Discovering Dr. Seuss (and more) in Springfield
New Museum opens June 2017!
By Barbara Rizza Mellin
From Dr. Seuss to dinosaurs, from courtly art to basketball courts, when it comes to museums, Springfield, Massachusetts, literally does have something for everyone.
Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield in 1904, and to honor him the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum opens this month near the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, that contains large bronze sculptures of some of his most popular creations. There is the 14-ft.-tall elephant, Horton, who hears a Who, Thing One and Thing Two, even a sculpture of Dr. Seuss himself, sitting at his drawing table, with the Cat in the Hat standing behind him. A large open book with an empty chair in front allows you to sit for a photo and become part of the magical Seuss world. These sculptures, created by Dr. Seuss’ stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond Cates, reside on the grassy courtyard in front of a complex of museums, known collectively as the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle.
The Science Museum, founded in 1859 as the Springfield Ethnological and Natural History Museum, contains a variety of exhibits exploring diverse areas of science and anthropology. In addition to the 20-ft.-tall model of Tyrannosaurus Rex and a life-size replica of a Stegosaurus skeleton made from a cast of an actual skeleton, the museum showcases preserved animals including an elephant, an ostrich, and a rhinoceros, live insect specimens, space rocks in the Astronomy Hall, a dioramas of New England, as well as the always fascinating Fulcrum Pendulum.
The Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, housed in an 1933 Art Deco building, contains an impressive collection of American, Asian, and European paintings, prints and sculptures, including the largest holding of lithographs in the country. The Smith Art Museum, located in an Italian-villa style building dating to 1896, offers the eclectic collection of George and Belle Smith, including Japanese armor, Middle Eastern carpets, lace, textiles and the largest collection of Chinese cloisonné outside of Asia.
The fourth museum of the complex is the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. In addition to exhibits on the history of the Connecticut River Valley and classic cars, such as a 1925 Rolls Royce roadster, it houses the largest Indian Motorcycle collection, as well of the largest collection of Smith and Wesson guns, in the world.
The new Dr. Seuss museum joins these three world-class museums in the Springfield Quadrangle, all accessible with a single admission ticket.
And just a short distance away on the banks of the Connecticut River is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum, honoring another famous native son, Dr. Naismith, who invented the game more than a century ago. With more than 300 inductees and more than 40,000 square feet of basketball history, it is a sports mecca.
As you’re planning your summer fun adventures, I hope you will include a stop in Springfield. With all there is to see and do, I know you won’t be disappointed!
Barbara Rizza Mellin is an award-winning artist and author. Find more information at www.BarbaraRizzaMellin.com