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Are We There Yet?: A Weekend at the Museums

By Rebecca Dravis
Special to iBerkshires
The holiday vacation that never wanted to end finally did end, and now the winter session is fully upon us. In between birthday parties and skiing trips, there are still plenty of weekend activities to amuse the kiddos.
 
And this weekend, it's Saturday at the museum(s). It's one of those days that confirms just how lucky we are here in the Berkshires to have access to such great, family-friendly institutions like Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Berkshire Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum.
 
This Saturday, Jan. 11, marks Free Day at Mass MoCA on Marshall Street in North Adams. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. the galleries will be open to everyone and there will be "brick-wall-to-brick-wall" programming throughout the museum, including art-making, dance performances, roaming musicians and gallery tours. I do recall in the past it has snowed (heavily) on Free Day, but this weekend looks good to go ... if you don't mind a little rain, our fickle weather what it is. For all the details on the current exhibits, visit massmoca.org.
 
Heading toward central Berkshire this Saturday? Why not stroll on over to the Berkshire Museum on South Street at 10:30 a.m. for an installment of the "Untamed Wild and Endangered Animals" series? This event will feature international photographers Dan Mead and Sally Eagle of MeadEagle sharing photos of wildlife, nature and cultures along with tales of their travels. This talk will focus on silverback gorillas in Rwanda, big cats in Kenja, grizzly bears in Alaska and more. I don't know about your kid, but mine loves pictures of animals. (Her subscription to National Geographic For Kids is a huge hit!) The talk is free with museum admission but seating is limited. Reservations are requested at 413-443-7171, ext. 10.
 
And finally, if South County is your target on Saturday, check out the Norman Rockwell Museum's Family Day. From 1 to 4 p.m., families are invited to come discover dance in an event inspired by "Dancing Princesses" and the art of Ruth Sanderson. Dancers from Berkshire Ballroom will demonstrate their technique and teach basic ballroom steps, and dancer Hattie McLean will offer an interactive look at the history of dance. Visitors will enjoy tours of the exhibit, readings and a book signing with Ruth Sanderson; there also will be art-making opportunities for all. For details, visit nrm.org.
 
Of course, even though there is no specific programming at other Berkshire museums this weekend, they are always a fun place to head in the winter when it's cold (or rainy, as the case may be) outside. The Williams College Museum of Art is always free, the Clark Art Institute is free this time of year, and quirky places like the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams and Ventfort Hall in Lenox offer fun, educational experiences for the whole family.
 
See? We have culture here, even in the winter!
 
Berkshire County native Rebecca Dravis of Williamstown is a former journalist who now works for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. She can be reached at rdravis@verizon.net.
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