If you’re visiting Boston, consider taking a daytrip to nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts to explore the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Here, 20 miles away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, you’ll find a tranquil 30 acre sculpture park. What’s more, this park is the largest of its kind in New England. Spend an afternoon meandering around the larger-than-life outdoor sculptures before enjoying a picnic lunch. DeCordova is a perfect excursion for everyone; from nature lovers to elementary-school-aged children to true art connoisseurs.
The focus of deCordova’s work is the sculpture garden. Upon driving into the park, visitors are immediately greeted with massive steel and fiberglass installations. Normally about 60 sculptures are on display outdoors. A truly unique feature of the park is that installations change constantly. Some sculptures stay for a few months, while others may stay for a few years. That means you can keep visiting the park and constantly have a new experience! I visited the park in August 2015 and at the end of September 2015, deCordova was already featuring new pieces on their website.
What makes this ever-changing park even more incredible is that the pieces are so well integrated into the diverse landscape. In the park, find not only manicured lawns, but also forests and gardens. The museum prides itself on securing works that enter into conversation with the environment and with meteorological conditions. The effect is seamless. So much so that while meandering through the park, I almost missed several pieces because they were so incorporated.
While deCordova attempts to incorporate all of the sculptures into the Massachusetts landscape, there are a few selected sculptures whose purpose transcends art and reaches into environmental functionality. Take Jarrett Mellenbruch’s Haven (2014), as an example. This acrylic, wood and steel sculpture is a beautiful addition to deCordova’s garden, but it’s also a self-sustaining beehive. Mellenbruch created the installation after learning about threats to native honeybee populations.
Art becomes nature
Another example of art and nature interacting at deCordova is Steven Siegel’s Big, with rift (2009). The piece is composed of old newspapers and excavated vegetation from the site. Over time, and with the harsh New England weather, the newspaper will decompose and become compost. The compost will then be used to fertilize plants at the park.
Interactive-perfect for the whole family
The sculpture park is an ideal family destination. Kids will enjoy the wacky sculptures like Joseph Wheelwright’s Listening Stone (1995) (an oversized head). Paul Matisse’s The Musical Fence (1980) features aluminium bars that can be played like a huge xylophone. The museum invites the little ones to run around the expansive gardens while the adults peruse the artwork at a leisurely pace. Dogs are also permitted as long as they are leashed. When lunchtime approaches, stop by the museum’s café for sandwiches or bring your own from home and picnic outside amongst the art. DeCordova remains accessible during the winter, when visitors are invited to explore the park on skis or snowshoes.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to sneak off to when in the Boston area, set your sights to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in nearby Lincoln. It is easily accessible by car via Route 2 or by the MBTA commuter rail. Admission is 14 USD for adults. Children under 12 are free. The park is open every day from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm during the summer and 10.00 am to 4.00 pm during the winter.
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