Fruitlands Museum opening 100th Season


(Harvard, Mass.) Fruitlands Museum opened its 100th main season this spring on Wednesday, April 16. Two new exhibitions–The Changing Landscape: Fruitlands’ Living Collection and The Ehrenkranz Basket Collection–opened on Saturday, April 19. Fruitlands Museum is open Monday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $5 for children 5 – 13, and free for members and children under 5. Fruitlands Museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard, Mass. For more information please visit or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.

Ehrenkranz Basket Collection at Fruitlands

Ehrenkranz Basket Collection at Fruitlands

“As we look forward to kicking off our 100th Anniversary year this summer, we are thrilled to open our main season and present two exhibitions – one celebrating our living collection, the Land; and the other a recently acquired remarkable collection of handmade baskets from indigenous populations all over the world.” said Fruitlands Executive Director Wyona Lynch-McWhite.

The Changing Landscape: Fruitlands’ Living Collection, April 19 – June 8
Exhibit opening Saturday, April 19, 1-3PM.

One of the most significant collections at Fruitlands is the Land itself. With an unparalleled view across the Nashua River valley, the story of Fruitlands is intrinsically tied to its evolving landscape. The 210-acre grounds is composed of ecological habitats and historical remains that provide a link between the museum’s seemingly eclectic collections of work by Native American, Shaker, Transcendentalist, and nineteenth century artists. Each collection represents an important moment in the history of the New England landscape, memories of which are retained within the Land itself.

An immersive environmental exhibit, The Changing Landscape, will tell the story of Fruitlands’ connection to the Land using maps, historical farm implements, archaeological materials recovered from the property, a variety of plant samples as well as details about land management techniques practiced at Fruitlands. Educational and interpretive materials will highlight how this living collection is both part of the historical past as well as an actively managed landscape.

According to curator Dr. Michael Volmar, “The Fruitlands landscape is always changing as human culture responds to current conditions and influences future ecological habitats. Over the past 15 years the museum has implemented land management initiatives such as forest management projects, ecological inventories, wildlife habitat development, and invasive plant management that are recognized as models for municipal and private land owners in the region. We’ve also conducted archaeological and ecological research of our Land. Showcasing these projects, articulating our current land management methods and goals within a future-oriented historical context, and developing interpretive strategies for the other four collections, reinforces our understanding of the Land as our living fifth collection. “

The Ehrenkranz Basket Collection, April 19 – August 10
Opening Saturday, April 19, 1-3PM in the Art Gallery

The museum’s newest acquisition, the Elaine Ehrenkranz Basket Collection, will feature 80+ antique baskets from Native people around the world including North, Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Ehrenkranz–a gifted painter in her own right–enjoyed collecting boxes and baskets of all kinds from all over the globe. With a keen aesthetic sense, she became a renowned collector and connoisseur of Japanese lacquer boxes–one collection was donated to Harvard University in 1997 and another to the Morikami Museum in 2013. Ehrenkranz had a lifelong interest in baskets, and she actively collected them from Native people living in all parts of the world. Most of all, she loved the process of learning about the art she collected and sharing that information with students, collectors and anyone interested in her collections. The Ehrenkranz Basket Collection includes almost ninety baskets, many of which will be on display at Fruitlands.

“We are overjoyed that the collection of so avid and discerning a collector as Elaine Ehrenkranz has found a home at Fruitlands,” added Lynch-McWhite. “Her remarkable collection represents a broad range of origin, type and technique that will complement Fruitlands’ existing basketry collection.”


Saturday, April 19, 1-3 p.m., Free with admission
Gallery Opening: The Changing Landscape and The Ehrenkranz Basket Collection
Join us for a curator’s talk by Dr. Michael Volmar, and refreshments as we celebrate the opening of the spring gallery exhibitions. Curator’s talk at 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, April 26, 1-2PM, Free with admission
Talk: Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science
Robert M. Thorston, a professor of Geology at the University of Connecticut, presents his latest work. Using evidence from local collections including Fruitlands, Thorston discusses Thoreau as a great geological mind of his day, following in the footsteps of Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin.

Saturday, May 10, 1-2PM, Free with admission
Talk: Ecological Inventory of Fruitlands Museum
Jeff Collins, Director of Mass Audubon’s Ecological Management Department, coordinates habitat management planning and activities for the organization’s wildlife sanctuaries and conservation partners throughout North America. Hear what his research on Fruitlands landscape reveals about the Museum’s ecosystems and find out what it means for our region.

Monday, May 12 & 26, 2-4PM; Wednesday, June 11, 2-4PM;
& Saturday, July 12, 2-4PM, Free with admission
From Baskets to Bonfire: Basket Bombing Workshop
Come by throughout the season and join in a “Basket Bombing” workshop. Visitors will create baskets to be installed throughout Fruitlands’ landscape as a community art assemblage, before they are used as the base for the season-ending bonfire in November. All tools and materials supplied, no experience necessary, but some hand strength/dexterity required.

Sunday, May 18, 2-3PM, Free with admission
Book Talk by Sarah Turnbaugh, American Indian Baskets: Building and Caring for a Collection
Scholar Sarah Turnbaugh discusses basketry styles found in all nine North American basket regions. Featuring baskets from Fruitlands Museum’s remarkable collection, this comparative slide-illustrated talk will detail the many similarities and subtle differences among Native American basket making traditions.

Saturday & Sunday, July 26-27, 1-4PM, Free with admission
Basket Weekend
On July 26 & 27, Fruitlands once again hosts Basket Weekend. Discover the museum’s extensive collection of baskets in the Native American, Shaker and Fruitlands’ Farmhouse museums. To complement the collection there will be in-depth highlight tours in the galleries and informative lectures, including a presentation on the unique collection of local basket maker Sally Gardner. Basket makers from the region will be on the grounds selling their wares and presenting hands-on demonstrations. Plus, children’s crafts, basket bombing workshops and more!

June 14 – August 10
EXHIBITION: Transcendental Abstractions: Artist-in-Residence Richard Kattman

Saturday, June 21, 10AM-5PM, FREE ADMISSION
CENTENNIAL SATURDAY: Fruitlands Turns 100!
Come celebrate the kickoff of Fruitlands’ centennial year! On this FREE day there will be fun for the whole family, with live music, craft activities, artist demonstrations, games and more.

Fruitlands Museum, founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane that existed on this site in 1843. The Fruitlands campus includes: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, the site of an experiment in communal living led by Alcott and Lane in 1843; The Shaker Museum, home to the largest archive of Harvard Shaker documents in the world; The Native American Gallery, which houses a significant collection of artifacts that honor the spiritual presence and cultural history of the first Americans; The Art Gallery, featuring a significant display of our extensive collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings, and a partial display of our over 230 nineteenth century vernacular portraits, the second largest collection in the country. The Land feature 210 acres with panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, including 2.5 miles of walking trails. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists, including pottery, glass, jewelry, clothing and home furnishings. The Museum Café, open during the main season (April 16 through November 2) focuses on locally-sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England. For more information, visit or call 978-456-3924 ext. 292.