Learys make major naming gift for Impressionist gallery

Date: 12/29/2015

SPRINGFIELD – At their Annual Holiday Gala on Dec. 3, the Springfield Museums announced a major naming gift made by Noel and Carol Leary.

Leary is currently president of Bay Path University; Noel is a retired real estate association executive and consultant to nonprofit organizations.

In recognition of their contribution, the Impressionist Art Gallery in the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts will now be named “The Carol and Noel Leary Gallery of Impressionist Art.” The gallery houses paintings by such major artists as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, and Paul Gauguin.

The Learys have made their gift as part of the Museums’ Capital Campaign titled Seuss In Springfield: Building a Better Quadrangle. The $7 million campaign will fund major improvements to the Springfield Museums campus and the creation of a new museum honoring Springfield native Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.  

Noel Leary said, “Carol and I wanted to help guarantee that this world-class museum complex will continue to be the crown jewel of Springfield. Our financial advisor showed us how to combine current giving with a legacy commitment to achieve far more than we had ever considered.” Carol added, “We hope that our gift will serve as an inspiration to our colleagues and friends that something similar is indeed possible with a bit of planning.”

Springfield Museums President Kay Simpson said, “Noel and Carol are long-standing and dedicated advocates for the Museums,” adding, “We are truly honored by their display of generosity and for their leadership in bolstering our capital campaign.”

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The Springfield Museums have announced their slate of activities for the upcoming holiday vacation week. Visitors can enjoy a combination of fun activities, planetarium shows, and performances by some of the region’s best family performers, as well as the popular Seussian Holiday gingerbread exhibit at the Springfield Science Museum.

Performances include:
• Dec. 30, 11 a.m. – Interactive Comedy Magic and Juggling. Join Robert Clarke for a charming and hysterical show featuring slight of hand, gravity-defying tricks, and comedy.
    There are also activities scheduled, including:
• Seymour Planetarium Shows at 11:15 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 pm, Science Museum;
• Art Discovery Center, Noon at 4 p.m., GWVS Art Museum;
• Art Activities, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Science Museum, science workshop;
• Family Science Adventures, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Science Museum

“Week of Wonder” is part of the Museums’ Family Fun series. MassMutual is the 2015-2016 Premier Sponsor of the Springfield Museums.

Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $9.50 for children 3-17, and free for children under three and museum members. General admission is free for Springfield residents with proof of address. Regular hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museums are also open Dec. 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 263-6800 ext. 489, or visit springfieldmuseums.org.

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The Springfield Museums’ monthly tour and lecture schedule continues in January with the popular Museums à la Carte lectures, which take place each Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Admission is $4 ($2 for members of the Springfield Museums); visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch (cookies and coffee are provided). For more information about Museums à la Carte, call 263-6800, ext. 488.

This month’s lectures include:
• Jan. 7 ­– The Last Blasket King, Pádraig Ó Catháin, An Rí. A talk by Gerald W. Hayes, co-author of the book of the same name that he wrote with Eliza Kane, the great-great granddaughter of the last King of the Great Blasket near Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland.  
• Jan. 14 – Why, How and the 343:  Better Angels, The Firefighters of 9/11. Dawn Howkinson Siebel, artist, creator of the Better Angels exhibit, shares her personal journey in creating this fascinating and powerful exhibit.
• Jan. 21 – Leaving Our Mark: In Celebration of the Pencil – Artist’s Words and Views. Steve Wilda, artist, organizer of Leaving Our Mark, will be joined by other artists featured in the exhibit, including Doug Gillette, Bill Simpson, Lesley Cohen, and Luciana Heineman.
• Jan. 28 – The Klondike Gold Rush: A Chicopee Man goes to the Yukon in 1898 (and back). Robert H. Romer, professor emeritus, Amherst College, brings to life the story of Chicopee’s John Gibson, an Irish immigrant who set out for the Klondike to seek his fortune.

As part of the Museums’ members-only “Continuing Conversations” series, museum docent Jim Boone will lead a guided gallery discussion immediately following the Jan. 14, 2016 talk at the Wood Museum of Springfield History, and docent Pat McCarthy will lead a post-lecture gallery discussion on Jan. 28, 2016, at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Art.

On Jan. 8, 2016, the Springfield Science Museum’s large rooftop telescope will be open for public sky gazing at 7:30 p.m. as part of the “Stars Over Springfield” observatory series. These programs are organized by the Museum and the Springfield Stars Club, and take place on the first Friday of each month. Each event features an introductory talk on topics such as space exploration, seasonal sights of the night sky, current astronomical research, or upcoming events like eclipses or comet appearances.