Mark your calendars for a Cape Ann Museum visit this week. I’ll follow up in a part 2 post after I visit inside. Happy sea serpent seeking!
Spring News from Cape Ann Museum
April Vacation Week Thursday, April 22 – Sunday, April 25
Free Museum entrance to all families with children under 18
Take a break from the screen and come visit the Cape Ann Museum with your kids during April Vacation Week! Reserve timed entrance for you and your family to follow the Museum’s new family-friendly guide, Cassie the Sea Serpent, by Michael Grimaldi, through the galleries. Inspired by the Cape Ann Sea Serpent, which was seen by hundreds in Gloucester Harbor between 1817-1819, Cassie poses questions and activities for students of all ages to engage with the collection. During April Vacation Week, all visitors will receive a free copy of Cassie’s Scavenger Hunt with activities and crayons included.
About the Artist: Gloucester-born artist Michael Grimaldi is a local muralist, graphic designer, and Monserrat College of Art graduate who now lives in Beverly.
For more information about the Museum, its programs, exhibits, and collections, visit www.capeannmuseum.org.
“In 2019, a nine-foot bronze sculpture of the Gloucester Sea Serpent was installed at the Museum’s front entrance. It was designed by Essex artist Chris Williams who has created a scaled-down version of his serpent for families to take home during the vacation week.”
– Cape Ann Museum
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woodcut illustration for 1890 Boston Globe article | photos: c. ryan, mostly 2021
The first Massachusetts home featured in this Boston Globe historic house article was Gloucester’s “Ellery house”, as a classic First Period saltbox:
“OLD HOMES, OLD FAMILIES. Houses in New England, Each of Which Has for Three or More Generations Sheltered the Same Race. Romances Drawn from Wood and Brick
The Sunday Globe begins today to publish stories and pictures of old New England homesteads which have sheltered at least three generations of the families now living in them.
This is not so endless a task as some may suppose it to be. New England, no doubt, contains a greater number of old houses than any other division of the country, but it is rare indeed to find one among those that has been long in the possession of the same family. Such a shifting of ownerships may reflect the growing prosperity of the original occupants who perchance have built greater homes than those of their fathers, but often the disappearance of the inheritors of these ancestral houses signifies either the utter extinction or the scattering and breaking up of the family.
The sketches in this series opening today appeal, therefore, in a peculiar way to the public curiosity, and the Sunday Globe would thank any of its readers if they would call attention to any houses within their own knowledge which may be occupied by a family who have possessed the property through three or more generations continuously or otherwise.
There are various periods in the history of Gloucester house building, each marked quite as distinctly to the architectural student as the different strata of the earth’s crust indicate to the geologist the various periods of formation. In the case of the old houses of note it may be said that they all belonged to the upper crust.
The houses of the first settlers of Gloucester, with rare exceptions, have long since been replaced by others of more elaborate design, and the few remaining in the suburbs are small one-story edifices of no particular architectural pretensions.
In common with Boston, Salem, Newburyport and other colonial seaports, Gloucester once owned a large fleet of ships, brigs and barks, that sailed to foreign ports, exchanging the products of the town and of the county for Spanish gold and Surinam molasses, which was converted into New England rum.
These merchants built commodious residences and dispensed a hospitality commensurate with their position as leaders of the social and intellectual life of the town.
The most historic edifice in town is the Ellery house, which stands just below the old meeting house green on Washington street in Riverdale, a suburb of the town.
It was built by Rev. John White shortly after he came here in 1702 to minister to the spiritual wants of the First Parish, receiving a grant of land from the town on which to build his home. At that time the main settlement was in that portion of the community, but the necessities of commerce and fishing made it convenient for the inhabitants to remove nearer the seashore, deserting their first habitations on what is now known as “Dogtown Common,” where the remains of their cellars can still be traced today.
The type of architecture is well portrayed by the accompanying cut. On the projection which overhangs the lower story in front there were four balls pendant, a style of decoration of the times, which have long been removed.
Inside, the old-fashioned low studded style of room is at once apparent, and the antique furnishings and general air of the place make one realize more vividly the age of the house and fixtures, which are of a nature to bring joy to the heart of an antiquarian.
Some of the furniture in the parlor is about 200 years old. The house was bought in 1710 by Capt. William Ellery, and it still remains in the hands of his direct descendants, the occupants being John Ellery and his wife. Thus it will be seen that it has been in this family 150 years.
The purchaser of the house was a son of the original settler, William Ellery. The Ellery family were prominent in the social and intellectual life of the place from the first, being leading merchants. Hon. Benjamin Ellery, called in the family “Admiral,” was the eldest brother of William. He went from Gloucester and settled in Rhode Island and was the father of Deputy Gov. William Ellery and grandfather of William Ellery who signed the Declaration of Independence, the signer being a grandnephew of the first owner of the house.”
The White Ellery House is part of the Cape Ann Museum collection. There are inaccuracies in the 1890 nutshell above. James Stevens and the tavern he operated is absent. The rum trade is acknowledged; any NE slave trade economic connections are not. [Massachusetts was the first colony to legalize slavery. Vermont was the first to abolish (VT 1777 vs. MA 1783).] The article predates the build out of Rt. 128 which rallied a preservation relocation.
Maybe CAM might commission a set of woodcuts of the historic properties as they are now by various local artists.
Beautiful improvements on the grounds of Cape Ann Museum
note: pinch and zoom or double click to enlarge photos.
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“the Cape Ann Museum, a showcase for work by local artists of sometimes international reputation and a generous gallimaufry of objects relating to local history, the fishing industry, granite quarrying, and the immigrant communities that have kept Gloucester vibrant. Boats and the sea are its leitmotifs.
Founded in 1875, renamed in 2007, it is no longer the modest historical society it began as, but a real art museum.”
Willard Spiegelman WSJ article published 3/4/2021
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“…an around-town stroll to the many houses and scenes painted by Edward Hopper on his five extended painting journeys here. They’re captivating, and in one case, crushing: The spectacular mansard-roofed captain’s house perched high on a Rocky Neck cliff that Hopper painted in 1924 now shares its view of Gloucester Harbor with a sprawling McMansion next door whose aesthetic might best be described as haute Florida strip mall.”
Register for Cape Ann Museum upcoming walks like Feb. 20 (Spiritual history) and Feb. 27 (Edward Hopper) HERE
Happy to see the Cape Ann Museum guided walking tours featured!
Not to worry! The historic house on Clarendon is gorgeous. Edward Hopper customized his take on Gloucester vistas, as did artists before him.
Here is the Gardner Wonson home (built circa 1873) in horse and buggy days, a scene cropped for commercial keepsake photographs published by the Procter Brothers who were flying high in the 1870s [collection New York Public Library].
This home was an architectural attraction Hopper may have seen before he stepped foot off the train for his first visit to Gloucester.
In 1846 entrepreneurial publishing dynamos and developers, brothers Francis with George H. Procter, set up a book and printing shop. By 1850 they moved to Main Street. As the business grew, their news dispatch morphed from “Procter’s Able Sheet” to “Gloucester Advertiser” to “Cape Ann Advertiser”, and then in 1888 to “Gloucester Daily Times”. By 1892 the printing press for the newspaper branch alone could churn out 4000 papers, eight pages long, every hour (see Pringle). Any small business operating for decades and successive generations will suffer its share of adversity. Procter Brothers was leveled not once but twice by fire, and rebuilt. They published or were the go to printers for all manner of media: books, periodicals, photographs, lithographs, even a circulating library from their headquarters in 1874; building back and then some after that 2nd conflagration. The Wonson home was featured in a tourist photograph series, “Cape Ann Scenery”.
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“An Off Season Stroll Through Edward Hopper’s Vision of Gloucester” Boston Globe article by Diane Bair and Pamela Wright. Reporters enjoyed a wonderful Cape Ann Museum Walking Tour followed up by a visit to Cape Ann Brewery. Read the piece here
Image: Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), The Western Shore with Norman’s Woe, 1862. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Isabel Babson Lane, 1946 [1147.c]
The Cape Ann Museum is preparing to re-open its main campus at 27 Pleasant Street to the public on Oct. 1 with new safety precautions for social distancing, reduced capacity, touch-less doors, increased cleaning, and other measures that adhere to Gov. Baker’s Phase 3 re-opening plan and to protect the public while enjoying the Museum’s renowned art and maritime collections.
Museum members will be invited to return to the Pleasant Street campus on Sept. 24, and the Museum’s new Cape Ann Museum Green off Grant Circle will open to the public on Sept. 17 including the contemporary archival collections storage and public exhibition space, the Janet & William Ellery James Center.
At the new Cape Ann Museum Green, visitors will see a selection of images from The Porch-Rait Project, photographs of Gloucester families taken early in the COVID 19 pandemic as a benefit to The Open Door. Tickets for both sites may be reserved at www.camuseum.eventbrite.com.
“We are overjoyed to announce that we can re-open with the necessary precautions required by the state,” said Museum Director Oliver Barker. “As the global pandemic hit in March, we closed our doors to protect the staff and public. Since then, I think we have all been feeling the need to return to a place of inspiration, to see art that reminds us of the beautiful places in which we live, and to feel a sense of normalcy again by visiting the Museum and our new Cape Ann Museum Green campus.”
When visitors return to Pleasant Street on Oct. 1, they will see a newly re-installed and updated Lane Gallery, showcasing the work of marine artist Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865). They will also be able to view three special exhibitions: Tom and T.M. Nicholas: A Father and Son’s Journey in Paint, which has been extended through November 1; Odds Were Against Me, featuring works by 20th century sculptors, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington and Katharine Lane Weems, on view through January 3, 2021; and Our Souls are by Nature Equal to Yours, an exhibit exploring the life of early feminist writer Judith Sargent Murray, on view through November 8.
Here are some of the precautionary measures that the Museum will be taking when it re-opens:
The Museum will have limited opening hours from Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow for ample cleaning. The time slot of 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. will be reserved for high risk populations to visit.
photo caption: Cape Ann Museum Green campus with a view from the new12,000 square foot Janet & William Ellery James Center out to the campus which includes three historic buildings (from right to left) the White Ellery House (1710), an adjacent Barn (c. 1740), and the Babson-Alling House (c.1740), all located on the site at the intersection of Washington and Poplar Streets in Gloucester. Photo by Steve Rosenthal, 2020.
NEWS FROM CAPE ANN MUSEUM:
Cape Ann Museum Green campus taking shape with landscaping, solar panels, and final touches
GLOUCESTER, MASS. (August 2020) – Preparations for Cape Ann Museum Green, the Museum’s new campus off Grant Circle and Route 128 in Gloucester, have continued over the summer with further grass and new trees planted as part of an overall landscape design that will aesthetically combine three historic buildings on the property with a new contemporary archival collections storage and public exhibition space called the Janet & William Ellery James Center.
Designed to dramatically expand the Museum’s community, contemporary art and educational offerings, the almost four-acre campus is home to the three historic structures, the White Ellery House (1710), an adjacent Barn (c. 1740), and the Babson-Alling House (c.1740), all located on the site at the intersection of Washington and Poplar Streets in Gloucester. The new 12,000-square foot James Center includes 2,000 square feet of flexible exhibition and community programming space designed to reach broader audiences with new exhibits and public programs. The James Center was built to LEED Platinum standards and was designed by Boston-based designLAB. Integral to the building’s environmental footprint is the installation later this year of a 173KW Solar Array system on the building’s roof, and with recent city approval temporary art banners are now planned for the building’s Route 128 facing exterior.
“It has been thrilling to watch Cape Ann Museum Green evolve over the, last year” said Oliver Barker, the Museum’s Director. “This unique location, visible at the entrance to Cape Ann, offers a historic connection from the 1700s until today. The Museum’s mission is to celebrate our rich, diverse and deep history here on Cape Ann while also continually discovering new works by contemporary artists. This property symbolically brings all of that together in one place as the Gateway to Cape Ann.”
This pivotal Museum initiative has been in development since 2017 and was led by a Cape Ann Museum Green Committee chaired by William (Wilber) James. “The Museum is indebted to Wilber and his Committee, which includes Sam Holdsworth, Norm Chambers, John Cunningham, Stephanie Benenson, Dick Carlson and Suzi Natti, with encouragement and support from Board Chair Charles Esdaile, for their leadership, vision and commitment to creating a new cultural experience for our community and for visitors to Cape Ann,” Barker said.
“We are but threads in the fabric of life, building on the efforts of those who came before us and setting the stage for future generations” said Wilber James. “This property builds on the vision of our forebears and we invite others to join the Cape Ann Museum today in setting the stage for the future as a leading regional museum of American art that is relevant and engages our community.”
The James Center will provide critical state-of-the-art storage for the Museum’s expanding collections as well as the community space for education and art installations. Landscaping has been progressing since spring with the planting of dozens of indigenous trees, shrubs, and flowers alongside the campus’s notable fieldstone wall constructed from stones found throughout the property. A sculpture park at the campus is envisioned for the future.
photo caption: (Left) Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863, oil on canvas, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA, gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 [779.02] (Right) Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, 1863, oil on canvas, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA, gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 [779.03].
The bucolic Cape Ann Museum Green property was the subject of three Fitz Henry Lane paintings in 1863, two of which are now at the Cape Ann Museum. View of the Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, shows the Route 128 side of the property, while The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, looking from the rear of the Babson-Alling House, with its meticulously rendered field stone wall and gate provided the framework on which the CAM Green perimeter field stone wall and new entry gates, all designed and crafted by local Gloucester artisans, were recently installed to recall that historic time..
Due to the pandemic, the official opening of Cape Ann Museum Green has been postponed until June 2021, but news about opportunities for the public to see the campus in socially distant appropriate ways starting in mid-September is forthcoming.
The creation of the Cape Ann Museum Green campus is a critical component of the Museum’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan and the commitment to enhance facilities by providing space for current holdings and anticipating future strategic collection growth in a sophisticated climate-controlled and highly secure building.
Signs of the times: Creativity in the time of Covid-19
Cape Ann Museum is offering a special cultural tour. Enjoy special sites connected to art and history from your boat!
“Participating vessels will be guided along the coast of Cape Ann on a tour that highlights spots that were fundamentally important in the careers of many of America’s greatest artist, including Fitz Henry Lane, Winslow Homer, Jane Peterson, Edward Hopper, Milton Avery, Mark Rothko and more!”
Cape Ann Museum leads wonderful walking tours, too.
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Excerpt from ‘The Uncertain Future of Places That Preserve America’s Past’
“Thanks to the City’s infamous witch trials, the historic homes and gardens on the Salem, Mass., waterfront usually get about a third of their annual visitors in the Halloween season. But the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lock-downs have created a scary situation for these places: most of the rest of their visitors arrive in the spring and summer. Thanks to the pandemic, this year’s busy time has been a wash, and it’s not looking like the fall will be much different. At the site of Salem’s The House of the Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace…” Read the full article TIME magazine here
Peabody Essex Museum has reopened with a modified schedule:
“Thursdays through Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. To allow for safe physical distancing, a limited number of visitors will be allowed inside the museum and its galleries at any time. Reserve your tickets in advance at pem.org/tickets or by calling 978-542-1511.”
In Gloucester, both Beauport Museum and Hammond Castle are open. While Cape Ann Museum is not open, its on line, virtual fare has increased. Check out “CAM connects”- the most recent July 23, 2020 Cape Ann Music
Hammond Castle- Advance purchase of timed tickets is required to enter the museum. Purchase your tickets here. Guest are also welcome to explore the Museum grounds including the Bell Tower, Drawbridge, Look Out Point and our iconic arches. The grounds are open from 9:30 am to 4 pm daily. Face masks are required and social distancing should be maintained as recommended by the State of Massachusetts and the City of Gloucester.
Beauport Museum – Historic New England property details: “The tour has been altered to maximize social distancing, and each tour is limited to four guests. Please read the “Know Before You Go” section below for more information on safety requirements. Advance tickets are required, and admission is free for Historic New England members. Buy tickets now.”
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“…Coughlin said the building, which was built in 1969, needs to be updated but is in good shape structurally and will not be demolished. “It’s too good of a building (to demolish),” he said.”– John Coughlin Gateway Realty Trust quoted in Gloucester Daily Times, Paul Leighton article 1/7/2020
What a beautiful spot! The building was designed by architect Donald F. Monell for the Beverly Newspaper Offices and Factory in 1968 (built 1969) and consolidated with the Salem News in 1995. Monell worked and resided in Gloucester Massachusetts and designed residential, public and busieness projects including the Gloucester Daily Times (1956), Newburyport Daily News buildings, Sawyer Free Library addition, and the Cape Ann Museum.
photos – winter views January 2020
photos: Spring views
Will Build to Suit (978) 768-4511
About the architect
Excerpt from a prior post I wrote about Donald F. Monell back in May 2019 with photos of extant designs both residential and commercial:
“Donald F. Monell ( 1917-2002) earned multiple degrees: Bowdoin (BS, 1937) , Royal College of Edinburgh (1938), Tekniska Hogskolan in Stockholm (KTH Royal Institute of Technology), and M.I.T. (MS in city planning,1941 and MS in architecture, 1950). He was a research assistant in City Planning at M.I.T. (1940-41), and a Research Associate in solar energy at M.I.T. from 1949 to 1951. During World War II he served as a Captain with the 333 Engrs. S.S. Regiment in the US Army Corp of Engineers from 1942-46. Prior to setting up his own firm in 1952, he worked as a community planner in Tennessee and for various architectural establishments. His son Alex Monell said that his father declined positions with larger international firms. “He preferred working on a smaller one to one relationship with clients.” Monell’s tenure at M.I.T. coincided with I.M. Pei and Buckminster Fuller; Monell set up his eponymous business two years prior to I.M. Pei. I asked Alex if his father worked with architect Eleanor Raymond. She built her home in Gloucester and had similar interest in sustainable design. She is credited with designing one of the first solar heated houses in 1948 “I know he worked with Maria Telkes (who invented a means to store heat in melted crystals that stored more than water could) on one of their solar homes and now that I looked her up I see the home was designed by Eleanor Raymond! So they knew each other.”
Monell was licensed to practice in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York and was NCARB certified. He was a member of AiA and Boston Society of Architects. He served on Gloucester’s Civic Art Committee beginning in the 1960s. He was a trustee of the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra, an incorporator of AGH and Cape Ann Savings Bank, and a Vice President of the Cape Ann Museum (then Cape Ann Historical Assoc.). Monell’s office was located in the Brown Building, 11 Pleasant Street. His son remembers visiting his dad on jobs and admiring the hand made scale models. Local residents may recognize the names of Monell hires: Kirk Noyes who preserved Central Grammar and other award winning developments, was a draftsman, and Craig Toftey helped Monell
Don Monell and Lila Swift, co-founders and collaborators of their own wrought steel furniture design firm in 1950, Swift & Monell, husband and wife, architect and artist, were the Charles and Ray Eames* of Gloucester for a time. Original examples of their woven leather, metal and enamel stools, tables, and bins are rare and placed in collections. The furniture was exhibited at Current Design (now ICA) and Furniture Forum. They operated the business in upstate New York when Monell worked for Sargent Webster Crenshaw & Folley. They built a studio for their business in their home when they moved back to Gloucester in 1952. Initial prototypes and editions were inspired by touring Lawrence Mills with Monell’s brother in law, who worked in the textile industry. Alex clarifies: “I do not know what mill my father’s brother in law was involved in or to what capacity, I just remember my parents toured it and found the source of leather. A Cambridge firm sold them for awhile. And later my parents gifted them as wedding presents to close friends and relatives. Ray Parsons a blacksmith from Rockport often made the frames and later I made some at Modern Heat.”
*footnote- Ray Eames in Gloucester: Before Hans Hofmann (1880 – 1966) settled into teaching in Provincetown, he was invited to teach summer classes at the Thurn School of Art in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1933 and 1934. Thurn was a former Hofmann student. Ray Eames studied painting with Hofmann in Gloucester and was a student of his for years. Decades later (during an interview with Ruth Bowman, who I knew, was wonderful, and friends with Rita Fraad who had a great Hopper) Eames mentioned 1940, a later date, for when she first learned about Hofmann. On an architecture timeline- Charles and Ray Eames were born in 1907 and 1912 respectively, and Monell in 1917. They were married about a decade before Monell & Swift and west coast rather than east. Yet they were contemporaries. Art & Architecture case study homes began in 1945 (Eames house, 1949) Eames lounge chairs were manufactured in 1956 (after years of prototypes). Gropius House in Lincoln , Mass., landmark Bauhaus residence now museum was built in 1938, same year as MoMa Bauhaus exhibition. The Graduate school at Harvard designed by Gropius was a TAC (The Architects Collaborative) build in 1950. TAC was founded in 1945 with the clout addition of Gropius who continued with the firm until his death in 1969. Original 7 founders were Norman Fletcher, Louis McMillen, Robert McMillan, Ben Thompson, Jean Fletcher, Sarah Harkness and John Harkness. Twenty years later, Monell’s Plum Cove elementary school design in 1967 was leveraged by partnering with The Architects Collaborative. Gloucester’s Plum Cove school is a TAC build. Wikipedia lists several commissions. The school could be added…”
Read my full piece here and see more examples of his buildings. “Many of his commissions are heavenly sites where buildings serve the surroundings, whether built or natural.”
February 26, 2018 Gloucester Daily Times
Writing for the Gloucester Daily Times, Paul Leighton wrote that Salem News was looking for a new space because the operations no longer required such a big building. Various production and departments had already been relocated by this time. You can read the full February 2018 story here. The article mentions that it’s a 60,000 square foot property. Recent descriptions indicate that it’s 37,000+. I’m not sure why; perhaps, the greater figure encapsulated the grounds.
2019 Commercial listing description
“32 Dunham is a 37,502 square foot building on 6 acres of land. Zoned for industrial, research and office, with high visibility on route 128. Less than 30 minutes from downtown Boston and Logan airport.”
January 7, 2020 Gloucester Daily Times
Salem News moving to Danvers article by Paul Leighton Staff Writer about the status of the building now
“The Salem News is moving out of its longtime home in Beverly and heading to a new location in Danvers. The newspaper will move into its new office suite at 300 Rosewood Drive in Danvers on Sunday, according to Karen Andreas, regional publisher of North of Boston Media Group, which includes the Gloucester Daily Times.
“The Salem News has been located at 32 Dunham Road in Beverly since merging with the former Beverly Times in 1995. The company moved its press and printing operations out of Beverly years ago and consolidated several other business functions, such as the finance and customer service departments, in the North Andover offices of its sister paper, The Eagle-Tribune. Therefore, Andreas said, the Salem News no longer needs a building of that size.
“This building is 37,500 square feet, and way too big for us,” Andreas said. “It doesn’t make sense for us operationally.”
“Gateway Realty Trust of Essex has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy 32 Dunham Road. John Coughlin, a project manager for Gateway Realty, said the company plans to preserve the building and lease it.
“Coughlin said Gateway does not have a tenant lined up yet but said the building, which has a mix of office and warehouse space and more than 100 parking spots, would be good for many types of businesses.
“Ideally it would be one tenant that would want to take the whole building, or we can sub-divide it,” he said. “It lends itself to a lot of potential users.”
“…Coughlin said his company, which owns several buildings on the North Shore, was attracted to the building due to its location next to Route 128. Dunham Road has been the site of several new office complexes built by Cummings Properties as well as a new manufacturing headquarters built by tech company Harmonic Drive. The road is also home to North Shore Music Theatre.
“…The Salem News building, which includes six acres of land, was listed for sale at $3.5 million.
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Courtney Richardson, Director of Public Education and Programs for Cape Ann Museum, shares outreach about a new community conversation series at CAM. “We want to know what you think! Join us to share your feedback about our Library & Archives on January 18, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. There will be chowda!”
Let’s Talk About the Future! CAM Community Conversations Series Starts
The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present a new series of community conversations on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. As the Cape Ann Museum looks forward to 2023 and the 150thanniversary of the founding of the Museum, originally known as the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association, staff is rethinking exhibitions and the work that is being done within the community. To help the Museum plan for the future, please come and participate in a series of conversations about the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, programming and more. Each monthly session throughout the winter will have a specific focus: January 18 – Library & Archives; February 22 – Exhibitions; March 14 – Public Programs. These staff moderated exchanges will give participants a chance to share feedback and ideas for the future. Refreshments will be served. January’s community conversation will be moderated by CAM’s new Librarian/Archivist Trenton Carls and will feature clam chowder from the Gloucester House. Free and open to the public. Reservations encouraged but walk-ins are also welcome. Reserve online at capeannmuseum.org or call (978)283-0455 x10.
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Get inspired to visit (and re-visit!) Homer at the Beach … Catch the PBS News Hour segment (originally broadcast on November 18) here.
Homer at the Beach has sent attendance soaring, bringing visitors from near and far and surpassing all previous records for the Cape Ann Museum. The exhibition has garnered excellent reviews and publicity in major national media including the Wall Street Journal, theWashington Post and PBS Newshour and has been covered closer to home on WGBH Open Studio, Chronicle and the Boston Globe (find links to news coverage here). The exhibit closes on Sunday, December 1; the Museum will be open for extended hours on the final day from 10 AM to 5 PM. But don’t wait, the last weekend is expected to be quite busy!
“Dolliver’s Neck is a small arm of land pointing north off the western shore of the Gloucester’s Outer Harbor. It is the cradling arm that creates Fresh Water Cove, a small cove where Samuel de Champlain found fresh water on his first visit to Gloucester Harbor in 1606. It was named for Samuel Dolliver who came from Marblehead in 1652 and bought a farm there.
In Lane’s time there were a few fishing shacks visible in some of his paintings where onshore fishermen could put their boats in from the pebble beach and salt marsh and be out in the center of the harbor without the long row or sail from the Inner Harbor. Fresh Water Cove itself is not deep enough at low tide for larger vessels to moor there so it has retained its small scale and intimate feel down through the years.
In 1900 a Coast Guard lifesaving station was built and manned on Dolliver’s Neck and many lives were saved along that rocky and treacherous coast between Gloucester and Magnolia.”
From the Fitz Henry Lane Archives, Cape Ann Museum
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Last Chance! These must see 2019 shows are closing soon: Don’t miss ICA Watershed Purple (installation view above) closing September 2; DeCordova New England Biennial and the Provincetown Art Association & Museum’s 1945 Chaim Gross exhibition close September 15; and catch Renoir at the Clark before it’s gone September 22nd.
A few of the listed upcoming exhibitions to note: the NEW building and exhibits at PEM are opening September 2019; Homer at the Beach is on display at Cape Ann Museum thru December 1 (and catch a Richard Ormond lecture on John Singer Sargent’s Charcoals Sept.28 at Cape Ann Museum (ahead of the Morgan exhibition opening October); three new shows opening at MFA; Gordon Parks at Addison; and Alma Thomas at Smith. A Seuss-focused experience was pronounced destined for Boston, ahead of its TBD venue, by the LA entertainment company co-founders. Some shows I’ve already visited and may write about, mostly from a dealer’s perspective as that is my background. Exhibition trends continue to evolve and reveal new directions. A few patterns I see in the exhibition titles: what’s annointed for display and how it’s contextualized (corrective labels); immersive exhibits; revisiting colonial methodologies and themes; major solo surveys; women artists (and this upcoming season boost underscoring womens’ suffrage and 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote); illustration; environment; and issues of humanity and migration. The list is illustrated with images of the sites. All photographs mine unless otherwise noted. Right click or hover to see info; click to enlarge. – Catherine Ryan
The guide – Massachusetts Museum Guide, Fall 2019
Note from author: The list below is alphabetized by town, and details upcoming exhibitions at each venue as well as some that are closing soon. Click the word “website” (color gray on most monitors) for hyperlinks that redirect to venues. For a list alphabetically sorted by venue, see my Google Map (with a Candy Trail overlay) “Art Museums in Massachusetts” hereand embedded at the end of this post. I pulled the map together several years ago. No apps to download or website jumping. Easy scroll down so you don’t miss an exhibit that’s closer than you think to one that you may already be exploring.A few are open seasonally (summer) or weekends only–call first to check before visiting. Major new architectural building projects are underway at BU (closed) and MIT. The 54th Regiment Memorial on Boston Common will undergo restoration. Get ready for close observation of conservation in process. – Catherine
1. John Greenleaf Whittier historic Home and Museumwebsite
18. Boston Harbor Islands National and State Parkwebsite
(photos show info gateway on the Greenway near the ferry access to Boston Harbor Islands)
Summer 2019 public art: Boston Harbor [Re]creation The Project: Artists Marsha Parrilla; Robin MacDonald-Foley; Brian Sonia-Wallace more(Jury: Luis Cotto MCC; Lucas Cowan, The Greenway; Celena illuzzi, National Parks; Caroly Lewenberg; Denise Sarno-Bucca DCR; Courtney Shape, City of Boston; Rebecca Smerling Boston Harbor Now; Kera Washingon; Cynthia Woo, Pao Arts Center)
Unveiled 2019 – Super A (Stefan Thelen) Resonance, 2019, latex and spray paint
Note to Greenway (see photo notes below): food trucks by the stop should be relocated to other food truck areas (and maybe one tree) to optimize and welcome sight line to the Greenway and public spaces from streets, sidewalk, and South Station. There are pauses elsewhere along the lattice park links, and a generous approach past the wine bar. The temporary commissioned mural could extend verso (or invite a second artist) so that the approach from Zakim Bridge/RT1/93North is as exciting as the approach from Cape Cod.
Skip the app AI download– swamped my phone battery despite free WiFi on the Greenway.
See complete list of 2019 public art currently on view at The Greenway here
The Greenway packs a lot of punch in a compressed area; its lattice of dynamic public spaces and quiet passages are an easy stroll into the North End or along the HarborWalk to the ICA, roughly similar in size and feel as walking Battery Park and Hudson River Park in New York City.
24. Innovation and Design building (aka Boston Design Building makeover in process in winter 2016 photos posted here) website
Through September 2, 2019 at The Water Shed, ICA Boston John Akomfrah: Purplemore
What’s coming in 2020 to The Water Shed? Still TBA
Through September 22, 2019 ICA Less Is a Bore: Maximilist Art & Designmore
Nice installation with a few surprises and thoughtful connection to other exhibtions on view. (The LeWit and Johns selections triggered what about that work or artist? I wish May Stevens and Harmony Hammond were included and my list grew from there. That’s part of the fun of the exhibit.)
September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Yayoi Kusama: Love is Callingmore
September 24 – February 7, 2021 ICA Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusamamore
October 23, 2019 – January 26, 2020 ICA When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Artmore
Through December 31, 2019 ICA 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize Boston area artists: Rashin Fahandej; Josephine Halvorson; Lavaughan Jenkins; Helga Roht Poznanskimore
Through October 20, 2019 Ship of State…Paintings by Robert Henry
Through December 21, 2019 Interpreting Their World: Varujan Boghosian, Carmen Cicero, Elspeth Halvorsen and Pual Resika
71. The Art Complex Museum (Weyerhaeuser collection) website
August 18 – November 10, 2019 Steve Novick: Approximation
September 15 -January 12, 2020 Draw the Line
September 15 – January 12, 2020 Rotations: Highlights From the Permanent Collection Nocturne including Lowell Birge Harrison (American, 1854–1929), Suzanne Hodes (American, b. 1939), Kawase Hasui (Japanese, 1883–1957), George Inness (American, 1825–1894), Johan Barthold Jongkind (Dutch, 1819–1891) Martin Lewis (American, 1881–1962), and Henri Eugene Le Sidaner (French, 1862-1939)
November 17 – February 16, 2020 George Herman Found Paintings
72. Thornton W. Burgess Society Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen website *may join Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster to combine and become the Cape Cod Museums of Natural History
Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics Illustrated talk and extended hours at the Cape Ann Museum
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (August 15, 2019) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present a special evening of programming on Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. This is the first in a series of four nights, throughout summer and fall, when the Museum will be open extended hours. In addition to galleries staying open for viewing, there will be illustrated talks, musical performances, artmaking opportunities, cash bar and more! Extended hours are free for CAM members or with Museum admission. There will be additional costs for special lectures or musical performances.
On Thursday, August 29 join Bowdoin College professor Dana Byrd for Winslow Homer: Picturing the Tropics at 7:00 p.m. The artist Winslow Homer (1836-1910) is beloved for his moody representations of crashing surf against the rocky Maine coastline. The artist, however, was no recluse. He enjoyed traveling for pleasure and new painting subjects. During the last decades of his life, with box camera and painting kit in hand, he visited a number of tourist locales, among them, the Bahamas, Cuba and Florida. This talk will explore Homer’s varied depictions of the tropics, to revisit this important, yet little addressed aspect of his oeuvre. This lecture is $10 for CAM members; $20 nonmembers (includes Museum admission). Reservations are required and can be made at camuseum.eventbrite.com or by calling 978-283-0455 x10.
Highlights of the evening also include watercolor painting; a cash bar featuring Cuba Libres & rum punch; and a chance to see Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869 – 1880.
Dana E. Byrd is a scholar of American art and material culture at Bowdoin College. She received her PhD from Yale University in 2012. Her research engages with questions of place and the role of objects in everyday life. Her book manuscript, “Reconstructions: The Material Culture of the Plantation, 1861-1877,” examines the experience of the plantation during the Civil War through the end of Reconstruction.
This program is offered in conjunction with the special exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, which is the first close examination of the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. The exhibition will be on view until December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be its sole venue.
Tondo photo image credit: Winslow Homer. St. Johns’ River, Florida ca. 1895 pinhole (from an Eastman Kodak #1 camera) photograph Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. Photo portrait courtesy of Dana Byrd. Homer watercolors various collections: Art Inst. Chicago, Harvard FOGG (completed with sections from Yale), National Gallery, Cummer
A sunset adventure aboard the Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon”
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (August 15, 2019) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present an evening sunset harbor cruise on Sunday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. In celebration of the special exhibition Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869 – 1880, the Museum has partnered with the Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” to illuminate Winslow Homer’s time in Gloucester. This program which includes a two-hour sail, light refreshments (wine, beer & snacks), a chance to watercolor paint and tales of Homer’s time in Gloucester is $60 for CAM members; $75 nonmembers. Advanced registration required. For more information visit capeannmuseum.org or call 978-283-0455 x10.
The exhibition, Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869-1880, is the first close examination of the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. The exhibition will be on view until December 1, 2019. The Cape Ann Museum will be it sole venue.
In 1869, Winslow Homer (1836–1910) exhibited his first picture of the sea. He was an ambitious New York illustrator—not yet recognized as an artist—and freshly back from France. Over the next 11 years, Homer’s journey would take him to a variety of marine destinations, from New Jersey to Maine, but especially—and repeatedly—to Gloucester and other parts of Cape Ann. It was on Cape Ann that Homer made his first watercolors and where he discovered his calling: to be a marine artist. And it was in Gloucester in 1880, at the end of these 11 years, where he enjoyed the most productive season of his life, composing more than 100 watercolors of astonishing beauty. Homer’s journey forever changed his life and the art of his country.
The Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” was built in 1997 in Essex, MA. Berthed at historic Seven Seas Wharf at the Gloucester House Restaurant, Rogers Street, Gloucester, the Lannon offers two-hour sails and private charters from mid-May through mid-October. The “Thomas E. Lannon” is named for owner Tom Ellis’ maternal grandfather, who fished out of Gloucester from 1901-1943. On August 25 join the Cape Ann Museum and the Ellis family for a sail and imagine what it was like to sail on a fishing schooner out of Gloucester a hundred years ago.
Image credits: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Sunset Fires, 1880. Watercolor on paper, 93/4 x 13 5/8. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Gift of the William A. Coulter Fund, 1964.36.
Steve Rosenthal The Schooner “Thomas E. Lannon” in the Harbor #1 2019. Archival pigment print. Cape Ann Museum. Gift of the photographer, 2019.
The Gloucester Sea Serpent is like a Massachusetts Loch Ness monster though an ocean rather than freshwater creature. Alleged sightings date back to 1638; see excellent research by Lise Breen for the HarborWalk marker #19 “The Sea Serpent”.
In 2017, the Cape Ann Museum (CAM) celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Sea Serpent’s peak folklore moment when hundreds of accounts were published in newspapers. (In comparison, the first written record of a monster in Loch Ness dates way back to 565, picks up popular speed by 1802, and on to global recognition by 1933). Swampscott and North Shore sightings surged as competition with Newport and other summer tourism hotspots increased. Sea serpent inspired art across media continued into the 20th and 21st centuries.
Below: A Sea Serpent at Cressy Beach Stage Fort Park in Gloucester was originally painted by fine artist Robert Stephenson circa 1960 and is kept fresh by adoring community. Many moons ago, a free standing climber serpent was a favorite element at the Stage Fort Park playground. My photos in this post span years/seasons, roughly 2011-2019. Hover for descriptive details or double click & enlarge.
July 20, 2019
The new sculpture commission, Gloucester Sea Serpent, by Chris Williams at Cape Ann Museum was dedicated July 20, 2019, to honor Ronda Faloon, distinguished Cape Ann Museum Director (2006-2019) who retired in 2019.
Look for the serpent’s nocturne visage: the Williams sculpture is the first one on museum grounds to incorporate light amidst its mixed media.
The Gloucester Sea Serpent at the entrance joins other sculptures on view in the Cape Ann Museum Courtyard and Sculpture Garden, a special public space dedicated to the memory of Harold Bell, President of Cape Ann Museum (1979-2003).
ALBERT HENRY ATKINS (1880-1951) Spirt of the Sea 1915 bronze [fun fact courtesy Alex Monell: architect (Cape Ann Museum & CAM board) Don Monell held this sculpture on his property until the best re-siting]
ROBERT AMORY, Reflection, 1970 gift of the artist
KEN HRUBYUneasy Crown, Uneasy Chair, Uneasy Piece, 1986 (cast 2008) Gift of Judith McCulloch in memory of Harold Bell
And dappled today, GEORGE DEMETRIOS bronze fountain, Spring
Across the street, the Cape Ann Museum sculpture park and gardens designed by Clara Batchelor, CBA Landscape Architect Principal, opened in 2011. Its centerpiece features
JOHN RAIMONDI sculpture, Dance of the Cranes
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