The Clarks were wealthy, well-known New York art collectors in the early years of the 20th century who initially intended to establish a museum in Manhattan to house their collection. A change of heart (and some Cold War-inspired uneasiness) led them to Williamstown, where Sterling Clark’s father and grandfather had been trustees at Williams College; the Clark Institute ultimately opened in 1955, on 140 rolling, woody acres.
Though the Clarks themselves are long gone, the Institute’s holdings continue to reflect their interests: the museum almost exclusively focuses on European and American paintings, sculpture, decorative art and works on paper, from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, although the Clark has begun expanding its focus in recent years to include early photography. The museum is currently also in the midst of a physical expansion, opening the Stone Hill Center in 2008; the new center contains two galleries and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Phase II of the expansion is in the planning stages.
Sterling and Francine Clark Institute Information
- Public Transportation: Good (a 7-minute walk from BRTA buses 2 and 7 at Main Street/North Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Gallery Hours: July–August open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; September–June open Tuesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Library Hours: Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; closed on weekends
- Admission: June–October: $15 Adults; Free for members, children under 18, and students. November–May: Free admission. Memorial Day–Labor Day: Free admission for active duty military personnel and their families. Combination tickets are also available: Clark/Tanglewood Ticket Package $50; Clark/MASS MoCA Combination Ticket $25; Clark/Norman Rockwell Museum Combination Ticket $25
- Tour: Groups tours are available. Prices vary
- Audio Tour: Available for $5 ($3 members)
- Membership: Individual membership is $60 (Dual/Family $90). Benefits include unlimited year-round complimentary admission; seasonal members calendar; monthly e-news blasts; invitations to exclusive members-only exhibition previews and events; discounted tickets to concerts, films, public talks, and other special events; a 10% discount at the Museum Shop and 25% seasonal members’ shopping days; and a 15% discount on café purchases
- Other Benefits: Reciprocal membership to other museums is available at the Sustainer Level ($150).