What is the second largest art museum in New England? If you said the Worcester Art Museum, you’re right!
The Worcester Art Museum (WAM) boasts coveted works from ancient times to current day. It opened in 1898 and was the mastermind of Stephen Salisbury (hey, the museum is on Salisbury Street). A Worcester architect named Stephen Earle ran with Salisbury’s dream, and WAM was officially born.
Naturally, in its infancy, WAM was not as grand as it is today. Nonetheless, with the continued help of Salisbury (he left his multimillion dollar estate to the museum when he passed), WAM has become a rich art experience.
And a bit of trivia about WAM’s history? In 1972, thieves broke in and stole some precious pieces. Fortunately, unlike the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, the paintings were returned and the crooks were caught.
So, which artists have graced the walls of WAM throughout the years? Here are some eminent names.
- John Singer Sargent
- Winslow Homer
- Van Gogh
Wow, does it get much better than the above? Certainly not in New England, nor almost anywhere for that matter. In fact, Worcester Art Museum is home to more than 35,000 incredible works!
Sure, this all sounds impressive, but what does it have to do with doors?
Well, money is tight in many sectors, and art is no different. Because of this, the three bronze doors on Salisbury Street had been closed since 2009, except on weekends and holidays. Consequently, visitors entered by way of Lancaster Street. The new director of WAM, Matthias Waschek, changed all that. The Lancaster Street entrance will still remain open, but now the striking Salisbury Street entrance is open, as well.
Yes, opening the bronze doors will add to costs because an extra attendant will be needed, but in the long run, it will be worth it. Plus, to stir up additional WAM enthusiasm, the admission fee will be waived in the months of July and August!
Sound too good to be true? Sort of, but it is. This decision was likely made to increase awareness about this talent-filled gem. After all, many Worcester residents regularly travel to Boston for a healthy dose of culture, but how many Bostonians (or their surrounding neighbors) ride to Worcester? Now that the word is spreading beyond regular circles, the people will come. After all, not only is WAM’s art spectacular, but the structure is amazing, too. For example, the medieval chapter house and magnificent Renaissance Court conjure up dreamy images of a romantic era gone by.
WAM? Let’s head for the door!