Norman Rockwell would have been one hundred years old next year. For more than twenty years, Rockwell’s work has been shown in the Norman Rockwell Museum, a small white clapboard house on the main street of picturesque Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where visitors grew from 5,000 people in 1969 to 160,000 today. Now the museum has moved to a new incarnation to accommodate its popularity—a former estate nearby, where a $9.2 million, 27,000-square-foot building has been constructed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, seeking to replicate the mythical New England town hall, as does everything in the landscape from ice cream parlours to petrol stations.
While exhibitions will be devoted largely to Rockwell works, curators plan to offer other shows by illustrators. Evidence of the power of Rockwell’s legacy is a gift to the museum from producer/director Steven Spielberg (who might be considered the Norman Rockwell of cinema) in conjunction with Time Warner Inc. Accordingly the museum’s trustees have named the museum building the Steven Spielberg/Time Warner Building. The main museum building opens Sunday 13 June with the display of Rockwell’s renowned “Four Freedoms” series, based on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 conception of the four fundamental conditions of the democratic society.