just over an hour at the Norman Rockwell Museum, but if you’re there during a warm day you can plan on being there longer, exploring the grounds with site walks and even a picnic. Check their events schedule for kids art workshops or drop in camps. Make sure you check the gift shop for some new Norman Rockwell pictures for your walls at home!
More about The Norman Rockwell Museum
- See more Norman Rockwell pictures from our visit to The Norman Rockwell Museum in our Facebook Album.
- The Norman Rockwell is located at 9 Glendale Road in Stockbridge Massachusetts.
- Admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum is $20 for adults and FREE for ages 18 and under.
- The Norman Rockwell Museum is open 7 days a week except for major holidays, and hours change seasonally.
- You can learn more at their website at https://www.nrm.org.