Welcome to WAM Updates

WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

We hope you like reading the Updates! If you are interested in learning about something specific, or have a suggestion for a WAM Update, please update us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Last Defense: The Genius of Japanese Meiji Metalwork

One hundred and fifty years ago samurai arms and armor overnight transformed from symbols of power and prestige of the samurai warrior class to nostalgic curios.  With the start of the Meiji revolution in 1868, power effectively transferred from the samurai class to the emperor.  In the arts, the decline of the samurai class most directly affected metalworkers who had to innovate and rescale their skills from making tour de force works of combat and defense to fine decorative works for the new flourishing export market as well as the court.  Instead of working for a samurai lord who would demand the best work regardless of cost, metalworkers and armorers had to appeal to a new clientele that desired quality as well as value for their money.  Last Defense: The Genius of Japanese Meiji Metalwork celebrates the ingenuity and creativity of the last generation of classically trained metalmakers during this rapid period of transition from the late 19th century into the new modern age.

Metalworking training in the previous Edo period (1603-1868) would start from an early age completing years of menial chores in the atelier of a master metalworker before receiving any substantial instruction.  Eventually, the successful apprentice would be adopted into the master’s family and then establish his own workshop to carry on their tradition of making.  Based on this strong foundation of Edo period craftsmanship, elite armorers such as the dominant four centuries-old Myochin family adapted their skills in remarkable ways.

Samurai arms and armor forms and techniques became inspiration for decorative artworks, such as an incense burner in the shape of a miniaturized helmet and a finely articulated dragon on view in the current exhibition.  As the new markets could not discern cheap imitations from fine works, however, master metalworkers had to lower their standards or shut down.  By the 1940s such outstanding mastery and splendor in metal making was rarely ever seen again.

-Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art

Monday, October 23, 2017

Armor Invasion!

Suit of armor on display in the Renaissance galleries The next time you visit our Renaissance painting galleries you will notice some dramatic changes. We have started integrating suits of armor into the galleries, getting more of the Higgins Armory collection on view for our visitors. As curator at the Armory for 15 years, I was often frustrated that I could never show the suits of armor in connection with other kinds of objects of the period. The limitations of a small museum also meant that I was never able to put significant resources into how the armor was displayed. So I’m pretty thrilled by the new installation—these armors have never looked better. We put a lot of effort into helping visitors get a feel for how they actually looked on a human being, and seeing them in relation to other artworks of the period helps put them into their proper setting. So come see some star suits from the Higgins Collection, now in their “natural habitat” for the very first time in centuries!

- Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art

Monday, September 18, 2017

The WAM Experience - Reflections of a Summer Intern

As a curatorial intern at the Worcester Art Museum I had the opportunity to gain a one-of-a-kind experience behind the scenes of the museum.

I mainly worked on preparing mannequins for four suits of armor and a chain mail shirt for the Renaissance Galleries and Medieval Gallery. Like any other job, this one had its challenges. Dressing the mannequins was the most difficult part. I couldn’t use a sewing machine because the clothing had to be sewn in place on the mannequins. The work was even harder when I had to hold the mannequin up with one hand while sewing its pants with the other! However, the day we went to the storage room and loaded the armor onto the finished mannequins I was rewarded with a glimpse of the completed project. Seeing something I made coming together, and knowing that it will be on display, made me particularly proud, because in my own way I played a significant part in an important project at the museum. A few days later I had the pleasure of seeing one of the suits of armor in its glass case, ready for the public to enjoy it. All the hard work had finally paid off and the obstacles I encountered made me more experienced.

My internship wasn’t just making clothes for the mannequins. I loved taking part in Free Fun Friday, interacting with visitors in the museum’s Medieval Galleries. I was part of the team staffing the medieval cart, helping kids and grownups try on reproduction armor. Through this experience, the visitors were not limited to just looking at objects, they had a chance to feel the material and weight and understand the function of the objects they saw on display.

Throughout my internship I was included in decisionmaking, my opinion was always taken into account and I was always part of a team. The staff were always willing to advise and guide me in the projects I worked on. My internship at the Worcester Art Museum created a solid foundation for my future—thank you to everyone who made it an amazing experience for me.

- Sofia Pitouli, Curatorial Intern

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Summer Youth Student Exhibition on view now

The Higgins Education Wing will exhibit artwork created by young artists as a part of the Studio Art Program’s summer classes from August 5 – September 17. Our Summer Youth Student Exhibition presents over 200 works of art by young artists from 50 classes in the areas of painting, sculpture, illustration, mixed media, and printmaking. The exhibition features a wide range of visual practices, spanning many genres and media.

Artwork by WAM Student Jane Curran
Our philosophy places value on the process of creating art and learning to think and respond creatively. We provide an environment where students can explore other cultures through our outstanding collection of artworks from antiquities to contemporary art. Students will have the opportunity to try new materials and gain self-confidence. All youth, not just those with perceived talents, benefit from working with art materials and learning about self-expression.

The exhibition, located in the Higgins Education Wing, is free and open to the public Sunday–Saturday, from 9am to 5pm. Register for a WAM Studio Art Class to be eligible for our next student exhibition! WAM’s fall session for adult starts September 11th and youth/teen classes start September 23rd. 

Click here for more information about faculty and their classes or to register today. 
- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Monday, August 28, 2017

New hours and admission prices take effect September 1

Starting on September 1, the Worcester Art Museum will have new hours.  The galleries will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm and on the third Thursday of each month from 10am to 8pm.  The Lancaster Street Welcome Center will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

In addition, there will be a modest increase in the cost of admission for adults, seniors, and college students. The new admission prices are $16 for adults and $14 for seniors and college students. The admission price for ages 4-17 remains $6.  There is no admission charge for children ages 3 and under. Admission is always free for anyone who would like to purchase a Museum membership. 
Why is the Museum changing the hours it is open?  We know that both school groups and families with young children prefer to visit in the morning, while attendance overall tends to taper off by late-afternoon. By opening and closing an hour earlier, we will be able to meet the needs of all of our audiences and to be more efficient in staffing the galleries.

Why is the Museum increasing its admission fees?  The modest increase in the Museum’s admission fees will help pay for the programs, exhibitions, collections, and services that our visitors enjoy.  We will continue to offer Free First Saturday mornings and Free August, so that everyone—regardless of ability to pay admission—can have transformative art experiences at WAM. 
In addition, the Museum participates in the EBT Card to Culture program offering EBT cardholders reduced admission of $2 cash per person for up to four people.   EBT Card to Culture is a collaboration between the Mass Cultural Council and the Executive Office of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Transitional Assistance.  It ensures the state’s best cultural and educational experiences are accessible to low-income residents.   

If you have any questions about these changes, please don’t hesitate to contact us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org.
-   Julieane K. Frost, Manager of Marketing, Communications and Design

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

America’s Peculiar Institution

The paintings on view in the Worcester Art Museum’s American portrait galleries celebrate a story of mercantile exchange, rational thought, and military prowess. As with most portraits, however, these paintings depict the sitters as they wish to be seen—their best selves—rather than simply recording appearance. The sitters are shown in poses and with objects intended to articulate their social status, such as the fine fabrics and coral beads in the portraits of John, Elizabeth, and Mary Freake.

At his death, John Freake’s estate included partial ownership of six ships, significant holdings of land, and “one Negroe named Coffee,” who was valued at £30. (Source: Inventory of the estate of John Freake, 24th day, 7th month, 1675, Suffolk County Probate, Boston, miscellaneous docket, V, 294–96.)

Yet a great deal of information is effaced in works such as these, including the sitters’ reliance on chattel slavery, often referred to as America’s “peculiar institution.” The Freakes, like many other wealthy American citizens, supported their way of life through this system of violence and oppression, which was legal in Massachusetts until 1783 and in regions of the United States until 1865. This tragic history has long been overlooked in our galleries—to address this omission, the Museum has added special labels to indicate different portrait sitters’ participation in slavery.

- Elizabeth Athens, Assistant Curator of American Art

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Armor in the Galleries

Now that we’ve installed our new Medieval Galleries, featuring a selection of objects from the Higgins Armory Collection, we have started to incorporate arms and armor into other parts of the Museum as well. Come check out the helmets recently added to the [remastered] paintings gallery. The one shown below is from the early 1600s and weighs a punishing 10 ½ lbs. It’s a siege helmet, for use in fortifications rather than on the march, and it’s made to be proof against musket balls. In fact, there are two bullet marks in the rear, evidence that it saved someone’s life more than once.

Watch the galleries over the next few months as we begin to install some suits of armor to keep company with our spectacular collection of Renaissance paintings!

- Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art

Photographs:  Kim Noonan / Worcester Art Museum

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

WAM Superlatives Wall encourages "best" thinking

This May we launched a new way to engage visitors with works in the WAM collection.  Located just inside the Higgins Education Wing on the first floor, our “Superlatives Wall” presents a different topic each month and encourages guests to vote for their favorite work of art in various categories. Guests are also encouraged to comment on WHY they voted for an artwork. Our first question was “Which event would you rather attend?” We pitted Model of a Ball Game, 1947.25; The Discovery of Honey by Bacchus, 1937.76; and These Days of Maiuma, against each other. Over 300 people voted and over 60 comments were left; the winner was Model of a Ball Game with 43% of the vote.  

Almost as soon as the images were up, our wall started filling up with votes and comments. The wall changes monthly, to make room for a new question — but don’t worry; we’re keeping track of all the feedback, hoping to learn what in our collection most intrigues and inspires our guests.

Below are some of the most thought-provoking comments so far:

The Discovery of Honey by Bacchus:

  • Diversity appears to be welcome!
  • It is a great piece of art and there are so many details! I could look at it for hours.
  • I like this painting because it reminds me of freedom.
  • Because it seems that everybody is having fun!
  • Because I am interested in Greek Mythology.
Model of a Ball Game (see above):
  • The crowd looks like they are having normal conversations and everyone seems happy and well fed.
  • Because it's an interesting subject.
  • Very intrigued by the Mayan culture and artifacts!
  • Because it interests me and I play ball.
  • Ancient relics reveal hidden truths.

 These Days of Maiuma

  • would want to know what its true meaning is.
  • Hunting theme that relates to the mosaic.
  • Because beautiful chaos is my jam!
  • I like it because it shows an accurate representation of the world today!
  • It shows what humanity looks like!
  • Because the piece is in a style that I live and everyone lives a little chaos!

The next time you are at WAM, look for the Superlatives Wall and let us know what YOU think!

Megan Blomgren Burgess
Public Events Coordinator

Friday, June 16, 2017

AP Art History Class Exhibition

Artwork created by students from the Worcester Public Schools Advanced Placement Art History (APAH) class is currently on view in the Higgins Education Wing. The 2016-2017 student exhibition featuring work by 35 students is on view through July 23, 2017. APAH is designed to provide the same benefits to secondary school students as those provided by an introductory college course in art history. In the course, students examine major forms of artistic expression from the ancient world to the present and from a variety of cultures. They learn to look and analyze works of art within their historical context, and to articulate what they see or experience in a meaningful way. One way to experience works of art is learning to frame an understanding that relates how and why works of art communicate visual meaning.

This innovative program collaboration began in 2010 between Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Art Museum. The course is held every Tuesday and Thursday nights and allows students from Worcester’s seven high schools to engage in the authentic study of art history. Historically, approximately 70% of students who take the required APAH exam at the end of the course receive a score of three or better, enabling them to earn advanced placement in college and/or advanced college credit.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Higgins Education Wing is open Sunday–Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

Click here for more information about WAM faculty and studio art classes

- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Image: Artwork by student Diane Khong

Monday, May 15, 2017

Eyes on Adult Art!

The Higgins Education Wing will again exhibit artwork created by WAM’s adult students as a part of the Studio Art Program’s classes from May 12 – June 4. Our annual Adult Student Art Exhibition presents over 90 works of art by WAM artists in the areas of collage, collagraph, acrylic and oil painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, and more. The exhibition features a wide range of visual practices, spanning many genres and media.

Our philosophy places value on the process of creating art and learning to think and respond creatively. We provide an environment where students can explore other cultures through our outstanding collection of artworks from antiquities to contemporary art. Students will have the opportunity to try new materials and gain self-confidence. All artists, not just those with perceived talents, benefit from working with art materials and learning about self expression.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Higgins Education Wing is open Sunday–Saturday, 9am–5pm. Register for a Studio Art Class with Worcester Art Museum to be eligible for our next student exhibitions! WAM’s Summer session for adult starts July 10th.

Click here for more information about WAM faculty and their classes

- Ashley Occhino,  Manager of Studio Class Programs

Image: Frank J Pozzi (Student), Eye On You

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WAM & WPI Medieval Collaboration

Hi, we’re four students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and we’ve spent the last seven weeks conducting research in collaboration with WAM's Arms and Armor Curator, Jeffrey Forgeng. You may have seen us surveying in the Medieval or Asian Galleries lately—we've been researching how the touch interactives in the Medieval Galleries add to the museumgoing experience. We also developed a new trivia game in the Medieval Gallery so you can come and Test your Knightly Knowledge! And check out the link below to enjoy our video showcasing some of the fun to be had at WAM. We hope you enjoy your experience in the Medieval galleries as much as we did!

Learn more about Reinstallation of the Medieval Galleries

- Kyle Carrero, Jake Halverson, Allyson Mills, Amanda Richards

Friday, April 14, 2017

Welcoming “little ones” to WAM

As a parent with two young children myself, I understand the challenges of visiting cultural institutions as a family. Art museum visits can seem doubly stressful to parents of young children. However, WAM’s renewed focus on supporting family visits—especially to support preschool audiences—should put your minds at ease.

One of our new initiatives is Helmutt’s Drop-In Studio, a place for kids to unlock their imaginations and get creative. Operating during set hours, this staffed studio space in the Higgins Education Wing hosts projects related to our exhibitions and permanent collections. The studio is first-come, first-served, so that our staff educators can devote special attention to your children.

We’ve also implemented a new Stroller Tour program, which has been very popular. This group meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month, a half hour before the Museum opens—so families have devoted private time to themselves to enjoy the galleries, and each other. These tours focus on family-friendly themes and are followed by snacks in Helmutt’s Drop-In Studio, providing an opportunity for Moms, Dads, or other caregivers to socialize.

Kids get hungry, so the Museum Café offers a special children’s menu, and the Sip Cart in the Lancaster Welcome Center has quick-service snacks and lunches. You can also bring your own snacks to eat in the Welcome Center or, in nice weather, the Stoddard Courtyard. Parents can feel free to breast or bottle feed their infants anywhere in the Museum.

Are you planning a visit to WAM with your little ones? Here are some tips for making your time here enjoyable.
  1. Know before you go: Check the Museum’s hours, amenities, accessible entrances, daily programs, and exhibition schedule on our website before you head out. Plot out what is most important for you to get out of your visit.
  2. Visit for free: A WAM family membership pays for itself quickly, especially if you plan on visiting more than one time, plan on taking classes, or to plan on visiting the café or shop. Do the math, it’s worth it!
  3. Use family parking: WAM has designated parking spots for expectant mothers and families with young children. Look for the orange signage in the Salisbury and Tuckerman lots.
  4. Look for the Museum’s Touch Carts: these instructive carts teach our guests what happens to art over time when it is touched. It is a great opportunity to learn Museum rules, and to touch art material in a safe context!
  5. Let the member of your group with the shortest attention span set the length of the visit: This is often your youngest family member, but not always. Follow this person’s lead, and leave when he or she begins to look weary. You can always explore more another day!
Click here for more information on family visits to WAM

Have any suggestions for new programs and amenities to help support your family’s visit to WAM? Let us know your thoughts! Email us at katrinastacy@worcesterart.org

- Katrina Stacy, Associate Curator of Education

Friday, March 10, 2017

Worcester State University Student Presentations in Spanish on 'Highest Heaven'

At special event on Thursday, April 20th from 6-7:30 Worcester State University graduate students will present their research on paintings and artifacts in the exhibition Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection, in Spanish in the Hiatt Gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. We invite everyone to attend and extend a special welcome to those in Worcester’s Spanish-speaking community for an in-depth look at these stunning paintings and their cultural contexts. The presenters, Poliana Alarcon, Carolyn Bernier, Zachary D'Orsi, Elizabeth Flaherty, Am Cecil Fuoti, Juan Hernandez, Jenny Lizardo, Adriana Lugo Zayas, Kerry Moynihan, Nora O’Brien, Thomas Pokoly, Gloria Rivera, and Scott Sponseller, are all students in Dr. Antonio Guijarro-Donadios’ class “Conquistadors and the Conquered: Gold, Religion, and Colonial Culture in the High Plains of South America.”

The students visited WAM in March and each chose an object from the exhibition. Then, with the help of their professor along with the WAM librarian Deborah Aframe, they conducted research in the Museum library and wrote a paper connecting the art object, their research and their course studies on colonial narratives.

The event will be held as part of WAM’s Third Thursday events, monthly evenings offering live music, cheese and crackers, and a cash bar. The Museum will be open until 8 pm. Students from institutions such as WSU that have a WAM institutional membership receive free entrance to the Museum with their WSU ID. For more information about the event contact aguijarrodonadios@worcester.edu or kwaters@worcester.edu

Learn more about Highest Heaven

- Kristin Waters, Ph.D.

Presidential Fellow for Art, Education, and Community
Professor of Philosophy
Worcester State University

Image: Our Lady of Candlemas with Donors, Roberta and Richard Huber Collection. Photograph by Graydon Wood, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Youth Art Month exhibition coming in March

Worcester Art Museum is excited to again host a regional Youth Art Month exhibition this March. Organized by teachers from area school districts in conjunction with the Worcester Art Museum, this multi-media exhibit features student artwork from communities across central Massachusetts. Established in 1961, Youth Art Month (YAM) is an annual observance in March designed to emphasize the value of art education for all youth and to encourage support for quality school art programs. YAM provides a forum for acknowledging skills that are fostered through experiences in the visual arts.

YAM encourages support for quality school art programs and promotes art material safety. The Council for Art Education (CFAE) administers the program at the national level. The program provides a medium for recognizing skills developed through visual arts experiences unlike any other curriculum subjects, including special exhibits that take place annually to celebrate visual art education for grades K – 12. YAM is a month in which thousands of American schools participate every year.

On Sunday, March 12, 2017 an opening reception will be held at the Worcester Art Museum for students and their families. Families are welcomed to attend the opening reception for Grades K-8 between 12:30pm-2:30pm, during which time there will be guest speakers and student musical performances to enjoy.

The exhibit will be open to the public March 1 through April 2 in the Higgins Education Wing of the Worcester Art Museum. Admission to this exhibit is free. In addition to the Worcester Art Museum’s regional YAM exhibit, the Massachusetts Art Education Association will host a statewide YAM exhibit at the Transportation Building in Boston on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Learn more about Youth Art Month

- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ed Emberley Book Week

I fondly remember my first Ed Emberley drawing book, Ed Emberley’s Big Purple Drawing Book. This book not only introduced me to the world of drawing, but also fed my imagination. From this book I spent hours drawing the images from this book and doing so over and over again. It is because of my experience and that of so many other adults and children that we are observing and sharing Ed Emberley Book Week from February 19-25, 2017.

The Ed Emberley Book Week is designed to encourage readers and artists of all ages to read, draw, and celebrate the gift of imagination and the many worlds created by Emberley and his books. The Ed Emberley Book Week is perfect for libraries and librarians, schools and teachers, parents and children all over the world to draw attention to the works of Ed Emberley. We’ve made the following Book Week tools available for your usage:

  • A special week of programming at the Worcester Art Museum and the Worcester Public Library, in conjunction with KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley, on view at WAM through April 9, 2017
  • Ed Emberley Coloring Sheets
  • Curriculum Guides for K-2 Teachers
  • Book Week Reading List Recommendations
  • Make-Your-Own-Ed Emberley Book Week Poster!

Please join the Worcester Art Museum in celebrating this storyteller and artist. Pick up a book and read to a class, create a display at your library, school or book store, take to social media and share your masterpiece with us.

Visit Ed Emberley Book Week for more information and happy reading!

Learn more about the Ed Emberley Book Week
Learn more about KAHBAHBLOOOM: The Art and Storytelling of Ed Emberley 

- Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement

Monday, January 30, 2017

Now On View: Changing Colors at Court

Two magnificent objects created for the Chinese imperial court have recently been installed in the Chinese Decorative Arts Gallery—a Ming dynasty 16th-century wucai porcelain dish depicting a garden scene and a Qing dynasty 18th-century cloisonné enamel incense burner. The two objects represent new possibilities for polychrome decoration with the use of enamels, or colored powdered glass.

Wucai literally means “five colors” and was an innovation in polychrome decoration for porcelains developed in early 16th-century China. While the number of colors is not strictly limited to five, the wucai palette always includes an intense cobalt blue applied under the clear glaze combined with vivid overglaze enamels, or colored powdered glass fused onto the glazed surface. These enamels commonly were red, green, turquoise, and yellow.

Cloisonné enamel is a method of polychrome decoration for metal wares popular during the Qing dynasty. Wires of bronze or copper are bent and attached to follow the outlines of a decorative design drawn onto the metal body of a vessel, such as the bronze incense burner here. Powdered glass of various colors are applied to fill the decorative design and then fired to melt and fuse them to the body of the vessel, followed by grounding and polishing the surface to create a smooth finish. Colorful and sumptuous, cloisonné enameled objects were primarily intended for decorative and household items in palaces and temples.

- Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art


Dish with Design of Pheasant, Garden Rock, Peonies and Peach Boughs
Wanli period (1573-1620) of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Six character (regular script) blue mark:
Da Ming Wanli nian zhi (“Made in the Wanli reign of the great Ming dynasty”)
Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province
Porcelain with wucai painted underglaze cobalt blue and colored enamels over transparent glaze
Private Collection

Qianlong Period; dated 1736–1795
Cloisonné enamel with gilt bronze
Private Collection

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2016 Collection Year-in-Review

Well, the year 2016 has closed and what a year it was! Here at the Worcester Art Museum, we were hard at work behind-the-scenes, assisting with various projects and tasks.

Every year, WAM continues to build on its internationally acclaimed collection of objects, and this past year did not disappoint. Most notably, was the purchase of a pair of paintings (one pictured below) by Philippe Jacques van Bree (French or Belgian, 1786–1871) titled Interior of the Studio of Van Dael and his students at the Sorbonne (2016.13) and a replica of the same scene done by the same artist (2016.12). The details of these particular works are most charming and deserve closer study, so check it out in the Daniels Gallery (Gallery 206) today! You can see the rest of the impressive new collection items that have been gifted to or purchased by the Museum on our online collection search page called New Acquisitions – 2016.

Not only did we have a healthy stream of acquisitions come through our door, but we also negotiated various exhibitions which pushed the boundaries of what museums can accomplish. Did anyone visit the various components of MEOW? Who else can say that they housed cats in a museum for a month?!

Between receiving new works into the collection and maneuvering a jam-packed exhibition schedule, it is important for museums to also reflect on their present collection holdings. Some time had passed since a thorough collection review had taken place, so this year action began in reviewing some of these holdings. By the end of the year, the end result was quite impressive in that we deaccessioned just under 1,000 objects from our permanent collection. Now, that’s not to say that these objects did not have any sort of value, but many were better suited in other collection holdings, such as historical houses or other museums with different historical/cultural focuses.

We at WAM feel that this information still belongs to the public and are openly sharing the first officially compiled list of deaccessions from 2016. Keep in mind this list does not specify where the object went, or who once owned the object before us. This is merely a “snapshot” of the object while it was under our care.

Here’s to what 2017 will bring us in acquisitions, exhibitions and deaccessioning!

Browse the Worcester Art Museum Collection

- Sarah Gillis, Assistant Registrar, Image Management

Image: Interior of the Studio of Van Dael and his students at the Sorbonne, Philippe Jacques van Bree (French or Belgian, 1786–1871), 1816, oil on canvas, framed: 145 × 177.5 × 11 cm (57 1/16 × 69 7/8 × 4 5/16 in.), Worcester Art Museum (MA), Stoddard Acquisition Fund, 2016.13.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Arts Alternative at WAM

The Higgins Education Wing will exhibit artwork created by young artists who have participated in Arts Alternative, a partnership between the Worcester Juvenile Courts and the Worcester Art Museum. On view from January 28 – February 25, 2017, the exhibition features a wide range of visual practices, spanning many genres and media. This collaboration provides extraordinary opportunities in the arts to court involved youths. Such as hands-on activities, working from primary source material in a museum setting, and opportunities to exhibit their creativity in a community setting.

The youth, some of whom live in foster or group homes, come once a month to WAM for two hours, spending time in our galleries and studio. Fiona Ryder, a juvenile probation officer who created this initiative, said the court usually asks youth what their hobbies are. Although there are a lot of sports programs, the court didn't have anywhere to direct budding artists. "I think a lot of the young people that come through the courts are extremely talented and haven't had an opportunity to explore that talent," she said. "My hope is they have a new avenue to pursue, and they have new interests, and they have a better self-esteem."

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Higgins Education Wing is open Sunday–Saturday, 9am-5pm.

Learn more about Studio Classes at Worcester Art Museum

- Ashley Occhino, Manager of Studio Class Programs

Image: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Education and Experience Department

The Worcester Art Museum is announcing its intention to change the name of its Education Department to the Education and Experience Department. This name change reflects a broader approach to serving a larger community searching for meaningful interactions, both traditional and non-traditional, in the museum setting. This change merges what the museum values and has historically valued: high quality experiences and learning with the recognition that positive museum experiences stimulate learning and life-long change. In its work with museum guests, the Education and Experience Department is daily inspired by the Museum’s vision statement, emphasizing the connection of art with individual experiences, joy, and discovery as well as striving to connect people, cultures, and histories with the here and now of a globalizing world. In its effort to be as inclusive and accessible as possible for all, the Education and Experience Department endeavors continually to innovate and create a wide variety of audience-focused experiences that include school tours, Community Days, Family Weekends, crowd-sourced exhibitions, enhanced interactive gallery interpretations, and more.

- Marcia Lagerwey, Curator of Education

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Worcester Art Museum to Host a Naturalization Ceremony

For the Worcester Art Museum, being a community resource is part of our DNA. In 2014, we became a polling location for the 3rd Precinct in Worcester, and participating in local, state -- and the recent presidential -- elections has deepened our commitment to engaging with our community in ways that extend beyond our galleries.

Now, I am excited to share that the Worcester Art Museum will take another step in this process of civic engagement, as we host our first naturalization ceremony at the Museum on January 11th. As an art museum, we present objects spanning thousands of years of history, and from countries and cultures around the world. And as a community, part of Worcester’s heritage and resilience comes from our long tradition of welcoming people who settle here. This is the perfect environment in which to celebrate 60 immigrants becoming citizens of the United States.

These activities raise the question: what is the role of the Museum in understanding ourselves as citizens of this society? We continue to explore this question. Our work to become a polling place led us to develop the exhibition Picket Fence to Picket Line: Visions of American Citizenship, which examines the multitude of issues that citizens of the United States encounter; from protests, to education, to land ownership. And we balance our community programing (such as our annual Art + Market farm stand with Dick’s Market Garden) with the Master Series (which spotlights our collection through lectures and gallery installations). Through such programs we work to ensure we are aware of our institutional responsibilities, seeking out new opportunities, and working to serve our community.

Learn more about the Naturalization Ceremony

Thank you,
Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement

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