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Museums offer ‘spectacular’ summer lineup

Date: 8/9/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Museums are offering low-cost activities for the family as a way to say goodbye to the summer through its “Summer Spectacular” series of events.

The last week begins with the conclusion to the Art Picnic project with a community picnic on Aug. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Local artists and student interns will unveil their finished picnic table works of art. The project designed to beautify Springfield and give local art students the chance to collaborate with established artists. It was funded through the Art & Soles Fund of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and supported by the Springfield Business Improvement District.

Entertainment will be provided, and free ice cream is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Food and beverages will also be available at the Blake House Café.

Kay Simpson, vice president of the Springfield Museums told Reminder Publications, “We are thrilled by the response to our summer exhibitions and programs. Our mix of exhibitions including a display of decorated black leather jackets and motorcycles, live butterflies and a butterfly maze as well as our ever-popular outdoor Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden brought thousands of children and adults to the beautiful grounds of the Quadrangle. Our six weeks of ongoing live performances, demonstrations and hands-on activities end with a grand finale on Friday, August 16 when we offer free admission for all our visitors courtesy of the Highland Street Foundation. Please join us for the fun!”

The highlight of the series has been the performers appearing every Wednesday through Friday in the Davis Auditorium at 1 p.m.

The final week includes Ed Popielarczyk’s Comedy Magic Show (Aug. 14), and One Heart/One World presented by Playtivity (Aug. 15), both at 1 p.m. There will be two performances of Tanglewood Marionettes’ The Fairy Circus at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

“Music in the Museums,” a new program that allows children ages the age of 5 and under the opportunity to dance, sing, and try out instruments every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Hands-on Activity Carts, which are mobile learning stations staffed by museum educators, will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 pm. Topics include Celtic Culture (Tuesdays) and Historical Artifacts (Thursdays), both at the Wood Museum of Springfield History, and the Art Cart (Wednesdays) at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

The six-week series has also included live animal demonstrations with reptiles and other creatures from the Science Museum’s Solutia Live Animal Center every Wednesday and Friday (Friday presentations are bilingual).

There will also be daily planetarium shows (additional fee required) and demonstrations by the Roving Scientist at the Museum’s Family Science Adventures Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rounding out the Summer Spectacular line-up are activities in the Hasbro Games Art Discovery Center daily from noon until 3:45 p.m., where kids can construct their own butterfly-inspired creations.

All programs and performances are free with admission unless otherwise noted. On Aug. 16, general admission to the museums is free to the general public, as part of the statewide “Free Fun Friday” series sponsored by Highland Street Foundation. The 2013 premier sponsor is MassMutual.

The Springfield Museums are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards St. General admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $8 for children 3 to 17, and free for children younger than 3 and museum members. This fee provides admission to all four Springfield Museums. Springfield residents receive free general admission with proof of address.

Free, secure onsite parking is available. Summer hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursdays until 7:30 p.m.), and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information about Free Fun Fridays, visit