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Wed October 10, 2012
Museums: Worcester's Hidden Gem
It's the world's finest art museum you've never been to, and it's right here in Massachusetts.
It's the Worcester Art Museum. At one point, it was considered among the finest public art collections in the country, reflecting the great prosperity the city enjoyed in its earlier days. But as the city’s luster faded, so did the museum’s profile.
The collection is still world-class, boasting for example the largest Roman mosaic in the Western Hemisphere, the oldest collection of colonial portraits anywhere and the second-largest collection of Paul Revere silver. You can get a look at some of the museum's galleries here. Now, the museum's new director, Matthias Waschek, is looking to restore its rightful status. One of his long-term goals is to reconfigure the museum’s entire collection to present it more by chronology and less by nationality as most museums do.
“You just say Whistler should be next to all the great French painters that we have," he told WGBH's Jared Bowen. "Or you have some of the American Impressionists, put them together with Monet, and you see that they’re actually in a very interesting league.” Arranging the collection by chronology flies in the face of standard convention, but Waschek thinks the risk of flouting convention is low: "We have to tell a different story from the Met and the MFA. The very moment we tell the same story with less depth of collection, why would you want to go to Worcester?”
It seems like Waschek is well on his way to answering that question. Watch Jared Bowen's in-depth interview with Waschek.
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