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Our Opinion: Williams College Museum of Art's planned move offers a a more solid frame for Northern Berkshire cultural corridor

Picture this: A brand new home for the Williams College Museum of Art that will offer more gallery space for its 15,000-piece collection, increase its visibility and better connect the Northern Berkshire region’s formidable cultural corridor.

After two years of planning, Williams officials this week announced plans to move the museum to a newly constructed building. Its current location in Lawrence Hall shares a tucked-away space with the school’s art department and lacks a street-facing main entrance.

After two years of planning, Williams officials this week announced plans to move the museum to a newly constructed building. The project stands to make this hidden gem considerably less-hidden, eyeing a fresh footprint on the site of the former Williams Inn across from Field Park. It then will sit at the intersection of Routes 7 and 2 — “right at the gateway to Williamstown,” as WCMA Director Pamela Franks appropriately put it. That’s a considerable improvement over its current location in Lawrence Hall, where it shares a tucked-away space with the school’s art department and lacks a street-facing main entrance.

This is great news for Williamstown, Williams College, the Northern Berkshire museum corridor and art-lovers everywhere. This strategic move to a spot that’s much more visible and accessible — especially to those driving by on a journey to The Clark or Mass MoCA — will serve to solidify and better connect the Northern Berkshires’ vital museum corridor. Each of these institutions are highly valuable on their own; together they offer something even greater than the sum of their parts for the cultural economy of a region that needs every bit of revitalization and collaborative growth it can get.

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We’re glad to see forward motion on an investment in the Williams College Museum of Art and, in turn, the tightening of that symbiotic network. Hopefully it proves a shot in the arm for other prospective projects, such as the long-germinating Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum, to build on this investment in the region’s creative economy and cultural vitality.

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