Exhibitions

Current EXHIBITIONS

Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892), River Running Between Pastures, oil on canvas, circa 1850
Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892), River Running Between Pastures, oil on canvas, circa 1850

A New View: Landscapes from the Permanent Collection

Sept 2, 2017 – Nov 4, 2018

From chair rail to ceiling, the walls on the South Gallery will be resplendent with a salon-style display of the largest grouping in decades of landscape paintings from the museum's permanent collection. Featuring more than 50 paintings from Hudson River School painters including Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, and Frederic Church, the 19th-century oil on canvas paintings will transport visitors to 1947, when museum founder Clara Endicott Sears first presented them to the public.

Photographer Unknown, Joan Appleton, 1944, photograph.
Photographer Unknown, Joan Appleton, 1944, photograph.
Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), Daniel Fuller Appleton (1826-1904), 1884, Oil on canvas, AF.206
Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), Daniel Fuller Appleton (1826-1904), 1884, Oil on canvas, AF.206

Portraits & Penmanship: The Appletons in their Own Words

Sept 2, 2017 – March 28, 2018

Curated by Susan Hill Dolan, Trustees Curator, this exhibition will continue The Trustees’ literary theme of 2017, “The Language of Nature,” by pairing significant Appleton family portraits with written materials by family members. Appleton Farms, established by Samuel Appleton in 1638, is a Trustees property in Ipswich known for its rolling grasslands, on-site dairy production, popular CSA program, Appleton Cooks! classes, workshops, farm dinners and more! Letters, toasts, and other original written ephemera will help provide intimate views and give viewers an idea of the personal and public life of this family who began the longest-operating farm in America, which continues to be a vital and fascinating site of The Trustees.

Fruitlands Farmhouse: Lisa McCarty, Fruitlands Farmhouse, archival pigment print from Color Negative, 2016
Lisa McCarty, Fruitlands Farmhouse, archival pigment print from Color Negative, 2016
Jonathan Gitelson, Star Chart, print, 2015
Jonathan Gitelson, Star Chart, print, 2015

Literary Spirit at Fruitlands Museum and the Old Manse

April 15 – November 5, 2017
Opening reception: Sunday, April 23 | 3 – 5 PM

Fruitlands Museum and the Old Manse have long inspired for writers of all kinds: sermon-writing reverends, diligent diarists, philosophers, faithful letter-writers, social theorists, and captivating masters of fiction. Inspired by the natural beauty of these special places, and encouraged by the friendships made and kept there, these writers sharpened their worldviews and developed their ideas through writing. The exhibition will cover approximately 100 years, from the 1770s when the Old Manse was inhabited by Rev. William Emerson, to A. Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott’s death, just three days apart, in 1888. At the heart of the exhibition, and in the center of the gallery space, will be the books, journals, and letters that connected these people who lived and worked in Concord and Harvard, MA. This rich literary and social history will be enhanced by photos and an interactive installation by contemporary artists Lisa McCarty and Jonathan Gitelson, and interactive writing stations that reinforce the central themes of reading, writing, and the powerful influence of place on creativity.

Artist Talk with Lisa McCarty
Wednesday, July 12 | 11AM-12Noon
Learn more >>

Artist Talk with Jonathan Gitelson
Sunday, August 6 | 2-3PM
Learn more >>

Greg Lookerse, Artist-in-Residence

Greg Lookerse, Fruitlands' artist-in-residence who has been visiting and working at the Museum since early 2017, wraps up his solo exhibition, Literary Soil, on August 20, and presents two new works he created in response to his time there. He will unveil an interactive labyrinth on the hillside just past the Museum admissions building, and a new sculpture made with book pages in the Fruitlands Farmhouse. The labyrinth is made with chalk, and visitors may alter its design and add their own marks to it. The sculpture is made with book pages, and responds to the Transcendentalist history of the Fruitlands commune of 1843. Says the artist, “As I contemplated the Fruitlands utopian experiment, themes of growth and history kept coming up. The book scroll is a sort of self portrait of the literary impacts on my life. Some of them include the Transcendentalists, but the scroll contains many more authors, with a web of connections rooted in the literary tradition.”

Also On View

Landscape and Portrait paintings from our permanent collection.


Upcoming EXHIBITIONS

Tilt-top stand, detail, circa 1810, Southern Worcester County or Connecticut, Mahogany with mixed wood inlay, possibly walnut base, From the collection at Fruitlands Museum, F.0095.217
Tilt-top stand, detail, circa 1810, Southern Worcester County or Connecticut, Mahogany with mixed wood inlay, possibly walnut base, From the collection at Fruitlands Museum, F.0095.217
Sunflower chest, detail, circa 1690, Wethersfield, Connecticut, oak, pine, maple, Part of collection at Mission House, MH.F.A.7
Sunflower chest, detail, circa 1690, Wethersfield, Connecticut, oak, pine, maple, Part of collection at Mission House, MH.F.A.7

Conversations in Craft

November 18 – March 28, 2018

Curated by the Trustees’ Senior Curator, Christie Jackson, this collaboration with the acclaimed North Bennet Street School (NBSS) of Boston will feature newly-created, original pieces of wooden furniture made by twelve select staff and alumni from NBSS alongside historical pieces of furniture from the Trustees collections.

Each participant worked closely with Jackson to select a piece of historical furniture to respond to, and they will “answer” in a range of ways -not with copies or reproductions, but in some cases with a contemporary companion to an 18th or 19-century object, such as a chair for a desk, or floral inlay that seems to bloom in response to bud-like inlay made in the 1820s. Each pair of objects – old and new – will be displayed together.

Conversations in Craft explores the stories of these historic objects, discovering the ways they were crafted, and creating new dialogues between old and new with contemporary interpretations. Through these conversations, the exhibition celebrates the rich tradition of cabinetmaking in New England that continues to this day.

PAST EXHIBITIONS

Literary Soil

April 15 – August 20, 2017
Greg Lookerse

Lookerse_install: Greg Lookerse, Installation view, Literary Soil, Fruitlands Museum, April 2017

Greg Lookerse is the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Fruitlands Museum and The Old Manse. With a practice that joins conceptual rigor with thorough craftsmanship, it is not enough for him to read texts by influential authors including St. Augustine and Annie Dillard. Once read, the pages of his personal copies become visual art. In a process that often evolves through performative consideration, the ideas held within the pages become activated and made public in a way they would not if they remained on a book shelf. Lookerse cuts and folds pages of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays into an elaborate, mandala-like relief resembling the rose window of a Gothic cathedral. Thoreau’s Walden becomes a labyrinth with a simply-hewn prayer bench standing at its center. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick become textured, monochromatic paintings as the artist systematically covers all but chapter headings with rows of white pigment.

Comforts, Cures & Distractions: Winter at Fruitlands Museum

November 29, 2016 – March 26, 2017

Find Your Park: National Parks in New England 

September 2, 2016 – March 19, 2017

Finding Metacom: Artists Duane Slick & Martin Smick in Dialogue with the Native American Collection

September 2 – November 6, 2016

Seeing Past Faces: Sculpture by Artist-in-Residence Carolyn Wirth

July 2 - August 21

Picturing Little Folk

July 2 - August 21

2016 Student Art Competition

April 15 - June 19

Hidden Treasures

January 3 - March 20, 2016

All Things Considered VIII ~ 2015

September 18 – November 29, 2015

Hidden Hudson

September 18 - November 29

LAYERS: A Pastel Exhibit by Eighty Dusty Fingers

July 12 - September 8, 2015

Gifts of the Saggar Fire

July 12 - September 8, 2015 

Central Massachusetts Convention and Visitors Bureau Blue Star Museums 1000 Museums American Alliance of Museums Nema New England Museum Association