All of us should have a bucket list, right? Hidden treasures should comprise at least 33.33% of that list, according to my scientific research findings. For today’s hidden treasure suggestion, I present to you The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, NY. You know where that is, right? Nestled in a small town on the banks of the Mohawk River.
The museum is a reflection of Bartlett Arkell’s extraordinary legacy – a stunning little treasure that bears his name. Arkell (1862-1946) founded the Beech-Nut Packing Company and guided it to extraordinary success. The name derives from the Beech-Nut trees that gave an early company product, ham, it’s distinctive woody-smoky flavor. Yum! But even more yummy are the amazing artworks that line the walls of this distinctive place – Winslow Homer after Winslow Homer, along with a who’s who of American art including Thomas Hart Benton, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Robert Henri, Childe Hassam, George Inness, Maurice Prendergast, Theodore Robinson, Edmund Tarbell, and one of our favorites (as Dartmouth College boys ourselves) Paul Sample. These aren’t just little minor baubles by big name artists bought by a small town collector. These are major examples, carefully selected by a small town collector who had very cosmopolitan sensibilities, and the checkbook that allowed desire to turn into ownership. As a custodian of fine art we salute you Mr. Arkell.
I also love the great new building that houses the art collection designed by designLAB architects. It’s an incredibly nifty building, with nice layout for exhibitions inside and exceedingly charming grounds outside, complete with a serene reflecting pool.
So plan on stopping in when you are on the NY State Thruway anywhere between Syracuse and Albany. It’s about a 5 minute “easy off, easy on” diversion, and there are some nice little eateries in the village itself.
The Beech-Nut company has a fascinating corporate history. One of the things they mastered early on was a very forward thinking approach to marketing. An interactive display delves into this interesting and innovative part of the corporate success story.
Hopefully you’ll consider adding this stunning small museum to your bucket list. If you do I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.
Of course no blog on museums would be fully complete without adding one of my bucket list items – busting out a yoga pose (in this case Warrior II) at a place where creativity, art, and beauty collide. Not my best Asana, but I’ll give it a C+. Progress meets practice – the hallmark of yoga…