EXHIBITS AT THE MUSEUM


Read more about the Ipswich Museum’s upcoming, current and past exhibits.

Winter Exhibit 2018

Immigration Stories of Ipswich

The winter exhibition at the Ipswich Museum explores what it meant to be an immigrant in this town during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through photographs, traditional costumes, recorded music, interviews, and written memories the exhibition brings to life the stories of the many immigrants and their descendants who built their lives in their New England town, Ipswich.

Bordered by the Ipswich River and the Atlantic Ocean, Ipswich has attracted immigrants in search of economic opportunities from the earliest days. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, mostly English immigrants found steady work in a wide array of industry and commerce – from fishing and clamming to milling, shipping, farming and shipbuilding.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Ipswich River provided vital energy to power a booming mill industry. Job opportunities in the Ipswich Mills, in particular, enticed a new wave of immigrants, primarily from Canada, Greece and Poland. They settled in areas near the mills where they worked. Their families grew and prospered in their new home. It was not long before many had begun to branch out into other trades, integrating with the local economy as shopkeepers, cobblers, clammers and fishermen. Over the years, they built substantial businesses that have become part of the fabric of the present day Ipswich economy.

Throughout the generations, these Ipswich men and women worked hard to retain a hold on the language and customs of their original homeland. They established schools and literary societies to pass on and thereby preserve their heritage. Parish churches where Polish, Greek, and French were spoken created a place where families could congregate, worship and celebrate life’s passages in the languages of their homelands. Annual picnics complete with food, music, and dancing, were held to celebrate these traditions. These events continue to fill the summer calendar of events in Ipswich, and bring to the forefront the rich history of this small New England town. At the same time, the various cultures began to merge as friendship, town activities, and marriage blurred the differences.

Please join us this winter and spring in celebrating the Immigration Stories of Ipswich. The opening party will be held at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, February 21 followed by a round-table discussion at 7:30 with a group of townspeople sharing their personal stories. For other events in conjunction with Immigration Stories please see our calendar.

Light and Air:

The Art of Charles Shurcliff and George Sherwood

June to October 2017

The Ipswich Museum’s summer exhibition Light and Air, features work by two acclaimed Ipswich artists, painter Charles Shurcliff and sculptor George Sherwood. The exhibit includes a selection of Shurcliff’s distinctively loose and colorful pein aire landscapes and indoor versions of Sherwood’s striking stainless-steel kinetic sculptures. Be sure to stop by the Heard House this summer and see the Appleton Room transformed by light air. The exhibit is open during the Museum’s regular tour hours- Thursday to Saturday 10 am-4pm and Sunday 1pm-4pm.

Charles Shurcliff

For more than fifty years, Charlie has been painting Hog Island, Crane Beach, the tidal marsh and other familiar coastal landmarks of Ipswich and Essex County. All his painting, characterized by a joyful looseness and sense of light, is done on the spot and under the sun. As a young artist he often arrived on site in a canoe or used canoes in his oils and watercolors. His later paintings are in acrylic. “What could be more modern and American than plastic?” (Charles Shurcliff)

George Sherwood

An Ipswich resident who studied engineering at the University of Vermont and art at the Hartford Art School, Sherwood’s works exhibit both subtle and obvious movement showing the “dynamic relationship of objects in motion.” The reflective quality of stainless steel furthers the integration of his sculpture to the environment.