Stockbridge, MA– In his January 6, 1941 address to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The groundbreaking speech, whose concepts would be incorporated into the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also caught the attention of illustrator Norman Rockwell, who was looking for a way to contribute his own talents for the ongoing war effort.  Using his Arlington, Vermont neighbors as reference, Rockwell began working on a series of illustrations depicting each of the freedoms President Roosevelt had outlined in his speech, and his “Four Freedoms” paintings would rally Americans to purchase 133 million dollars in war bonds and stamps, following their publication in “The Saturday Evening Post” and inclusion in a national tour visited by millions.

“Freedom of Speech,” Norman Rockwell. 1943.

“Freedom of Speech,” Norman Rockwell. 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4” x 35 1/2” Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” February 20, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©1943 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

“Norman Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’ are some of the artist’s most iconic and important works,” says Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “We are truly blessed that he chose to donate the original paintings to Norman Rockwell Museum’s permanent collection. These majestic works are displayed in their own dedicated gallery, where they have inspired visitors from around the world; they still find resonance in President Roosevelt’s stated ideals and Rockwell’s visual interpretations. The Museum is proud to pay tribute to the enduring legacy of these important human values during this anniversary year.”

Gallery Talk: “The Four Freedoms”
Thursday, January 6, 2:30 p.m.

Celebrate the 70th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech. Curator of Education Tom Daly will offer historical insights and discuss Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings, which were inspired by FDR’s stirring words. Free with Museum admission.

Four Freedoms Day: A 70th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, January 15, 12 to 4 p.m.

Explore the impact of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s pivotal 1941 speech to Congress during this afternoon of insightful presentations and performances that bring  consideration to a significant moment in history. Featured presentations include:
*”Four Freedoms Today” with Gina Pollara, Director of Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, New York
*”Roosevelt, Rockwell, and the Four Freedoms: How a Slip of the Tongue Inspired Artists and Changed the World” with Dr. James Kimble, Seton Hall University
*”Norman Rockwell’s ‘Four Freedoms’: Images That Inspired a Nation” with author Stuart Murray
*Meet President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, portrayed by actor Johan Trebeiwesser, who will deliver his legendary Four Freedoms speech.

The afternoon event is free with regular Museum admission.

 

Four Freedoms Forums: Town Hall Meetings at Norman Rockwell Museum
Thursdays, January 27, February 17, March 24, 5:30 p.m.

Love Town Meeting Day? Tired of political shouting rants? Not sure what to think about the important issues of the day? Civil discourse founded on respectful listening is a cherished, democratic practice in New England. Share your thoughts on the most compelling issues of our day—this series of town hall conversations, inspired by Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, will explore aspects of our democracy in a rapidly changing and increasingly global world. Noted commentators will offer observations and inspire moderated community discourse. Community conversation at Town Hall Meetings are free and open to the public.

Sickness, Wellness and Social Responsibility. A Community Dialogue
January 27, 5:30 p.m.

Is Berkshire County sick? Western Massachusetts has the worst health and wellness statistics in the Commonwealth, despite a sterling health care network and an abundance of alternative healing resources. What are the effects of rural living? Health insurance costs escalating? Is there access to affordable health care? Join us for conversation about one of the nation’s most pressing topics–health care for all.

Freedom From Want: Food, Farmers and Families–A Community Dialogue
February 17, 5:30 p.m.

Food. We all need it; we all love it; can we all afford it? Do we know where our food comes from? From sustainable, locally sourced food to modern factory farming; empty food pantries and gourmet groceries–safe, affordable food for all is a complex subject. Join in community conversation about this basic human right.

Four Freedoms for All? A Community Dialogue About Immigration
March 24, 5:30 p.m.

We are all immigrants in America. The Statue of Liberty is inscribed:  “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Gain a better understanding of immigration policy and the changing demographics of the Berkshires through this enlightening community conversation.

Four Freedoms in Ethiopia

The Four Freedoms will also be celebrated internationally; on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech, and the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s founding of the Peace Corps, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Donald Booth, has invited Norman Rockwell Museum Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as a U.S. Speaker and Specialist of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Programs. Ms. Norton Moffatt will present talks on Norman Rockwell’s illustrations of “The Four Freedoms” and the Peace Corps (in 1964 Rockwell traveled to Ethiopia to paint Peace Corps volunteers at work for “Look” magazine).

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