Letter: Museum should focus on science, education

Posted
To the editor:

As a regular attendee of the events the Berkshire Museum generously offers: international and non-commercial films, lectures, plays, meeting rooms, I have a great respect for what it organizes for the community, area children and schools. Yet after six years, I don't think I have ever seen any of the paintings so hotly debated. Frankly, I don't think people come to the Berkshires to see our museum's paintings. Isn't there a way to keep this beloved collection locally, split between all the famous art museums of the region with the support of local donors?

The Berkshire Museum and its communities are deeply linked together. Like many surrounding communities, ours is not only made up of rich tourists coming here for our cultural offerings. We do have crowds of children with many educational needs and no access to the educational offerings available in large urban communities.

In re-thinking the Berkshire Museum, addressing these needs is an important concern. When we lived in a Chicago suburb we spent many weekends with our children at the Museum of Science and Industry where they also traveled for field trips regularly.

My grandchildren in Denver live across the park from the Museum of Nature and Science, which has a rich collection of natural history and an IMAX theater with the bells and whistles of the solar system. Check its web page. It constantly offers myriad diverse exhibitions, science fairs and displays robotic and research projects of local school students. We used to take them there in their strollers and at four they developed a fascination for the night sky and a curiosity for the workings of the human body. Now as high school students they haunt it for their science research projects or to just show off the place to their visiting cousins.

Wouldn't it be worth it for the children of the Berkshires to have these opportunities and bring up the Berkshire Museum and our local children into the vast new horizons of our scientific knowledge?

Isabelle Kaplan,

Pittsfield

The writer is an educational consultant.




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