Fall Brings Fantastic Experiences At The Springfield Museums

Fall Brings Fantastic Experiences at the Springfield Museums

The Springfield Museums is proud to present an exciting and varied fall line-up of exhibits, programs, family fun, and classes.


Ai Weiwei: Tradition and Dissent, through January 2, 2022 at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, features selections from three decades of work created by internationally renowned artist and social activist Ai Weiwei (Chinese, born 1957). One of today’s most versatile creative minds and a vocal critic of the Chinese government, Ai creates work that addresses social justice while fostering a dialogue between traditional Chinese art praxis and modern modes of expression. Known for redefining objects and materials—by applying auto paint to Han Dynasty vessels, for example—the artist uses radical techniques that urge the viewer to grapple with the tension between construction and destruction as well as the past and present.

Constructing Poetry: Sculptural Work by Don Gummer, through September 12, 2021, at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and on the  Quadrangle Green,  features large-scale sculpture as well as wall reliefs and maquettes from four decades of the artist Don Gummer’s career. The exhibition premieres the artist’s newest work, titled Colosseum, along with a preparatory drawing that provides insight into Gummer’s artistic process. Outside, on the Museums’ grounds, large sculptural works enliven the green space and engage in a dialogue with each other, the landscape, and the surrounding architecture.

Horn Man: The Life and Musical Legacy of Charles Neville, through November 28, 2021, at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.  The Wood Museum worked with Kristin Neville, Charles Neville’s wife, to celebrate Charles Neville’s life and musical legacy with this exhibition of personal mementos, musical instruments, photographs, and, of course, his music. Charles Neville’s legacy will carry forward with the Charles Neville Legacy Project, a program which will bring acclaimed musicians of color into the Springfield public schools to teach history and literature while centering Black people and social justice.

Wild Kratts: Creature Power, through September 12, 2021, at the Springfield Science Museum. Step into the world of Wild Kratts® to explore the secret lives of amazing creatures in this special, hands-on, interactive exhibit. Immerse yourself in animal habitats from around the globe, discover incredible creature powers and go on a mission to foil the villains’ nefarious plans.

The Body Adorned: Artistry and Legacy of the Ancient Americas, November 23, 2021–February 27, 2022, at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. A remarkable opportunity to see the body art of our ancestors, The Body Adorned features feather textiles, gold pendants, and greenstone ear rods. These exquisite adornments were crafted by artists working in the ancient Americas. Designed to be worn both in life and in death, these treasures functioned as status symbols, ritual paraphernalia, and sacred channels to a more sublime realm. Often small in scale and intricately crafted, the adornments featured in this exhibition were created in sophisticated workshops by highly skilled artists. These splendid works of art offer insight into the values, beliefs, and achievements of indigenous peoples.

Gingerbread: Under the Sea, November 26, 2021-January 2, 2022, Springfield Science Museum. Gingerbread: Under the Sea is the 12th annual holiday gingerbread exhibit. Visitors will dive into the enchanted waters and journey to the bottom of the sea where fantastical creatures and colorful plants are interpreted as culinary creations! The gingerbread creations are set amongst an immersive, beautiful display of festive decorations and painted murals.

Cut ‘N’ Rough Collection, through June 26, 2022, Springfield Science Museum.A collection of cut stone displayed side-by-side with the same stone in its original rough state, on loan from Fred Wilda and Helen Rodak of Hadley, MA. The large, bright glass case, donated by the Connecticut Valley Mineral Club, is filled with stones whose inner beauty is breathtaking. Informative labels to help Museums visitors better understand the remarkable treasures the Connecticut River Valley holds.

Family Fun

Silly Seussian Celebration: September 18, 2021, from 11 am-4 pm. A highly interactive day with performance by Keith Munslow and activities galore including: a Green Egg Hunt/LEGO®  Sculpture, Color a Dr. Seuss Magnet, Silly Sounds and How We Hear Them, Spark!Lab on the Quad: Oh the Places We’ll Float and a Rhyming Scavenger Hunt. Also meet the Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Secrets of Autumn Harvest Festival: October 9, 2021, from 11 am- 4pm. This celebration of Fall includes a horse-drawn wagon and many science- and art-based activities including: Why Do Trees Lose Their Leaves?; Less Light, Cooler Nights;  Paint a Mini Pumpkin; and Tastes of Autumn.

Sweet Treats and Mad Science Halloween Party: October 30, 2021, from 11 am- 4pm. Celebrate Halloween in costume with Trick or Treat through the Museums; plus a Halloween Book Fair; Songs and Sounds of Halloween; Mad Scientists; Dancing Skeletons and a few surprises!!

Grinchmas at the Springfield Museums starts  with a day of activities and ends with the lighting of the Quad all the day after Thanksgiving, November 26, 2021:

Holiday Happenings from 11 am to 4 pm: Meet the Grinch and color a Grinch SuncatcherMake a Miniature Snowball Launcher and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas Cartoon Enjoy music also from 1-4 pm.

The Quad Lighting, from 5-7 pm. Free to the public, this celebration features train rides, refreshments, entertainment, an art activity and the Science Museum will be open so visitors can view Gingerbread: Under the Sea.

Classes and Trips

The Museum School at the Museums is offering both in-person, virtual, and hybrid class experiences for people of all ages. Paint, draw, program, gaze at the stars, write and never stop learning! The programs offered represent the rich and diverse resources and collections at the Museums and are led by dedicated staff and faculty. The Museum School is a place to learn, explore and let your imagination join your creative energies!

At the Museum School of the Springfield Museums we believe in the power of life-long learning for all and strive to provide a safe, inclusive and constructive environment for everyone.

Featured trips this year include Painting & Barging in Holland: April 21-April 30, 2022

A featured new class is Here +54: From the Smithsonian to Soweto, Arts of the African Americas and Africa, September 28 @ 6:30 pm–8:00 pm, Cost: $140|Cost for Members: $120. This eight-part lecture series is an introduction to the visual art production of African American artists and makers, as well as an introduction to the visual art of the African Diaspora. Here +54 is an ode to African American art and the visual art and material culture of the 54 countries on the African continent.


The Springfield Museums lunchtime lecture series Museums á la Carte announces its fall 2021 lectures will be presented as hybrid experiences. The popular lecture series explores art, history, and science. Sometimes it features a dramatic production or a musical presentation. All lectures will take place in person at the Davis Auditorium in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and via the video conferencing app ZOOM. The Museums ask all to register in advance at SpringfieldMuseums.org. The cost is $2 Members, $4 nonmembers.

Lectures with * include a Members-Only docent led tour, Continuing Conversations.


*9/9/21: Art as an Instrument of Politics: Pre- and Post-Mao Art in China: An exploration of how art was used as a political and socio-political instrument par excellence during the second half of twentieth-century China.  Presented by Dorothy Chen-Courtin, MA, PhD.

9/16/21: A Glimpse into the Gilded Age: Digitizing the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum Archives: A behind-the-scenes look at the process of scanning, re-housing, and cataloging the Archives in order to safeguard documents and share them with generations to come, including highlights from the Archives, including historic photographs and letters that paint a rich picture of Springfield’s Gilded Age. Presented by Maggie North, Curator of Art, Springfield Museums

9/23/21: Lords and People of Tokugawa Japan 1600-1900: In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, James Callahan will delve into the history and context of the collecting interests of the Smiths. Together we will explore the people of Japan beginning with Hideyoshi in 1537, leading to the establishment and later collapse of the Shogunate in 1868. We will also discuss the flourishing of the arts during the Meiji period (1868-1912) while exploring objects in the museum associated with this period. Presented by James Callahan, Director of Asian Art at Tremont Auctions, Sudbury, Massachusetts, and Antiques Roadshow appraiser

9/30/21:  To the Glory of God, To the Folly of Man: This presentation by Simon Sibelman will foreshadow the Museum School’s six part lecture miniseries “To the Glory of the Divine… To the Folly of Mankind” beginning on October 16th. Enjoy this survey of structures from the ancient world to the present day. Presented by Dr. Simon Sibelman, professor emeritus of French and Holocaust Studies (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh), former executive director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, former director of the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies (Appalachian State University).

*10/7/21: The Granville Brothers Aircraft Company & their Gee Bee Racing Airplanes: The Granville Brothers and their famous Gee Bee Racers led the aviation world into the Golden Age of Racing, striving to be the fastest airplanes in the world and to capture the coveted Thompson Trophy. This lecture will walk you through the men and women, their machines, and the history they made along the way. Presented by Joel Cummings, Springfield Science Museum Docent and Docent Council member and Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum Docent.

After the lecture, there will be a Continuing Conversations tour in the Wood Museum of Springfield History atrium to further discuss the Gee Bee Racers.

10/14/21: Made in China: The Craft of Ai Weiwei: An exploration of Ai Weiwei’s fascination with the idea of craftsmanship as he engages unknown artisans, raw materials, and craft techniques through installations that reference past traditions and present forms of making things in China.  Even as his current projects document global politics, this talk asks: has Ai Weiwei always been a craftivist? Presented by Christine I. Ho, associate professor in the History of Art and Architecture department at the University of Massachusetts.

*10/21/21: Family Reflections on the Horn Man:  An exploration of the individual expression of Charles Neville’s life rising out of a culturally rich but painful history, and reflecting the history and roots of American music. This lecture will be accompanied by a photo slideshow. Khalif Neville will also perform music inspired by his father and the musical heritage of New Orleans. Presented by Kristin Neville, Charles’s wife, founding director of Blues to Green nonprofit organization which presents the free annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival and is launching an interdisciplinary program in the public schools called the Charles Neville Legacy Project and Khalif Neville, Charles Neville’s son, multi-instrumentalist and videographer.

10/28/21: Secret Lives of the Quabbin Watershed: A photographic exploration of the eagles and loons to otters, bears and more, along with scenic views of the 18-mile-long Quabbin Reservoir. Presented by Dale Monette, photographer, and former Educator and Naturalist at the Quabbin Reservoir, and author of The Secrets of The Quabbin Watershed.

11/4/21: From A-Z:  Designing the Exhibition Capturing Our Worlds by the Springfield Photographic Society: A small committee culled through hundreds of images before choosing thirty-four  photographs by eighteen photographers.  It was a challenge to find a theme that would incorporate a variety of different subjects that ran the gamut from people living their lives to exploring our world in different ways.  The Museums’ title made Worlds plural to reflect those two threads. Presented by Amy S. Dane MA Art History, world traveler, photographer, and a freelance lecturer

*11/11/21: African American Military Units of the Second World War: A discussion of the important fighting units, comprised of African Americans, who fought during World War II, including the 761st Tank Battalion “Black Panthers”; the 333rd Tank Battalion “The Wereth 11,”  the 332nd Expeditionary Operations and 477th Bombardment Group “Tuskegee Airmen/Red Tails” and the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion “Triple Nickles.” Presented by John Horrigan, lecturer, performer, and five-time Boston/New England Emmy Award-winner (and twenty-time nominee) for the television program “The Folklorist”

11/18/21: FRIDA KAHLO: The Definitive Film Exploring the Life and Art of a Global Icon: Who was Frida Kahlo? Everyone knows her, but who was the woman behind the bright colors, the big brows, and the floral crowns? A Seventh Art Production film, directed by Ali Ray. Run time 90 Minutes

12/2/21: Dresses Set Beautiful: Black Craftswomen in the 19th-Century Connecticut Valley, 1840-1880; presented by UMass Amherst Prof. Marla Miller


The Ubora and Ahadi Youth Award Ceremony, Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration, September 18, 6-8 pm, Wood Museum of Springfield History, $15/adult, $10/child, refreshments provided by BayState Health. Winners of the 2021 Ubora and Ahadi Youth awards for African Americans with exemplary leadership in Springfield are Robert “Cee” Jackson and Tigist Dawit Terefe. For reservations please visit SpringfieldMuseums.org or phone 413-314-6425.

True Stories and Tall Tales of the Springfield Quadrangle, October 23, 5:30–6:30 pm and 7-8 pm, Cost: $10, Members: $3. During this outdoor-only event we will regale you with famous, mysterious, and sometimes-true stories of the Quadrangle and the five museums on our campus.

Charles Neville Jazz Brunch, November 7, 9:30–11 am, Cost: $10, Members: FREE. Gather at the Wood Museum of Springfield History as we celebrate the life of the late Grammy-Award-winning R&B and jazz musician and Massachusetts resident Charles Neville. Enjoy a delicious brunch and tour the special exhibit Horn Man.

Recurring Programs

Stars over Springfield, First Friday of the month September-June, 7:30–8:30 pm, $3 adults, $2 children. Join members of the Springfield Stars Club for skygazing in the Science Museum’s observatory. If overcast, attendees will be offered a tour of the observatory.

Astroquest Online, Third Tuesday monthly, yearlong, 7–8 pm, free. This is an online event! As the universe expands, be sure that your knowledge and appreciation of all things astronomical expands along with it! This monthly virtual series features a Q&A segment on a topic in astronomy as well as a tour of the sights you can observe. We will also be treated to photographs from local amateur astronomers highlighting recent observations.

Sensory Friendly Saturdays, Second Saturday monthly, 9-11 am, Sensory Friendly Saturdays provide less noise, less bright light, and cool-down spaces for those who have sensory sensitivity. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Springfield Science Museum will open early, with some exhibits modified to provide an opportunity for people with a range of differing abilities to experience what the museums have to offer. Trained staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and, if necessary, direct visitors to a quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break. Sensory-friendly crafts for all ages will be available in the Cat’s Corner.

Members Only

Dog Day, October 2, 9–10 am, $2, must register online. Museum members only! A special morning on the North Lawn for leashed congenial canines and their human companions.

True Stories and Tall Tales of the Springfield Quadrangle (Members Only), October 22, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm and 7-8 pm, Cost: $3, Museum Members Only! During this outdoor-only event we will regale you with famous, mysterious, and sometimes-true stories of the Quadrangle and the five museums on our campus.Each participant will receive a branded flashlight to bring along on the tour.  This program is recommended for visitors 10 and up.


Ai Weiwei: Tradition and Dissent has been made possible in part by a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Sponsored by Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin: Counsellors at Law.

Constructing Poetry: Sculptural Work by Don Gummer is sponsored by Giuliano Richardson & Sfara LLC; NAI Plotkin; Property Profile, Inc.;Andrea Farkas; and Lisa Wysocki.

The Body Adorned: Artistry and Legacy of the Ancient Americas is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.

Art Bridges and Museum of Fine Arts Boston