Comforts, Cures, and Distractions: Winter at Fruitlands Museum

 Regis Francois Gignoux (1816-1882), Winter Landscape with Skaters, c.  1860, oil on canvas.
Regis Francois Gignoux (1816-1882), Winter Landscape with Skaters, c. 1860, oil on canvas.
(Courtesy Fruitlands Museum/The Trustees of Reservations)

HARVARD, Mass. – The Trustees today announced that Fruitlands Museum, its newest property, presents Comforts, Cures, and Distractions: Winter at Fruitlands Museum, beginning November 19, 2016 and running through March 26, 2017. The exhibition brings wintry New England into vivid focus with an assortment of art and artifacts from the museum’s diverse Transcendentalist, Shaker, Native American, and landscape painting collections. 

“As daylight hours shorten and temperatures plummet, snow transforms the landscape, blanketing it with hushed beauty,” says Fruitlands Curator Shana Dumont Garr who joined The Trustees in September. “During this season of winter wonder it becomes difficult to imagine how people made it through the cold weather in past centuries, before central heating and other modern conveniences. The objects assembled in Comforts, Cures and Distractions will connect visitors to moments spent during winters past, and historical attempts to foster good health and good cheer, offering glimpses into wintertime daily life in 18th and 19th century New England when life was often so much more challenging day to day.”

The array of items also tells a unique story about Fruitlands’ collection, with Shaker scarves and mittens, a Woodlands Native American water warmer, or mokuk, and a 19th-century painting of ice skaters that captures the dramatic transformation of the landscape. There are skates, sleds, and snowshoes dating from the era when 11-year-old Louisa May Alcott described playing in the snow when she and her family lived in the Fruitlands Farmhouse in 1834; as well as a pair of pink and white mittens that are believed to have been used by the Alcott girls.

“Seeing items drawn from Fruitlands Museum’s varied collections provides an opportunity to see how different communities solve the same enduring problems of how to stay warm, fed, and entertained during the tough winter months,” adds Rebecca Migdal, who co-curated the exhibition with Dumont. Contemporary objects, such as dried herbs that follow Shaker healing traditions, a shovel, hat, and sled will help round out stories that follow themes of either survival or celebration and connect winters past with winters present.

Comforts, Cures, and Distractions is co-curated by Fruitlands Curator Shana Dumont Garr and Rebecca Migdal. 

ALSO ON VIEW IN THE ART MUSEUM

FIND YOUR PARK: NATIONAL PARKS IN NEW ENGLAND, through March 19, 2017 

Fruitlands Museum presents a photography exhibition celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary, and exploring the cultural, historical, and natural wonders of the national parks in New England. Developed in partnership with Freedom's Way National Heritage Area and with additional support from Artscope Magazine, this exhibition showcases the beauty of New England and the important work that is being done to preserve and promote the national parks.  National parks in New England make up a proud and representative part of the NPS system, encompassing majestic natural wonders, significant urban centers, and beautiful rural landscapes.

Fruitlands Museum Winter Season Hours are weekends, 12-5pm. The Art Museum, Museum Store & grounds are open; the historic buildings & cafe are closed until April 15, 2017. Fruitlands grounds are host to a range of outdoor winter adventures, from snowshoeing to sledding, cross-country skiing to a simple walk through snow-covered woods. Winter admission is $5 for nonmembers, and free for members and children under 5 years old. Fruitlands Museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard, Mass. For more information please visit www.fruitlands.org or call 978-456-3924.

 

About Fruitlands Museum & The Trustees

Fruitlands Museum, a 210-acre historic, natural, and cultural destination based in Harvard, MA, recently became a property of The Trustees of Reservations. Founded in 1914 by author and preservationist Clara Endicott Sears, the Museum takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Transcendentalists Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane that existed on this site in 1843. Fruitlands is dedicated to New England history & art, and its properties include: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, once home to the family of Louisa May Alcott and a National Historic landmark; The Shaker Museum, home to the largest archive of Harvard Shaker documents in the world; The Native American Museum, which houses a significant collection of artifacts that honor the spiritual presence and cultural history of the first Americans; The Art Museum, featuring a renowned collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings and 19th century vernacular portraits, along with rotating special exhibitions; and The Land, which features panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, including 2.5 miles of meadows and woodland recreational trails. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists, including pottery, glass, jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. The Museum Café, open during the main season focuses on locally-sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England. www.fruitlands.org.

The Trustees preserves and cares for some of the best of Massachusetts’ natural, scenic, and cultural sites for the public to use and enjoy. The organization’s passion is to engage more people in culture, agriculture, nature, and healthy, active lifestyles, using its properties, its community spaces, and it’s many programs as a powerful and compelling platform to connect people to places and each other in our increasingly digitized world.  As the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization and the nation’s first land trust founded in 1891, The Trustees celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year and continues its work in protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever.  Today, The Trustees cares for 116 spectacular and diverse reservations spanning more than 26,000 acres— from working farms, landscaped and urban gardens, and community parks, to barrier beaches, forests, campgrounds, inns and historic sites, many of which are National Historic Landmarks — located within minutes of every resident. Funded by more than 125,000 members and supporters and 1.6 million visitors in 2015, The Trustees invites you to get out, get inspired, and find magic in the moment at a Trustees property near you: www.thetrustees.org.

For more information contact:

Nina J Berger, Fruitlands Museum, ninajberger@gmail.com

Kristi Perry, Trustees PR Director, kperry@thetrustees.org

 

Fruitlands Museum, Discover Art, Nature & History

Fruitlands Museum
102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, Massachusetts
ninajberger@hotmail.com
978-456-3924 ext. 292
http://www.fruitlands.org
About Fruitlands Museum

Fruitlands Museum, founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane that existed on this site in 1843. The Fruitlands campus includes: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, the site of an experiment in communal living led by Alcott and Lane in 1843; The Shaker Museum, home to the largest archive of Harvard Shaker documents in the world; The Native American Gallery, which houses a significant collection of artifacts that honor the spiritual presence and cultural history of the first Americans; The Art Gallery, featuring a significant display of our extensive collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings, and a partial display of our over 230 nineteenth century vernacular portraits, the second largest collection in the country. The Land feature 210 acres with panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, including 2.5 miles of walking trails. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists, including pottery, glass, jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. The Museum Café, open during the main season (April 16 through November 2) focuses on locally-sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England. For more information, visit www.fruitlands.org or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.

Press Contact:
Nina Berger
Fruitlands Museum
P: 1.617.543.1595
ninajberger@gmail.com
 
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