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Springfield's top museums are conveniently clustered in Springfield Museums Quadrangle, a short stroll from Court Square.

Deacon Samuel Chapin statue by St-Gaudens, Springfield MA
Deacon Samuel Chapin
by Augustus St-Gaudens.


Just northeast of Court Square is the Springfield Central Library, at Springfield Museums Quadrangle, corner of State and Chestnut streets (map).

At the entrance to the Quadrangle, in Merrick Park, is Augustus Saint Gaudens's statue of Deacon Samuel Chapin (1598-1675) called The Puritan.

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

The museum (tel 413-733-4214) houses the collection of its eponymous founder, who amassed a fortune manufacturing carriages, and then spent it on works of art, everything from Japanese armor to Islamic carpets.

The armor collection is one of the finest outside Asia, and the Chinese cloisonné is equally impressive. There are lacquer-work screens, textiles, ceramics, and a fine collection of 19th-century European and American paintings.

Museum of Fine Arts

This museum (tel 413-732-6092) has more than 20 galleries. Its collection is built on lesser masters, or lesser paintings of the great masters, but is a fine representation nonetheless.

Pride of place—right above the main stairway—goes to Erastus Salisbury Field's The Rise of the American Republic, which can keep you busy for the better part of an hour. You'll see why.

The Impressionist and Expressionist gallery includes a painting from Monet's Haystacks series, and works by Degas, Dufy, Gauguin, Pissarro, Renoir, Rouault, and Vlaminck.

In the Contemporary gallery you'll find works by George Bellows, Lyonel Feininger, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Picasso, among others. Modern sculptors featured include Leonard Baskin and Richard Stankiewicz.

Springfield Science Museum

The Science Museum (tel 413-733-1194) is a good place to take kids. Besides the historic Seymour Planetarium, there's a multilevel African Hall with exhibits explaining that continent's diverse peoples, animals, and ecology.

In the Dinosaur Hall, standing beneath the full-size replica of Tyrannosaurus Rex, you can learn what it feels like to be some creature's prospective lunch. In another exhibit, TAM (the Transparent Anatomical Mannikin) explains how her very visible and nicely illuminated organs and physical systems work.

Connecticut Valley Historical Museum

The Historical Museum (tel 413-732-3080) is devoted to the decorative and domestic arts of the Connecticut River Valley from 1636 to the present. Collections of furniture, pewter, and glass are enhanced by four period rooms: a 17th-century kitchen, a Federal-period dining room, and two rooms from an early 19th-century tavern.

Springfield Museums
Museum Quadrangle
21 Edwards Street
Springfield MA 01103 (map)
Tel 800-625-7738, 413-263-6800

—by Tom Brosnahan

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Museum, Library & Seuss Park, Springfield MA

The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Central Library and Dr Seuss Sculpture Garden in the Springfield Museums Quadrangle.

City Library, Springfield MA

Central Library, Springfield MA.


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