If you’re looking for an attraction in the Berkshires, consider a visit to Chesterwood in Stockbridge, the former home of American sculptor Daniel Chester French. Most famed for the Lincoln Memorial, French split his time between New York and this beautiful summer estate in Massachusetts. Art, culture, and nature coalesce to create the modern museum, which is available for not only tours but also weddings and other events.
History of Chesterwood in Stockbridge
Chesterwood in Stockbridge was once the summer mansion and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). Back in 1896, the estate was purchased by French, who at the time was already renowned for his bronze Minute Man statue at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. A studio nearby the farmhouse was created on the property by French’s friend Henry Bacon, and here, the sculptor would create his artwork during his working career.
French & Chesterwood
French is most well-known for his giant sculpture of Abraham Lincoln that sits at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The carving was designed at Chesterwood in Stockbridge and then carved in DC. After French’s death, Chesterwood mansion was inherited by daughter Margaret French Cresson, who formed the Daniel Chester French Foundation to help manage most of the property until it was donated. Most of the original 150-acre estate is now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who utilizes the property as a museum and sculpture garden. Chesterwood in Stockbridge is now a National and Massachusetts Historic Landmark.
Make a Visit
Chesterwood opens on Memorial Day Weekend 2016 to visitors, parallel to when French would travel from his permanent home and studio in New York to his summer estate for the warm months. The residence, gardens, exhibit gallery, museum shop, picnic area, and walking trails are all available at this time for your perusing. Group tours are available through the rehabilitated studio, nine-bedroom estate, and surrounding woodlands. You can bring a picnic, order lunch, or request a private wine and cheese party on the studio’s pizza overlooking Monument Mountain.
The permanent exhibit at Chesterwood in Stockbridge displays French’s most renowned works, including the Minute Man, Lincoln Memorial, The Continents, and Samuel F. Dupont Memorial. This exhibit features his creative process, style, and the social context of his work. Other collections vary throughout the year.
You can plan your wedding at Chesterwood in Stockbridge! A memorable venue with gorgeous Berkshires scenery as your backdrop will convey an aura of elegance and the peacefulness that comes with mountain views. The Italianate garden contrasts well with the rural landscape to provide an atmosphere fitting for a ceremony, reception, or dinner party from intimate gatherings to 500 guests.
There is a special price available for the American Icons ticket program, which includes tours of Chesterwood in Stockbridge, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, and The Mount in Lenox. With this package, you can receive $3 each additional location after purchasing your first full-price ticket.
Stay at Brook Farm
Stay close to The Mount, a member of the American Icons specials package, and book at Brook Farm. For more history to explore and things to do in Lenox and around Massachusetts, download our free vacation guide!