From Dr. Seuss to Dinosaurs, from courtly art to
basketball courts, when it comes to museums, Springfield, Massachusetts
literally does have something for everyone. Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss,
was born in Springfield in 1904, and to honor him the Amazing World of Dr.
Seuss Museum opens this month near the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden,
that contains large bronze sculptures of some of his most popular creations.
There is the 14 ft. tall elephant, Horton, who hears a Who, Thing One and Thing
Two, even a sculpture of Dr. Seuss himself, sitting at his drawing table, with
the Cat in the Hat standing behind him. A large open book with an empty chair in front
allows you to sit for a photo and become part of the magical Seuss world. These
sculptures, created by Dr. Seuss’ stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond Cates, reside
on the grassy courtyard in front of a complex of museums, known collectively at
the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle.
The Science Museum, founded in 1859 as the Springfield
Ethnological and Natural History Museum, contains a variety of exhibits
exploring diverse areas of science and anthropology. In addition to the 20 ft.
tall model of Tyrannosaurus Rex and a life-size replica of a Stegosaurus
skeleton made from a cast of an actual skeleton, the
museum showcases preserved animals including an elephant, an ostrich, and a
rhinoceros, live insect specimens, space rocks in the Astronomy Hall, a
dioramas of New England, as well as the always fascinating Fulcrum Pendulum.
The Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, housed in an 1933
Art Deco building, contains an
impressive collection of American, Asian, and European paintings, prints and
sculptures, including the largest holding of lithographs in the country. The
Smith Art Museum, located in an Italian-villa style building dating to 1896,
offers the eclectic collection of George and Belle Smith, including Japanese
armor, Middle Eastern carpets, lace, textiles and the largest collection of
Chinese cloisonné outside of Asia. The
fourth museum of the complex is the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield
History. In addition to exhibits on the history of the Connecticut River Valley
and classic cars, such as a 1925 Rolls Royce roadster, it houses the largest
Indian Motorcycle collection in the world, as well of the largest collection of
Smith and Wesson guns in the world.
The new Dr. Seuss museum joins these three world-class museums in
the Springfield Quadrangle, all accessible with a single admission ticket.
And just a short distance away on the banks of the
Connecticut River is the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum,
honoring another famous native son, Dr. Naismith, who invented the game more than a century ago.
With more than three hundred inductees and more than 40,000 square feet of
basketball history, it is a sports mecca.