A building that closely resembles a puzzle piece stands out in this small town that hugs the Mohawk River.
The Arkell Museum was created by Bartlett Arkell — owner of the former Beech-Nut Packing Co. — with the intention of giving residents in the county a place to view world-renowned art. Arkell, who was known as a world traveler, collected art on many of his trips and brought pieces back to put on display at the museum.
The museum’s permanent exhibit is dubbed “Arkell’s Inspiration: The Marketing of Beech-Nut and Art for the People.” Arkell’s collection of late 19th and early 20th century American paintings and the use of his collection to market Beech-Nut products is the focus of this exhibition.
Diane Forsberg, museum director and curator, said no one expects such amazing art to line the walls when they first walk in.
“The collections we have are really quite amazing,” she said. “People are always thoroughly surprised we have such a world-class selection.”
The benches and fountains that surround the museum offer visitors a great place to sit and enjoy a snack. The two-floor museum is easy to navigate and provides a number of activities for children.
“We have computers and games for kids to play with,” Forsberg said. “If you ask the front desk, we also have some interactive games for kids when they are exploring the museum.”
Lauren Nevins of Delmar took a “field trip” with a number of her friends to visit the museum. She said she enjoyed the paintings but most of all she liked that the museum shows off the town’s history.
“These old pictures that tell the story of the Beech-Nut plant are really cool,” she said. “This is a chance to learn about great art and also learn about the town’s history.”
From Sept. 2 through Jan. 4, the museum will host an exhibit called “Winslow Homer: The Nature and Rhythm of Life From the Arkell Collections.” The exhibit will feature watercolors and oil paintings, along with other Homer works that Arkell acquired for his personal collection.
Admission for adults is $8, but $6 for students and senior citizens. Children ages 11 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.