Art & Science of Paper at the Berkshire Museum this Summer

Berkshire Museum presents PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material

Butterfly, Hina Aoyama, image courtesy Christopher Henry GalleryWhat role does paper play in your family’s daily life?  Bedtime stories are printed on it, homework is written on it, a bin in your garage collects it for recycling and reuse.  However, the history, science, and artistic potential of paper is much more complex and fascinating than the average person’s experience with the material might suggest.

On Saturday, June 15th, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA unveils PaperWorks, a gallery show made up of beautiful paper works of art and paper-related artifacts.  The goal of the exhibit is to showcase the wide array of work that can be created with paper (it’s not all origami!), as well as to highlight the role that history, science, and culture play in the manufacture and use of papers of all kinds.  Visitors to the exhibit can view work created by more than thirty different artists from all over the country (and even a few from Europe!), including papercut animations and mathematically sound sculptures made from sheets of folded paper.  Along with the fascinating works of art, visitors can view and learn about various paper-related artifacts, including jewelry, furniture, and other surprising objects!

Matthew Shlian, Me and Fred, Berkshire MuseumHeld to commemorate the museum’s 110th anniversary, the show celebrates the museum’s history.  Founded by Zenas Crane, a third-generation papermaker whose ancestors continue to make paper in Berkshire County, the Berkshire Museum is closely linked with the community’s relationship to the paper industry.  Families can pair a visit to the exhibit with a study of local history, focusing on the role that paper mills and the timber industry have played in the development of their community.  Studies of paper can also include a look at the scientific principles involved in creating paper, and a critical examination of the science behind logging practices and paper recycling!

 The exhibit will be on view through October 26th, 2013 –  a perfect activity for an extra hot (or drizzly) summer day.  The Berkshire Museum is open 10am-5pm, Monday through Saturday and from 12noon-5pm on Sunday.  Admission to the show is included in regular museum admission.

Supplement your visit to the Berkshire Museum with a trip to the Crane Museum of Papermaking to learn more about the local history of papermaking in Western MA too.  Located on the banks of the Housatonic River at 40 Pioneer Street in Dalton, MA, the building itself is a museum! This is a great opportunity to learn about local history. The museum is open weekdays from 1-5pm, is free of charge, and open from early June through mid-October. 413-684-7780.

[Image credits: Butterfly, Hina Aoyama. Courtesy Christopher Henry Gallery; Matthew Shlian, Me and Fred, Berkshire Museum]

2 Comments on “Art & Science of Paper at the Berkshire Museum this Summer

  1. Saturday, June 22nd from 11am-2pm: Artisans of WMass will be hosting a Paper Making Workshop at The Daylily. Instructor Donna Beck will show how handmade paper can be made by recycling junk mail, old greeting cards, or any paper slated for the recycling bin. Best for ages 8yo and older. 8A Sugarloaf Street. South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

  2. Let’s Fold! Origami for Everyone
    Friday, June 14, 2013
    1 – 2:30 for adults
    3 – 4:30 for kids (6 with an adult) and older

    Yulan “Mimmy” San, folk artist and teacher, presents the timeless tradition of origami-the art of folding paper. Classic origami is made by hand from one sheet of paper folding and folding, 2 times or even 200, transforming paper into an array of friendly objects both practical and charming. Endlessly fascinating, origami offers a bit of wonder-Imagine a single sheet of paper, folding and folding, transforming bit by bit into a bunny or a bird, or maybe a frog, even an elephant, or a heart, shirt or bowtie. The possibilities are endless. Wow!

    Nearly 2000 years old, origami is among the oldest art forms. Originally intended for spiritual ritual and reflection, its range of use has grown. Paper folding today is used in advertising, as well as in math, science, and medicine. It benefits arthritis symptoms, quitting smoking, and recovery from injury or illness. It can reduce stress and alleviate the blahs.
    Cultural, educational, and playful, origami has broad appeal. Young and old alike enjoy its many benefits and rewards-
    · promotes creative thinking and imagination
    · develops manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
    · enhances visual awareness
    · improves memory skills
    · builds self-esteem
    · leaves you feeling light-hearted and happy

    Come join us for an afternoon of good fun and good company. Free of charge and supplies will be provided. Supported by the Friends of Forbes Library. Limited seating so please RSVP to Lisa – 413-587-1017, stop by the main desk or email

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