The Quadrangle is the nickname of an great cultural campus in the heart of Springfield, which features five museums, and several well-known outdoor sculptures (including St. Gaudens's masterpiece, "The Puritan.") One ticket gains a person access to all of the museums (!!)
The Quadrangle's museums include art; curiosities; science; history (which was closed when I went;) and a fascinating new museum about the City of Springfield's history. (For example, did you know that Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in Springfield? Or that John Brown started his first radical abolitionist group there? Or that Timothy Leary's first "experiment" was in Springfield, his hometown..?) The city has fascinating connections!
The Museum of Springfield History is, itself, located on the site of the famous American painter James McNeill Whistler's childhood home (famous for "Whistler's Mother," and "Nocturnes," among other paintings -- and for being witty with Oscar Wilde.) Again, connections!
Outside of the five museums are the Dr. Seuss memorial sculptures, which honor another one of Springfield's favorite sons (and, in particular, his book's characters--like the Lorax and the Cat in the Hat;) and Augustus Saint Gaudens' world famous statue, "The Puritan." The former is whimsical and fun; the latter is serious, and arguably the great artist's masterpiece. (I heard people speaking in German taking photos of it.)
The Science Museum features the first planetarium ever built in the U.S. -- it's not old and decrepit; in fact, it's really cool-looking and historical at the same time. Springfield Science also has an extensive dinosaur exhibit! Lots of reptiles too. It's a bit light on geology, in my opinion, but I believe that both parents and kids will be entertained at informed at once.
There are two other museums that I believe both parents and kids will like: the first is the Springfield History Museum, because it features multiple cars, planes, and a life-sized firetruck -- and also, the G V.W. Smith Museum of Art, which is a collection of weird artifacts from around the world (like Asian suits of armor,) collected by an eccentric man.
The Springfield Museum of Art was my personal favorite, (aside from seeing the real-life "Puritan," which I studied in art history,) although I think that it might be a kid's least favorite. Personally, I was amazed the breadth and depth of Springfield's European collection -- French Impressionist/Post-Impressionist, Dutch and Flemish -- all the masters... Plus, it has an equally compelling American galley. (Famed portrait painter Chester Harding was a Springfielder.) This art museum would be popular in a megalopolis; however, in a city that's only 32 sq miles and has only 155,000 people, it's a treasure.
The history museum was undergoing renovations while I was there so I cannot comment on it... The rest, however, I give an A+ -- not just because medium-sized cities almost never have collections like this, (even in Europe,) but because the collections themselves were compelling and well-presented.
Outside you've got Dr. Seuss and Augustus Saint Gaudens's "The Puritan" within yards of each other -- can you get any better than that?! :)
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