Annual Report of the Director – 2019
Norman Rockwell Museum at 50
Left to right Daisy Rockwell (Norman Rockwell’s granddaughter), Ruby Bridges, and Laurie Norton Moffatt; featured guest speakers at the June opening of Rockwell, Roosevelt & The Four Freedoms, at the Caen Memorial Museum in Normandy, France; on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
As Norman Rockwell Museum turns 50, we celebrate our accomplishments and leadership as the nation’s foremost center for appreciation and study of the art of Norman Rockwell and American illustration art. Telling America’s story through pictures designed for mass publication and popular audiences, we launch our second half-century with a focus on several exciting initiatives and a promising future.
We thrive today thanks to generous donors, artists, and patrons who continue to build and steward the Museum’s art collections, creating an encyclopedic aggregation of illustration art and providing resources for the enjoyment, education, and engagement of generations to come. We remain the people’s museum. After 25 years of growth on our new campus, the success of the Museum’s programs drives expansion to meet needs for the second half-century.
The Museum is creating a National Center for Illustration Research and Education to serve the nation’s outreach programs that will house the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, traveling exhibition program, digital learning and engagement initiatives and research programs. It will include a study gallery and library; space for symposia, lectures, and meetings, and ample workspace.
We are looking at acquiring and adapting a very special historic building, where Town meetings have been held for hundreds of years: the Old Stockbridge Town Hall. Built in 1839 and located in the Town’s spiritual and civic center, this handsome Greek-Revival structure can bring our burgeoning programming, collections, research, and outreach activities together under one roof. Vacant for 12 years, the building is perfect for our expansion needs with innovative design and renovation. This unique opportunity will allow the Museum to serve its national audiences while continuing to delight visitors at the home campus.
Our aim, as we celebrate 50 years of excellence and public service, has been to create a nationwide hub connecting people and illustration art, and to encourage the preservation, presentation and publication of these important cultural materials.
Thank you to all who believed in this museum, founded it, took a risk to expand it, and embraced sharing the artwork. Our task ahead is to engage the interests of future audiences in the meaning and importance of the visual images we find all around us.
We are a museum that absolutely grew by public affection and public demand as millions of people have ventured from around the corner and across oceans to see Rockwell’s art. The people’s wisdom prevailed for this remarkable little engine that could. We did, and we will, far into the future.
Laurie Norton Moffatt