We've seriously missed family outings to four-walled spaces since the pandemic, so the opportunity to break up our week with a visit to the Berkshire Museum was such a delight! We were excited to see the newly renovated 2nd floor and welcome Wally back to the front lawn! The kids were thrilled to see the giant stegosaurus and we spent some time marveling at his shiny new exterior. Then it was off to the races (not literally, as I reminded M & V multiple times that we don't run in museums), we donned our masks and headed through the glittering doors.
After grabbing a map, we chose to start on the 2nd floor and work our way down to the Aquarium (basement-level). There are three brand new exhibits on view upstairs. The shining new floors led us through the grandeur of the Ellen Crane Memorial Room and into a land of discovery. Objects and Their Stories is a neat mix of old and new, a rotating display of items from the Berkshire Museum's permanent collection that have been selected and curated in a creatively appealing design. The display of animal busts and skeletons was fascinating to see and I could barely keep up as M made a beeline for the mummies! The interactive exhibit tracking ancient Pahat's journey from Egypt to the Berkshires was incredibly cool and the hands-on tech made it more impactful for my 8-year old son. We also spent some tactile time attempting to fold a paper boat that resembled the Greek goddess Nike's victory at Samothrace. You can tell that a lot of thought went into creating a space that beckons to both young and old alike. Make sure to say hi to Old Bill!
We took brief turns through all the other brand new exhibits, Muh-he-con-ne-ok: The People of the Waters That Are Never Still and The Land of the Thunder Dragon:
Bhutan Through the Lens of Mead Eagle Photography. I was personally most excited to see the former, curated in partnership with the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican community, but with a 5-year old in tow, M and I did not have much time to slow down and take it all in. V was happy to see the bear, turtle, — the four representations of the Mohican clans, but the exhibits here are much more suited for children ages 8 and up. M and I have plans to return — just the two of us.
On to the first floor we traipsed, through the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, over the lands of miniature animals (dioramas built and installed over a 24-year period!), deep into our Berkshire backyard (my absolute favorite!), and finishing with the gallery of rocks and minerals. This floor is by far one of the most entertaining parts of the museum for children. We spent some time in the Berkshire Backyard naming the flora and fauna we've personally spotted on our outdoor adventures. V loved the glow-in-the-dark rocks in the mineral gallery!
Last but certainly not least, we hit the Aquarium. Featuring live reptiles, fish, turtles, and more, this is the pièce de résistance for any kid-friendly visit to the museum. We arrived in the morning, so the animals had just been fed and were pretty active. We searched through the dense jungle in search of a rainbow of poison dart frogs and shuddered under the watchful gaze of the ball pythons (me, I shuddered.) The touch tank was not open, so check with the museum in advance if that's something you're interested in. Pro-tip: There are bathrooms on this level as well, making it a great last stop before hitting the road.
We had such a wonderful morning exploring at the Berkshire Museum. Back at the car, M said something that summed up our visit the best: "Everywhere I turned there was something to look at, my neck couldn't even keep up!"
Open 7 Days a Week 10 a.m. to 5 p.m
Berkshire Museum Members FREE
Children ages 4 to 17 $8
Children ages 3 and under visit free!
EBT Cardholders receive free regular admission through Museums for All and the EBT Card to Culture program.
Walk-in visitors are welcome, however museum capacity is still limited. Advance tickets are recommended.
As of Monday, August 2, all visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a protective face covering while inside the museum regardless of vaccination status to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Off-street parking is available for 3 hours on South Street in the lot next to the Colonial Theatre.
Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street, Pittsfield. 01201