• HARVARD, Massachusetts
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  • August 21, 2014

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View of the Hudson River From West Point, Robert Weir, 1869, oil on canvas
Fruitlands Museum

(Harvard, Mass.) - A unique exhibition celebrating the centennial of Fruitlands Museum, 100 Objects, 100 Stories, 100 Years at Fruitlands Museum, will be on view in the Art Gallery and around the campus, September 6, 2014 through March 29, 2015.   The exhibit will highlight not only the one hundred most popular objects in the museum’s diverse collections, but also the important role that Fruitlands has played in the community during the last one hundred years.  Each of the museum’s five collections – the Land, the Shakers, the Transcendentalists, the Native Americans, and American Art – will be represented in this first-ever publically curated Fruitlands exhibit.


The centennial exhibition will include one-of-a-kind fascinating examples of New England’s past, some with poignant local flair.  Among the objects are:

  • A 4000-year old soapstone bowl that was found in a nearby field reminding us of the deep Native American past in the area.  King Philip’s War Club from the 17th century, a Lakota feathered bonnet, and a stunning bear-claw necklace are highlights of the Native American Collection.
  •  Louisa May Alcott’s letters, childhood toys, clippings of her hair, and the farmhouse attic that inspired the garret scenes in her most famous work, Little Women.  
  •  A rare pair of terrestrial and celestial globes constructed in 1836 that were once owned by educator and philosopher Bronson Alcott, father of the famous literary family. 
  •  Primary source documents and original manuscripts associated with the Alcotts and other Transcendentalists.  Henry David Thoreau’s personal bookcase and desk are also on view.
  •  Shaker artifacts included Mother Ann’s Chair, the striking c. 1850 yellow ochre Shaker Apothecary Cabinet and an 1836 plan of the Harvard Shaker Village.
  •  Albert Bierstadt’s View of Mount Ascutnety from Claremont, New Hampshire as well as work by fellow Hudson River School painters Frederic Church, George Innes, Alvan Fisher, among others.

"It's our 100 best objects, as selected by the people, who know us and love us best,” says Fruitlands Executive Director Wyona Lynch-McWhite. “We asked people who were visiting, as well as folks who were watching our website and following us on Facebook, to vote on their top 100 objects in the collection.  Once the objects were selected, members and other constituents contributed their favorite personal stories or memories related to the collection. The results are eloquently captured in the centennial exhibition and the accompanying book.”

“When you arrive at Fruitlands and gaze out on the view from the museum grounds, you cannot help to recognize the scenic beauty of this New England landscape and contemplate all the past inhabitants of the area,” says Fruitlands’ Chief Curator Michael Volmar. “Many of their most treasured possessions are preserved at Fruitlands and included in our centennial exhibition.  The diverse stories we collected for our exhibition and publication recollect favorite objects and special moments cherished by families who have visited here for decades.  We invite the general public to come and enjoy the exhibit commemorating our centennial celebration.”

A Commemorative Book of the same title is the first comprehensive catalog of the Fruitlands Museum collection ever published. Lavishly illustrated with color photographs, the 160-page book is an encyclopedic treatment of the five museum collections and includes essays about Alcott’s Fruitlands experiment, Founder Clara Endicott Sears, and the history of the Museum’s development. The book, partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, is on sale in the Museum Store and on the website–fruitlands.org.  The member price is $60, nonmember price is $65.

Visitors will be able to see most of the one hundred objects showcased in the centennial book.  Some of the 100 objects can't be moved, so there is also a bit of a treasure hunt to finding all the objects that are distributed across the museum campus.  A Centennial Scavenger Hunt, featuring all 100 works in the exhibition, will be available at the admissions counter; and visitors who find all the items will be entered into a drawing for a free, one-year family membership or a centennial book.

The Museum continues its commitment to the community through the Open Gates Initiative by offering free admission on Saturday, September 6, with an opening reception being held from 1-3pm. There will be gallery tours, live music, games, food and crafts.

Fruitlands Museum is open Monday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $5 for children 5 – 13, and free for members and children under 5. 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 ext. 292.


 Saturday, September 6 | 10am-5pm | FREE ADMISSION

Celebrate Fruitlands at 100!

Come celebrate Fruitland's centennial year and the opening of our anniversary exhibition 100 Objects, 100 Stories, 100 Years at Fruitlands Museum. On this FREE day there will be fun for the whole family, with live music, craft activities, artist demonstrations, games and more!

Sundays - September 28, October 26, November 23, and December 14 | 1pm

Members Free, Nonmembers $5

Curatorial Tour: 100 Objects, 100 Stories, 100 Years at Fruitlands Museum

Join Fruitlands Chief Curator Michael Volmar for an insider’s view of the centennial exhibition,

100 Objects, 100 Stories, 100 Years at Fruitlands Museum. Showcasing some of the finest items in the Fruitlands collections, each object in the show was selected by our supporters! Each of The five collections – the Land, the Shakers, the Transcendentalists, the Native Americans, and American Art – are represented in this first-ever publically curated Fruitlands exhibit. Dr. Volmar provides an overview to the remarkable and historically significant objects.

Space is limited. Registration is required. To register, call 978-456-3924, ext. 291 or email programming@fruitlands.org.

Saturday, October 18 | 1-2pm | Free with admission

Centennial Lecture: Cynthia Barton History’s Daughter

Biographer Cynthia Barton relates a chronicle of Clara Endicott Sears’ life and details the influences leading to the creation of Fruitlands Museum from her book History’s Daughter: The Life of Clara Endicott Sears, Founder of 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.


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Fruitlands Museum, Discover Heritage, Nature & Art

Nina J Berger


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