1857

Formation of the City Library Association

This report from William Rice, Librarian, hand-written in 1883, shows that the Springfield Museums originated on November 27th, 1857, when the Springfield Institute and the Young Men’s Literary Association were joined to form the City Library Association. The earliest museum collections were housed in a room in City Hall.

a hand-written report from William Rice, Librarian, in 1883, the City Library Association was organized Nov. 27, 1857.
1871

Moving to the Quadrangle

A new library building was constructed and the museum collections were moved in.

1888–1896

George Walter Vincent Smith Donates Collection

George Walter Vincent Smith and his wife Belle Townsley offer their collection to the Association, a munificent act which led to the construction of Springfield’s first museum and sparked an era of philanthropy.

1899

Springfield Science Museum Opens

The Springfield Science Museum, founded in 1859 in City Hall, officially opened in 1899 in a classical revival building, expanded in 1932 with an Art Deco addition, and expanded again in 1970 with the Tolman addition that included a public observatory.

Springfield Science Museum in Summer.
1933

Museum of Fine Arts Opens

The Museum houses a comprehensive collection of European Art (French, Dutch, and Italian) and the Currier & Ives (active 1834-1907) Collection is the largest holdings of lithographs in the nation.

Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts in winter.
2002

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden Opens

Following Geisel’s death in 1991, his wife, Audrey, authorized the Museums to create the national memorial, and has been a major supporter throughout the project. Sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, who is also Geisel’s step-daughter, created the endearing bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss and his most beloved characters.

Large-scale bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss characters, with Horton the elephant being the most prominent.
2009

Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History Opens

The museum opens after a six year process which included consolidation of history collections, planning future directions, and construction of a 42,000 square foot building. The Wood Museum is now known for its local history research facilities, its comprehensive program of changing exhibitions, its diverse educational offerings, and it’s wide ranging collections illuminating the history of the Connecticut River Valley.

The front of the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History
2013

Accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums

AAM Accreditation is the field’s primary vehicle to recognize an institution for its commitment to excellence in all that it does: governance, collections stewardship, public programs, financial stability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Of the nation’s roughly 17,500 museums, only a handful (6%) have earned this distinction. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 35 years, AAM accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public.

Our Future

Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum will include an interactive, bilingual museum for children and families that brings the stories of Ted Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) to life. Visitors will encounter three-dimensional characters and scenes from his books as they explore Ted’s childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts. This colorful exhibition aims to make reading and learning fun for visitors of all ages and will open in 2017.