Project Description


Something Scary

September 15 through October 31, 2016

What are YOU afraid of? Something Scary, a family friendly, somewhat wacky exploration of fears and phobias, will be on view at the Berkshire Museum September 15 through October 31, 2016. The exhibition will open Thursday evening, September 15, from 5 to 8 pm, when admission to the Museum is free in conjunction with Pittsfield’s Third Thursday festival.

Dare to discover how much fun scary can be!


Barbara K. Finn, Ode to Barry, etching.

Something Scary was developed at the Berkshire Museum by guest curator Kirsti Scutt Edwards, director of curatorial affairs Maria Mingalone, and exhibitions manager Jason Verchot. Something Scary is sponsored in part by Berkshire Magazine.

Visitors exploring their terrors and trepidations in the Something Scary galleries will encounter the eerie “wall of shadows” and other chilling experiences, including a torture chamber filled with menacing weapons and skeletons and an interactive Ouija board station offering opportunities to commune with otherworldly spirits.

“As the former exhibitions manager at the Berkshire Museum, I spent a lot of time mining our collection and often freaking myself out in the process,” says Edwards. “This exhibition came out of an idea of exhibiting all of the scary things we would come across in storage while working with the collections.”

Something Scary features fascinating and fearsome objects from the Museum’s eclectic collection, from a witch’s broom to a pit of snakes and even real owl and tarantula specimens. A dark and gloomy seventeenth-century oil painting depicts a somber Dutch family, attired all in black, whose eyes seem to peer out at museum-goers in the gallery. Daggers and pikes from the past hint at a history of violence while spooky antique china dolls with glass eyes stare balefully at visitors, evoking an atmosphere of foreboding.

Johann Mongels Culverhouse (Dutch), The Burial of De Soto, 1860, oil on canvas.

Johann Mongels Culverhouse (Dutch), The Burial of De Soto, 1860, oil on canvas.

Objects from the Museum’s fine art collection that enhance the dark atmosphere of the exhibition include an etching by James A.M. Whistler depicting an eerie night scene; a drawing and two woodcuts by Kaethe Kollwitz; and several lithographs by John James Audubon, including depictions of a rat and a wolverine.

Items from a mad scientist’s laboratory and an assortment of truly unusual animal specimens are among the frightful vignettes to be explored. Visitors will be able to vote for their own particular fears, whether blood, heights, public speaking, ghosts and ghouls, the number 13, or things that “go bump in the night.”

Summon your courage and dare to explore Something Scary this fall at the Berkshire Museum.

Kathe Kollwitz (German), Self-Potrait (Selbstbilfinis), 1923, woodcut on paper.

Kathe Kollwitz (German), Self-Potrait (Selbstbilfinis), 1923, woodcut on paper.

Something Scary is generously sponsored by Berkshire Magazine.

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