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Sue Bush
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Berkshire Museum Gets $500K Boost

06:00PM / Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Berkshire Museum Backyard Gallery will be renamed in honor of Josephine B. and Louise Crane. [Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Museum}
Pittsfield – The Berkshire Museum has received a gift of $500,000 from the Josephine B. Crane and Louise Crane Foundations.

"A Wider Window" Campaign Contribution

The donation is in support of the Berkshire Museum's capital campaign, "A Wider Window," which has now raised approximately $6 million toward its $9 million goal. The foundations will be recognized in the museum's renovated building with the renaming of the Berkshire Backyard gallery as the Josephine B. and Louise Crane Berkshire Backyard Gallery.

"This generous gift continues the remarkable legacy of the Crane family’s support of the Berkshire Museum over the past 104 years," said Stuart A. Chase, executive director of the Berkshire Museum. "It is especially appropriate that the Berkshire Backyard be named in honor of the late Josephine Crane and her daughter, in recognition of their dedication to natural history and the environment both here at the Berkshire Museum and nationwide."

"On behalf of the Trustees for the Louise and Josephine Crane Foundations, we are delighted to continue the legacy of family support for this wonderful institution," said Josie Greene, great-granddaughter of Josephine Crane and spokesperson for the Josephine B. and Louise C. Crane Foundations. "The Berkshire Museum is a true gem in the Berkshires and we are proud to be counted among its supporters."

Josephine B. Crane

Josephine Boardman Crane (1873-1972) was the wife of Winthrop M. Crane, the former governor of Massachusetts and son of Berkshire Museum founder Zenas Crane. A prominent patron of the arts in the United States, Josephine Crane was a founder of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1921, she established the Berkshire Museum’s Junior Naturalists, a program of studies in natural history for children, who received medals for their work. She was a member of the Berkshire Museum board of trustees from 1937 until her death in 1972.

Louise Crane

Louise Crane (1913-1997), Josephine Crane's daughter, moved from Dalton to New York City with Josephine following Winthrop M. Crane's death in 1922. She was a prominent supporter of jazz and orchestral music, initiating a series of "coffee concerts" at MoMA and commissioning a vocal and orchestral work by Lukas Foss. Louise Crane was a friend and supporter to some of New York’s leading literary figures, including Tennessee Williams and Marianne Moore. She was president of the Harpsichord Music Society for many years, and a patron of theatrical productions including Truman Capote's The Grass Harp. She was publisher of the magazine Iberica.

Both foundations have supported a wide range of Berkshire County civic, cultural, and human services organizations.

The campaign "A Wider Window" was launched in August 2006.

The fundraising goal of the campaign is $9 million, to fund building renovations including climate control throughout the museum, new and renovated gallery space including the 3000-square-foot Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, education classrooms and facilities, and improved visitor amenities.

The campaign also includes funds for the Berkshire Museum endowment to help ensure the financial base for programs and the operation of the renovated facility. To date the Berkshire Museum has raised $6 million toward the goal.

About the Berkshire Museum

The Berkshire Museum enriches, educates, and inspires through diverse collections of art, natural science, and history, as well as dynamic educational programs and special exhibitions. With particular strength in American art, highlights include paintings by Hudson River School artists Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church.

Other artists represented range from John Singer Sargent, Ammi Phillips, and Gilbert Stuart to 20th- and 21st-century artists Norman Rockwell, John Marin, Alexander Calder, Nancy Graves, and Mark Milloff.

The aquarium features more than thirty tanks and terrariums housing both native and exotic fish, reptiles, and amphibians, ranging from frogs and turtle species that inhabit Berkshire ponds to 25 species of coral. Natural science collections include an interactive dinosaur dig, numerous examples of regional animals, an array of rocks and minerals, and "The World in Miniature," which is a group of miniature dioramas from the Northern Tundra to the Amazon Jungle. The Berkshire Museum's collections feature the history of the region and are also a “window on the world” to ancient Mesopotamia, China, Greece, and Rome. Artifacts from ancient Egypt include the mummy of Pahat, a priest from the Ptolemic period [332 - 30 B.C.E.].

The Berkshire Museum served approximately 81,000 visitors in the last fiscal year, including 12,511 school children that participate in educational programs linked to state curriculum standards. A variety of changing exhibitions and public programs is offered year round. Special exhibitions combine art, science, and history in engaging and interactive ways. The Berkshire Museum also organizes traveling exhibitions seen at museums across the United States and Canada. The Berkshire Museum's Little Cinema presents contemporary foreign and independent film from May to mid-November

The Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South Street on Route 7 in Downtown Pittsfield. The galleries are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. For more information, contact the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171, ext. 10, or visit a www.berkshiremuseum.org Internet web site.

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