Private Company Description:
The mission of Berkshire Museum is to bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among art, history, and natural science. With a collection of more than 40,000 objects from virtually every continent, including important works of art, significant historical artifacts, and natural science specimens, Berkshire Museum is unique in its blend of art, science, and historic access to education and culture.
Inspired by the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Berkshire Museum was founded by paper manufacturer Zenas Crane to display his collection of objects, scientific specimens, ethnographic materials, and art. Its Italian Renaissance-style building, opened in 1903 as the Museum of Natural History and Art, underwent expansion in both its collection and infrastructure, including the addition of an aquarium, over the course of the twentieth century. Ongoing development continued into the early 2000s. Its most recent phase, supported by the completion of its capital campaign, currently approximately 50% towards its goal in its silent phase, will encompass newly installed first-floor galleries, a gift shop, a visitors’ area, and the relocation and renovation of the aquarium. Overseeing this phase of renovations is the acclaimed architect Yo Hakomori of StudioHAU.
Berkshire Museum’s fine art collection represents different genres and styles from the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Historical artifacts and decorative arts from global early civilizations through the twentieth century include a breadth of pieces that represent local and American history, including Nathanial Hawthorne’s writing desk. The museum also hosts a significant natural science specimen collection, including a living collection of fish, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, and coral in the Aquarium. Its natural history collection also features models of habitats, preserved regional bird specimens, and a rock and mineral collection in the Berkshire Backyard exhibition.
Serving more than 45,000 people each year, Berkshire Museum exhibitions examine the art, science, and history of objects in the collection, highlighting local histories and artists. Berkshire Museum’s interdisciplinary approach offering tours, workshops, camps, gallery talks, and music performances, breaks down boundaries and generates ideas, challenges conventional thinking, and sparks innovation.
The Rocks & Minerals Gallery, Aquarium, Berkshire Backyard, Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, Animals of the World in Miniature dioramas, and Objects and Their Stories – featuring selections from the collection – are open daily. Berkshire Museum’s school programs include in-person and group visits, educator-led programs, and art, STEAM and STEM-curated Mobile Museum Units that provide month-long school residencies serving more than 35 public and private schools in the region.
Partnerships with arts organizations, environmental groups, historic sites, museums, social service agencies, schools, and local government organizations throughout the Berkshires drive economic development, community building, public education, and cultural opportunities. Berkshire Museum hosts affiliate and affinity events, including recent collaborations with Berkshire Art Association, Berkshire Jazz, Berkshire Music School, Shakespeare and Co., Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Berkshire Community College. Berkshire Museum also provides combination ticketing with Hancock Shaker Village and Herman Melville’s home, Arrowhead.
Berkshire Museum has a 19-member Board of Trustees led by President Jeffrey Belair. Kimberley Bush Tomio serves as Executive Director overseeing a staff of 24, and the development department currently consists of the director of development, development manager, and development associate. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023, Berkshire Museum estimates a total revenue of approximately $2.5 million, with $1,186,000 in contributed revenue, $445,000 in program services and earned revenue, and the balance from the endowment. Contributed revenue includes 44% from Foundation, Corporate, and Government grants; 31% from bequests; 15% from Individuals, and 10% from events.
Additional Business Name: Berkshire Museum