This fall OLLI Excursions will take you to the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. Built during the city's heyday, it was formally opened in 1898 amidst much fanfare. At the time Worcester was at its height as one of the leading industrial and manufacturing areas in New England and there was a healthy philanthropic class. It was also the state's largest center for the arts outside of Boston.
The WAM became the first museum in the United States to purchase works by Claude Monet as well as Paul Gauguin. The museum was also the first institution to transport a medieval building-a chapter house-from Europe and install it in America.
As the second largest art museum in New England, it houses more than 35,000 works of art dating from antiquity to the present day, representing cultures from all over the world. In addition to the Roman mosaic-laden Renaissance courtyard floor and the French chapter house, strengths of the permanent collection include collections of European and North American painting, prints, photographs, and drawings; Asian art; Greek and Roman sculpture and mosaics; and Contemporary art.
Recently WAM reinstalled its medieval galleries and its outstanding collection of ecclesiastical artwork with the chivalric arms and armor of the John Woodman Higgins Collection to tell a new story for 21st-century audiences.
At the opposite end of the historical arc, in the Contemporary Gallery, Shih Chieh Huang's Reusable Universes will provoke the viewer to consider society's rapidly changing relationship with technology. He has transformed mundane manufactured objects into novel and remarkably complex sculptural forms.
OLLI's own art historian, Tan Larrabee, and his wife, Joy, will accompany us and lecture about the collection on the bus trip going to the museum, giving you an orientation and historical details as well as highlights to check out.
Lunch will be on your own.