Museum History

Museum History: The Old Corner House in Stockbridge, MA., the first site of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

The Old Corner House in Stockbridge, MA., the first site of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Founded in 1969 with the help of Norman and Molly Rockwell, Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of Rockwell’s work and his contributions to society, popular culture, and social commentary. The Museum, which is accredited by the American Association of Museums, is the most popular year-round cultural attraction in the Berkshires.

The Museum houses the world’s largest and most significant collection of Rockwell’s work, including 998 original paintings and drawings. Rockwell lived in Stockbridge for the last 25 years of his life. Rockwell’s Stockbridge studio, moved to the Museum site, is open to the public from May through October, and features original art materials, his library, furnishings, and personal items. The Museum also houses the Norman Rockwell Archives, a collection of more than 100,000 items, including working photographs, letters, personal calendars, fan mail, and business documents.

Having spent its first 24 years at the Old Corner House on Stockbridge’s Main Street, the Museum moved to its present location, a 36-acre site overlooking the Housatonic River Valley, in 1993. Internationally renowned architect Robert A. M. Stern designed the Museum gallery building.

Museum History: Peter, Thomas and Jarvis Rockwell plant a tree in dedication to their father and the reopening of the Norman Rockwell Museum at its new location in 1994. Photo by Michael Flower

Peter, Thomas and Jarvis Rockwell plant a tree in dedication to their father and the reopening of the Norman Rockwell Museum at its new location in 1994. Photo by Michael Flower

One of the great charms of the Museum is its location. Many of Rockwell’s world-renowned images were drawn from the surrounding community and its residents. “The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, must be one of the most popular museums in the world,” wrote author Paul Johnson, “crammed from dawn till dusk with delighted visitors crowding round the originals of much-loved paintings. And one of the further pleasures of this enchanting place is that in the nearby little towns you can recognize among the locals the children and grandchildren of those whom Rockwell painted with dedicated veracity.”

 

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