Robert Ford couldn’t find a single artist’s print of his childhood city. “There was nothing,” Ford said of a recent visit to Springfield during which he searched for inexpensive images of iconic sites such as Court Square and Classical High School, which the professor of management had attended in the late ‘60s.
He was frustrated. So he decided to do something about it.
Ford had a very specific style in mind—he already had Massachusetts images by Clark M. Goff who was known especially in the 1970s for very detailed pen-and-ink drawings of tourist sites. Ford wanted something similar to add to his collection which included the Mayflower and Frary House in Deerfield, so he searched the Internet for a comparable artist.
He found Richard Wambach, whom Ford commissioned to create five pieces, 8” by 12”, of iconic Springfield sites: The Pilgrim, Court Square with its Campanile Clock Tower, Old First Church (where Ford’s son had been baptized and his father was president), the Springfield Armory, and Classical High.
And, then Ford, who is an emeritus professor from the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida, decided to take a step further to support both his hometown and the Museums he loved to visit when he was a child. He donated the copyright for these images to the Springfield Museums’ Museum Store so the store can sell these images to visitors.
“The Museums can be entrepreneurial on the sales,” said Ford, who now resides in Florida. “The store can tap into Facebook reunions for Classical and include the images in Greater Springfield Visitor Bureau grab bags.” Most important, he said, people who love Springfield will have access to beautiful images they can frame and display in their homes or offices.
Joanie Muratore-Pallatine, the Director of Human Resources for the Museums who oversees the popular Museum Store, was very pleased to accept Ford’s offer. “The prints are a wonderful addition to our inventory of items that celebrate this city’s beauty.”
Available now, the prints are matted and sell for $20.00. Ford and his wife Barbara, also a Springfield native, have a quiet bet on which one will sell the most—but they aren’t disclosing their favorites.