Home » 2000 Winter Road Trip to Acadia

Clark Art Institute, MA

Thursday, February 24, 2000 - 7:00am by Lolo
57 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop


On the way towards Mt. Brodie, we passed through the picturesque college town of Williamstown in the northwestern most corner of Massachusetts. Besides the Williams College campus, this remote New England village is home to one of the finest art museums in the country. In fact, the location of the museum was chosen because of its remoteness. In the 1950s during the Cold War, people were genuinely concerned that the major U.S. cities were vulnerable to nuclear attack. Wanting to ensure the safety of their valuable art collection, Robert Sterling and Francine Clary Clark chose Williamstown as a safe place to build their museum. Today there is a close relationship between the college and the museum, which are located within walking distance of each other. Williams College produces more art curators than any other college.

We easily found parking for the RV in the large lot behind the museum. I had been to this museum several times as a child because we often vacationed in the Berkshires, but this was the boys' first time. Being 8 and 10 year old boys anxious to get to the next ski slope, I wasn't sure just how they were going to take to the idea of going to an art museum. However, I must say that they truly enjoyed it. The French Impressionist exhibit is incredible. It includes several works by Monet and Degas, and over 35 paintings by Renoir.

P.S. 2007 update - Andrew must have really loved the Clark Art Institute. Next September, he will be attending Williams College where he plans to double major in Art History and either Biology or Math.
P.P.S 2009 update - Tommy has joined his brother at Williams College where they both run 3 seasons of track.


The Clark Art Institute, nestled in the Berkshires of northwestern Massachusetts, is both an art museum as well as the home of one of the finest art reference libraries in the world (both of which are open to the public). Its collections include European and American painting and sculpture, master prints and drawings, Flemish and Dutch masterworks from the 17th and 18th centuries, European and American photography from the 1840s through the 1910s, English silver and porcelain, and an extraordinary collection of French Impressionist paintings.

The museum was established in the early 1950s when Robert Sterling and Francine Clary Clark were looking for a home for their art collection. Because of the threat of nuclear attack on major U.S. cities during the Cold War, the Clarks wanted to choose a remote location to house their valuable collection. This fear plus the close ties that existed between the Clark family and Williams College caused them to choose the small town of Williamstown in the Berkshires as the location for their museum. The museum was built in walking distance to the college.

Clark Art Institute location map

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