Thanks to the Friends of the Chatham Library, you can check out passes offering free or reduced admission to a wide variety of museums and historic sites in our area.
Passes are available on a first-come basis and can be checked out for two days. Please return Museum Passes inside the building, or in the media slot of the book drop, if the library is closed.
Below is a description of each institution, with a link to their website–we suggest you confirm hours, directions, etc., online or by phone.
The following museums are open year-round:
Albany Institute of History & Art Albany NY Founded in 1791, it is one of the oldest museums in the United States. The Institute’s museum and library holdings document the life and culture of the Upper Hudson Valley region from the late seventeenth century to the present day. Although the Institute is famous for its significant Hudson River school paintings, the broad scope of its collections includes fine arts, furnishings, personal objects, documents, manuscripts, photographs, and personal papers used by people of all ages, social classes, economic conditions, and cultural groups.
Bennington Museum Bennington, VT As the largest art and history repository in southern Vermont, the museum houses diverse collections reflecting the history of early Vermont and historically associated areas of New York and Massachusetts. Art and artifacts range in date from the early 18th century to the present. Items include the largest public collection of paintings by the great American folk artist Grandma Moses, which draws visitors from around the world. Nearby is Vermont’s tallest structure, the Bennington Battle Monument, and the Old First Church, home to the grave site of poet Robert Frost.
NEW Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, NY Our newest pass is for a Federal-period house/museum set on lovely landscaped grounds with breathtaking views of the Hudson River. Boscobel contains an important collection of decorative arts from the Federal period, with high-style furniture, English china, silver, and glass. The 60 acres of grounds surrounding the mansion include a beautiful rose garden, orangery, herb garden, pond, and a pristine woodland trail complete with rustic gazebos from which visitor’s can enjoy magnificent views of the Hudson River and its Highlands.
The Berkshire Museum Pittsfield, MA The diverse collections boast artifacts of ancient history and natural science: fossils, a 143-pound meteorite, an Egyptian mummy, shards of Babylonian cuneiform tablets, samplings of early Mediterranean jewelry, and hands-on representations of Berkshire ecosystems including local mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, plants, and minerals. Its art holdings include a sizable group of paintings from the revered Hudson River School; significant works by Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church also figure prominently.
CMOST–Children’s Museum of Science & Technology Rensselaer, NY All exhibits at CMOST are designed with science discovery and play in mind. Why? Because discovery and play aren’t just about entertainment, they are essential learning tools. Children learn about themselves, their environment, people and the world around them all through play.
The Columbia County Historical Society Kinderhook, NY Explore a gallery of changing exhibitions, a research library and reading room, and museum store. The library and exhibit gallery are open to researchers and visitors March-December.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Amherst, MA The largest museum of its kind in the United States, it houses three galleries dedicated to rotating exhibitions of picture book art from around the world; a hands-on art studio for creating masterpieces of one’s own; performances, films, and lectures; and a comfortable library for reading and storytelling. Eric Carle authored 70 picture books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
FASNY Museum of Firefighting Hudson, NY Whether you are a firefighter on a pilgrimage to the Museum for the first time, a family looking for a fascinating daytrip or a student of history whose interest has been piqued by the fire service, be engaged by the subject of firefighting as history, as culture, as a service to humanity, as a preventative practice and as ever-changing art and technology.
Historic Deerfield Village Deerfield, MA Spend a day in old New England. Visit Historic Deerfield, an authentic 18th-century New England village in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. Tour beautifully restored museum houses with period architecture and furnishings. See Yankee ingenuity at work in demonstrations of colonial-era trades, and explore our world-famous collection of early American crafts, ceramics, furniture, textiles and metalwork. (open through December.)
The Hyde Collection Glens Falls, NY Housed in an American Renaissance-style mansion and a modern Edward Larrabee Barnes addition, The Hyde Collection is a truly remarkable blend of the present with the past; a showcase for an extraordinary art collection ranging from the Old Masters to the most exciting contemporary artists.
Mass MoCa North Adams, MA Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. With annual attendance of 120,000, it ranks among the most visited institutions in the United States dedicated to new art. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.
miSci Schenectady, NY The Museum of Innovation and Science (formerly the Schenectady Museum), has a mission to inspire people to celebrate and explore science and technology, past present, and future. The Suits-Bueche Planetarium features a high-definition, full-dome, computerized projector which projects on the full 30-foot dome and provides an immersive experience, and a GOTO Star Projector, which offers a real-life view of the night sky not available anywhere else in the northeast.
The Norman Rockwell Museum Stockbridge, MA The most popular year-round cultural attraction in the Berkshires. The Museum houses the world’s largest and most significant collection of Rockwell’s work, including 998 original paintings and drawings. (This pass offers reduced admission for two adults only.)
Olana Hudson, NY The 19th century home, studio and designed landscape of Hudson River School artist Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), his wife Isabel and their four children. The 250 acre historic estate features an elaborately stenciled, Persian-inspired mansion filled with original sketches, studies and paintings by one of the mid-19th century’s most famous artists. Stroll the grounds, and enjoy stunning views of the Hudson River.
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Williamstown, MA The Clark collection is best known for an extraordinary collection of French Impressionist paintings, which take their place within a wider ensemble of masterworks that date from the Renaissance to the late 19th century. The Clark continues to collect in the fields of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and photographs as well as decorative arts including additions to its already extensive collection of British and American silver. (This pass offers free admission for one adult.)
The following are opening seasonally:
Arrowhead Pittsfield, MA The historic home of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. The beauty of the region was a great inspiration to Melville, particularly the view of Mount Greylock, highest point in Massachusetts, and visible from the farm house window. A house tour takes about 45 minutes, and ends in Melville’s study, where he wrote Moby Dick. The property includes the farm and a nature trail. The grounds and nature trail are open year round, during daylight hours.
Berkshire Botanical Garden Stockbridge, MA The public display gardens are among the oldest in the US and have been expanded over the years in breadth and variety, encompassing 15 acres of cultivated land at the intersection of Routes 102 and 183 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The collections emphasize plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires.
Chesterwood, Stockbridge, MA The home, studio, and gardens of Daniel Chester French, America’s foremost public sculptor. His works include The Minute Man in Concord, MA, The Continents in lower Manhattan, and most famously, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
Hancock Shaker Village Pittsfield, NY An authentic Shaker site with 750 acres of rolling pasture and woodlands and our walkable Village with 20 historic buildings, including the world-famous Round Stone Barn, our farm with heritage-breed animals (including our famous Baby Animals!), and extensive gardens of herbs, flowers and produce. Expert interpreters in many buildings bring the Shaker story to life.
Shaker Museum|Mount Lebanon New Lebanon, NY For 160 years, from 1787 to 1947, the Shakers at Mount Lebanon led the largest and most successful utopian communal society in America. The season of exhibitions, tours and programs begins on June 19, 2015. The historic buildings are by guided tour only. Pamphlets are available at the Visitor Center for self-guided tours of the grounds during open hours, and at the orientation display at all other times. Pass users can also browse the Lending Library, view virtual interactive exhibitions on iPads, and will receive a discount in the shop.
Steepletop Austerlitz, NY Steepletop is the historic home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. See the gardens, walk the Poetry Trail created by the Friends of the Millay Society, visit the gallery in the new Visitors Center at Tamarack Cottage, and purchase Millay memorabilia and books at the gift shop. Visitors can enjoy a film about life at Steepletop when Millay and then her sister, Norma, lived here.
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site Catskill, NY Home of the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painters. The house and studio hold many of his paintings, which are landscapes of the Catskill mountains. Patrons can take a stroll through the flower garden or perhaps hear a lecture about the Hudson River School.
USS Slater Albany, NY Visit the only restored World War II Destroyer Escort afloat in the United States. It was one of 563 ships that battled Nazi U-Boats on the North Atlantic during World War II, protecting convoys of men and supplies. The Destroyer Escorts also served as first in line to defend naval task forces in the Pacific from Kamikaze attacks.This fully-guided tour of the ship takes at least one hour. It will require climbing ladders and walking through tight spaces. Large bags and strollers are not permitted on the ship.