EXHIBITS/COLLECTIONS


Four Centuries of History

At the Ipswich Museum 400 years of history surround you at every turn. The grand, Federal style 1800 Heard House serves as our headquarters and is filled with extensive collections of fine and decorative art celebrating the historical and architectural significance of Ipswich. Some of the fascinating collections on view include paintings by Arthur Wesley Dow and other North Shore artists, artifacts from the Ipswich Female Seminary, and China Trade treasures collected by the John Heard family.

The Ipswich Museum preserves an extensive collection of art, property, objects, artifacts, books and documents with historical significance to Ipswich. Our museum is anchored by two important properties:  the 1677 Whipple House and the 1800 Heard House. In 2015 the Museum added the Alexander Knight House, a replica of the house built by the Town in 1657 for the Knight family. Town meeting voted to spend 6 pounds for this purpose. This project was undertaken by a team of skilled historians and craftsman on the Ipswich Museum grounds, next to the Whipple House.


The Railroad in Ipswich

February 4th through April 30th
Ipswich RR depot
Each Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 in the afternoon, The Railroad in Ipswich will be open for visiting.
Cost: family non-members $10, individual non-members $5, and free for museum members.
This exhibit will tell the story of the railroad in Ipswich and its impact on the community over the years.

Special Events:

Wednesday Evening Lecture on February 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm
The History of the Railroad in Ipswich
Allen MacMillan, a retired railroad engineer, will take us on a sentimental journey, when trains were the main mode of transportation in town.
Free for museum members; $10 for non-members. Exhibit viewing included in cost of lecture. Held in the Heard House of the Ipswich Museum.
 
School Vacation Program on February 22, 2017 from 1-3 pm
The Railroad in Ipswich 
Families can join us for an afternoon on the railroad in Ipswich. Attendees will get to explore the exhibit and drive the trains, make-and-take their own train using recyclable materials, and more! Email educator@ipswichmuseum.org for more information.
The cost is $5 per child. Exhibit viewing included in cost of program.Held in the Heard House of the Ipswich Museum.
 
Wednesday Evening Lecture on March 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm 
Renaissance of Railroads: A Perspective on the Last Several Decades of the Industry
Darius Gaskins, past president of Burlington Northern Railroad, chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission, West Point graduate, PhD. University of Michigan in economics, will present this month’s Wednesday Evening Lecture.
Free for museum members; $10 for non-members. Exhibit viewing included in cost of lecture. Held in the Heard House of the Ipswich Museum.
A Brief History:

The first train arrived in Ipswich at approximately 9 am on Friday, December 20, 1839. The Eastern Railroad, which connected Boston with Portsmouth, NH was one of the first railroads in the United States. The Eastern Railroad was acquired by the Boston and Maine Railroad on May 9, 1890.

In many ways Ipswich was just a normal stop on the mainline. However, over the years it had a railroad owned hotel, an engine house and turntable, car building shops, and a major freight house. In the days of steam engines all trains stopped in Ipswich for water. At one time the Railroad employed 23 people in Ipswich. There were crossing tenders, baggage handlers, station agents, as well as porters at the freight house. This number does not begin to include the jobs held by people throughout town that relied on the Railroad at the numerous local businesses.

Ipswich had the longest rail sidings on the Eastern Division with the capability of holding 221 freight cars. All rail freight business in Ipswich was gone by 1970. The last freight train through Ipswich was in November of 1984.


Henry Rodman Kenyon 1861-1926

                     American Impressionist

Henry Rodman Kenyon was a true American Impressionist, painting in plein air with emphasis on light and pure color.  Impressionists  interpreted what they saw from a personal point of view.  Colors were not blended but separated.   The artist was to catch a “moment in time,” not eternity.

Kenyon was first attracted to Impressionism during his student years while visiting the art colonies of Brittany in northwestern France.  Many American art students, including Arthur Wesley Dow, congregated there comparing painting techniques and learning from each other.  Paul Gauguin was a powerful personality and a major influence for the younger artists.

Born to Quaker parents in Centerville, Rhode Island, Kenyon studied at the R.I. School of Design before enrolling at the Academie Julian in Paris in 1883.  Fellow students, Dow and F.H. Richardson, would become life-long Ipswich friends.

By 1887 with a collection of his student work ready to sell, he sailed home to America.  Unfortunately his ship collided with another in the English Channel; Kenyon himself survived, but all his paintings were lost.  Within two years, he decided to abandon formal training and follow his own “voice.”  He became committed to small plein air painting.

Having visited Ipswich with Dow, Kenyon and his wife Caroline Savary built their house near the Ipswich River in 1901.  He could walk, bicycle, or boat to and through the nearby expansive marshes.  The horizontal and spare views suited his aesthetic and the “pearly light” of Ipswich was similar to that of Brittany.

 

 

During the spring, fall and winter months, Kenyon with his art box was a familiar site on the marsh.  He focused on the sky as much as the land and used unmixed paints to load his brush.   Turquoise was a favorite and trademark color for Kenyon’s skies and a dab of red paint here and there was important to his mostly ochre colored marshes.  Small oil sketches became the final product for Kenyon.   The immediacy and the size of his work enabled him to record his personal impression in a short period of time.

 

Kenyon also spent time painting the mountains of Wilton, New Hampshire, and the rocky coast of Ogunquit, Maine. Tonalism with blended brushwork and a darker palette shown in his earlier European paintings was superseded by Impressionism with loosely painted, light-struck canvases.

 

Kenyon’s paintings have been exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the Paris Salon, the MFA,

Florence Griswold and the Cape Ann Museums.  A highly acclaimed 1988 exhibit with catalog by Eldon Van Liere travelled to several destinations.

 

Stephanie R. Gaskins,

Exhibit Curator

 

 The Ipswich Museum is grateful to the Rothwell family for their recent donation of Kenyon art works as a memorial to Ruth and Russ Chapman, their son Dwight Chapman ,

and their daughter Barbara Chapman Rothwell.   

 

A special thank you to lenders to the exhibit and to all who helped put this exhibit together: 

    Stephanie R. Gaskins, Exhibit Curator

    Stoney Stone, photographer

    Sydell Rabin

    Judith Hallberg, graphic design

    The Staff of the Ipswich Museum 


2016 Winter Exhibit- Sundays, February to May from 2-4 pm

Properly Seated: Two centuries of Chairs in the Ipswich Museum

 

From the Whipples to the Heards, from the Pilgrim settlement to industrial America, cahirs trace the history of domestic life in Ipswich and New England. See 20 chairs from the Ipswich Museum’s collection and learn about the domestic history of who sat on what and why.

Curated by John Fiske, co-owner of Fiske & Freeman Antiques, Editor-in-Chief of New England Antiques Journal and Chair of the Ipswich Historical Commission.


2015 Summer Exhibit (May 23-mid-August)

“Intriguing Objects, Volunteer Picks from the Museum’s Collection”

 

This exhibit features over 30 objects personally chosen by the museum’s volunteers and staff as their favorite pieces.  The variety of objects ranges from a pair of wedding shoes to a little leather book which stopped a Civil War bullet from killing Colonel Nathaniel Shatswell, the most decorated soldier from Ipswich. A 17th- century “courting candle” chosen by Phil Grenier allows a suitor to court until the candle burns down to the metal.  A Steamer Packet, selected by Stephanie Gaskins, was a gift to Arthur Wesley Dow and his wife on their trip to Japan in 1903.The packet contains 200 contributions of poems, drawings, personal messages of thanks and appreciation from all of his art students. A ceramic vase, hand painted, an individual piece of the highest ceramic quality from Augustine Heard’s time in China, was the choice of Hope Wigglesworth.

Each object will be labeled to describe its origin and to identify the volunteer who chose it as well as the reason for having choosing it.  For example, Chris Wright selected an egg basket, a superbly woven ribbed basket designed to hold eggs in place so they won’t roll around. A basket weaver herself, Chris noted that since the basket lay on the floor in the Whipple House, it was probably hardly ever noticed by passing visitors. Alison Thompson made a similar choice of Dow’s painting, “Iris and Willows” because it is hung a little too high for many visitors to enjoy.

Curated by Dow Curator, Stephanie Gaskins


2015 Special Sundays (Sundays February 1 through April 26)

Intriguing Objects: Volunteer Picks from the Ipswich Museum’s Collection

Intriguing Objects, Volunteer Picks from the Museum’s Collection,” the 2015 winter exhibit at the Ipswich Museum, will be open to the public beginning Sunday, Feb. 1. The exhibit features over 30 objects personally chosen by the museum’s volunteers and staff as their favorite pieces.The variety of objects ranges from a pair of wedding shoes to a little leather book which stopped a Civil War bullet from killing Colonel Nathaniel Shatswell, the most decorated soldier from Ipswich. A 17th- century “courting candle” chosen by Phil Grenier allows a suitor to court until the candle burns down to the metal.  A Steamer Packet, selected by Stephanie Gaskins, was a gift to Arthur Wesley Dow and his wife on their trip to Japan in1903.The packet contains 200 contributions of poems, drawings, personal messages of thanks and appreciation from all of his art students. A ceramic vase, hand painted, an individual piece of the highest ceramic quality from Augustine Heard’s time in China, was the choice of Hope Wigglesworth.

Each object will be labeled to describe its origin and to identify the volunteer who chose it as well as the reason for having choosing it.  For example, Chris Wright selected an egg basket, a superbly woven ribbed basket designed to hold eggs in place so they won’t roll around. A basket weaver herself, Chris noted that since the basket lay on the floor in the Whipple House, it was probably hardly ever noticed by passing visitors. Alison Thompson made a similar choice of Dow’s painting, “Iris and Willows” because it is hung a little too high for many visitors to enjoy.

Curated by Dow Curator, Stephanie Gaskins

Exhibit Hours: Sundays 2-4pm

Opening Reception, Friday, February 6. 6 – 8 p.m.


2014 Summer Exhibition

Special Places: Dorothy Kerper Monnelly, Photographer

Called the “Ansel Adams of the wetlands,” by legendary naturalist Edward O. Wilson, Ipswich resident Dorothy Kerper Monnelly, photographer for over 40 years, speaks for the landscape as an artist and a conservation advocate.  Inspired by living in the midst of the Massachusetts Great Marsh, she remains devoted to her Ipswich surroundings along the wetlands, but has traveled and trained her eye on several other special places:  Acadia in Maine, the Grand Tetons, Hawaii, and the deserts of the west.   Monnelly  photographs with sensitivity and mystery both  landscapes and close-up abstract patterns within salt marshes, sand dunes, lava,  and  ice-covered brooks.

Her large-format gelatin silver prints are in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in numerous private collections. Monnelly,  Ansel Adams, and Ernest H. Brooks are currently featured in the travelling show, Fragile Waters. Her work has been exhibited from Maine to New York City, to Seattle and Hawaii. She has published two books:  Between Land and Sea:  the Great Marsh and  For My Daughters which pairs her photographs with her mother’s poetry.

Curated by Dow Curator, Stephanie Gaskins and photographer, Dorothy Kerper Monnelly.

Exhibit Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, Sunday 1-4pm

Opening Reception, Friday, July 11. 6 – 8 p.m.


2014 Special Sundays (Sundays February 2 through April 27)

Focusing on the Child

“…a pause in the day’s occupation,

That is known as the Children’s Hour.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The children’s hour is exactly what the Ipswich Museum has brought together in an exhibit exploring the lives of children through their portraits, photographs, clothing, furniture, games and toys. From its own collection and with the generosity of individuals and area museums like Cape Ann and Wenham, “Focusing on the Child” displays a range of children’s portraits from 18th century stylized figures of boys and girls to contemporary oils and pastels like Caroline Kenyon’s family portrait of father, aunt, and daughter and Richard Ellery’s portrait of the young Hills sisters, Mathilda and Alicia.

Several photographs taken by Peter Zaharis in the early 1960’s will also be exhibited— one of a 17th Century Day celebration and another of a school group of Greek children, dressed in full costume, about to take part in a cultural event.

“Focusing on the Child” means including what children wore, what they did, and what they played with. Children’s games, hoops, a hobby horse, two fully clothed mannequins, 17th and 18th century samplers, and the unique doll’s house that belonged to the Heard family and is an exact replica of their house in Boston will all be on display.

“In addition to the exhibit,” said Stephanie Gaskins, Museum’s Dow Curator, “we’re going to have several special events each Sunday involving children in a variety of activities like hoop games, a story time, craft work, and rainbow loom.”


2013 Summer Exhibition

I Must Go Down to the Seas Again

Curated by the Museum’s Dow Curator, Stephanie Gaskins, I Must Go Down to the Seas Again, examines the complex and enduring relationship between Ipswich residents and the sea.  Come to the Opening Reception, Friday, May 31st. 6 – 8 p.m.


2013 Special Sundays (Sundays February 3 through April 14)

Ipswich and the Civil War

Guest curators Scott Jewell and John Stump highlight the stories of Ipswich soldiers who fought in the Civil War.  Come see Civil War objects, try hard tack and listen to Civil War music.  Jewell, Ipswich Middle School teacher and editor of Ipswich in the Civil War, will be available select Sundays to discuss and sign his book.  Copies are available in the Museum store.


2012 Summer Exhibition

Ipswich Women in the Arts, Mid-Seventeenth to Mid-Twentieth Centuries

Ipswich Museum is pleased to introduce its summer exhibit, Ipswich Women in the Arts, Mid-Seventeeth to Mid-Twentieth Centuries.  Curated by Stephanie Gaskins, this show features historic works by Ipswich women artists of the past four centuries.  It opens June 8 and runs through October during regular tour hours.

Prominent artists to be included in the exhibit are:  Anne Bradstreet, America’s first poet, whose poems are still read at weddings today; and Caroline Kenyon’s pastels of children’s portraits.  Frances Townsend, whose pastoral paintings have been rediscovered; and Ann Leighton, who planted the Housewife’s Garden at the Whipple House.  Her books on 17th, 18th, and 19th century gardens are still in print today.

Jane Peterson, who after coming to Ipswich in her late middle age, continued her painting career at her home on Old England Road.  Rylla Saunier, a landscape architect, was not only the WPA chronicler of local gardens, but created watercolors of flowers.  Edna Ellis Baylor, who is already on exhibit in the Museum’s Ipswich Painters’ Gallery, studied at the MFA Museum School which honed her artistic expression of flower portraits.

Anne Wigglesworth and Elsie Reinert, both credited with starting the Museum’s Dow Collection, were artists.  Anne used her marsh view as inspiration and Elsie painted whimsical still lifes of toys and dolls.  Mine Crane, wife of Cornelius Crane, showed her devotion to wildlife and animals in her paintings.  Alice Heard, the last member of the family to live in the Museum’s Heard House, was a talented copyist and painter.

Robin Silverman was a watercolorist, teacher and proponent of art in the Ipswich Public Schools.  And, Sister St. Vincent de Paul of the Sisters of Notre Dame was a teacher, artist, and creator of stained glass windows. Her work can be seen at the Novitiate Chapel and the rose window of Our Lady of Hope Church.

Other important features of Ipswich Museum’s new summer exhibit, Ipswich Women in the Arts, will be a sample of Ipswich lace, representing many women who created hand made Ipswich lace in their own homes; a sampler, emblematic of the young girls who created samplers to show their skills in needlework; and a handmade quilt, to show the hours that women worked to not only keep their families warm but to express creativity.  Thelma Carey, a truant officer by trade, was a prize-winning rug hooker.

All of these women were inspired to express themselves with paint, thread and the written word.  Many of them had responsibilities in the home as wives and mothers or in other careers.  But, each made time to leave a piece of themselves for us to enjoy.


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