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Best Small-Town Museums in the U.S.: Norman Rockwell Museum

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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Some small towns have mighty big attractions.

In March, Fodor’s Travel, a pioneer in tourism guides and the largest publisher of English language travel information on the planet, presented their compilation of the 15 Best Small-Town Museums in the United States.

As proof of Fodor’s fine taste, the Norman Rockwell Museum, one of western Massachusetts’ finest and a monument to the iconic American artist, landed on that list.

The slideshow provides a nice introduction, but for those who’d like to know a bit more, here’s what makes the museum a gem.

Norman Rockwell Museum Spring

The Norman Rockwell Museum in spring

The Norman Rockwell Museum is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a town in Berkshire County well known for its lush landscapes and culinary scene. The Rockwell Museum, which was founded by Norman and his wife Molly in 1969, is home to the largest collection of original Norman Rockwell works in the country.

Inside, there are more than 100,000 items, ranging from classics, like Rockwell’s covers for The Saturday Evening Post and Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, to lesser-known pieces. Each year, the museum welcomes a variety of exhibits that celebrate the work of its famed namesake, which can all be explored here.

Norman Rockwell Museum Exhibits

One of many masterpieces you might find inside the Norman Rockwell Museum

Along with rotating exhibitions, the museum hosts a number of programs and special events from time to time. For adults, there are workshops, gallery talks and art lectures. For families, the museum offers hands-on art, tours and presentations.

Perhaps the Rockwell Museum’s neatest attraction is Norman’s former workspace, which he deemed his “best studio yet” (out of nearly two dozen). The museum has assiduously recreated the studio as it was in 1960, when Rockwell was hard at work on his painting titled Golden Rule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hzWKovIDS4

The walk to Norman Rockwell’s former studio is a treat on its own, too. The museums grounds are very pretty, especially during the warmer months, when flowers abound and it’s comfy to sit outside. For those who like to pack their own lunch, there’s plenty of space for a picnic.

Norman Rockwell Museum Studio

On the way to Norman Rockwell’s studio

Norman Rockwell Museum Picnic by Ogden Gigli

How about a picnic?

Whenever you’d like to plan visit, the museum website is there to help. You can find hours, directions, the price of admission and everything else that you need to know here.

With plenty more to do in Stockbridge, it’s best to stay nearby, too. If you’d like to do so, The Red Lion Inn is quite a piece of history itself, not to mention very accommodating. 1862 Seasons on Main B&B and The Inn at Stockbridge are both excellent as well.

Interested in digging into more Massachusetts museums? You can see many more of them here. There’s plenty more on western Massachusetts here, too.

Do you have a favorite small-town attraction in Massachusetts? Let us know below in the comments!

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