Current Exhibitions

Leisure Pursuits: The Fashion and Culture of Recreation

May 12, 2018 – March 24, 2019

Weights, ca. 1850, Wood, Part of the Collection of William Cullen Bryant Homestead.

Gold and pink deco gown, ca. 1930,
Gold and pink deco gown, ca. 1930, silk brocade, rhinestones, metallic thread, Part of the Collection of The Stevens-Coolidge Place.

This exhibition looks at the way in which the people of Massachusetts have spent their leisure time interacting with Trustees properties over the last 125 years. Visitors will see original antique and vintage dresses and personal accessories that were integrated into activities such as gardening, entertaining, fitness, water activities, equestrian pursuits, and travel at and to various properties.

Since 1891, The Trustees has cared for properties of “exceptional scenic, historical, and ecological” value in Massachusetts. Today, over 26,000 acres are maintained by our organization, making us the largest landowner in the state besides the state itself. Within these special places, spread between 116 reservations, we care for 13 historic houses, 270 miles of trails, 72 archeological sites, 18 vernal pools, and protect 70 miles of coastline. Within this impressive backdrop, the stage is set for people to enjoy and explore these sites.

Through fashion, large-scale photographs, and other objects from our collection, this exhibit will take a fun look at recreation within Massachusetts. From exquisite Parisian couture to fishing waders to breezy linen suits, the way people dressed and the accessories they surrounded themselves with enabled and enhanced their ability to relax.


Inhabiting Folk Portraits

April 14, 2018 – March 24, 2019

Candice Smith Corby, They Adored Each Other, Acrylic and gouache on wood panel, 48 x 48 inches

The Bells Toll for Thee and Thou; Hark; the Lark’s Bells, detail, gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on panel, 2018, 12” diameter; William Thompson Bartoll, Margaret Prentiss Allen and her sons, James & Judson, 1850, oil on canvas, FM.G.1946.294

This exhibition showcases twelve of the most impressive portraits from Fruitlands Museum’s remarkable collection of nineteenth century middle-class portraiture, alongside paintings and writings by the museum’s Guest Artist of 2018, Candice Smith Corby. Corby is an accomplished artist and educator who paints with traditional materials and draws inspiration from literature, familial and personal stories, dreams, memories, and “the pleasure of observing treasured objects.”

Corby begins with the curator’s prompt: what were the subjects thinking or looking at while being painted—and takes it to inventive places from there. She will continue to paint in response to the site over the course of the year, and her paintings will pop up as “artist interventions in the historic homes, the trails, and other locations. Corby will also contribute creative writing, words that may take the form of letters and diary entries.

Just outside of the main gallery, a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling red velvet cloth leads to an interactive area where visitors of all ages, sizes, and genders may try on clothing or accessories like those seen in the portraits. The hats, shawls, lace collars, and other accessories provide the opportunity for visitors to try on and, as the title says, inhabit each portrait. The portraits present subjects from childhood through old age, and a full range of visitors will have the opportunity to don a hat, cape, or lacy garment, look in a mirror or through a frame, and imagine themselves as one of the sitters on view.

Eden 2.0

May – November 2018

Eden 2.0

Alexi Antoniadis creates a large-scale outdoor sculpture to help us mark the 175th anniversary of the Fruitlands Utopian Commune that took place on this site. Antoniadis uses hand-formed steel and will color it with paint. The mesmerizing contours are informed in part by the sleek, non-representational forms of 20th-century modernism, yet with a balance of line and space that is very much of the present. The sleek lines provide a magnetic source of curiosity and new sightlines through which visitors may view the landscape.

Antoniadis works with themes of utopia and creates site-specific work responding to the Fruitlands experiment of 1843, including the high-reaching expectations, the ultimately disappointing outcome, and the structure of the house itself. The sculpture will have an open-air outline, or “ghost,” of the house that people could walk around and through. While loosely echoing the forms of the Fruitlands farmhouse, the sculpture will join structure and idea in metaphor, completing the past while casting it through a contemporary lens to reform or reject it, based on the viewpoint of each person experiencing it.

A New View: Landscapes from the Permanent Collection

September 2, 2017 – November 5, 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. Prints of original paintings are available at the Museum Store.

Contemporary Art Intervention

June – September 2018

Rachel Campbell, Barn Sketch 2, 2017, oil on panel

Three landscape paintings by Rachel Campbell appear within A New View: Landscapes from the Permanent Collection. Her paintings describe everyday life with vivid colors and lively brushstrokes that strike a memorable balance between lush paint and rendered space. Campbell states, “My paintings are landscapes, even if depicting portraits or objects, they are all a landscape to me.” The three paintings that are integrated into the salon-style gallery of over fifty landscapes from the 1800s depict things that have aspects of the world today—a cul-de-sac, a mobile home—while providing points of comparison with the older paintings with elements such as vivid foliage and familiar horizon lines.

Campbell is originally from New Zealand, and has been living in the USA since 2003. She studied art in both New Zealand and Canada, and has also spent time living and exhibiting in the UK and Germany. Rachel lives in Durham, NC. She exhibits with several galleries, including Clark Gallery in Lincoln, MA, and her work is in several private and public collections in over a dozen countries.

The permanent collection of Fruitlands museum focuses on 19th-century history and culture. Campbell’s paintings displayed alongside the Hudson River School paintings are part of an ongoing series of interventions where contemporary art engages with historical objects.

Also On View

Landscape and Portrait from our permanent collection.

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102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, Massachusetts 01451
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