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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.

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.