Featured artists include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Chauncey Ryder, as well as American expatriates Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.

What might you see at the Springfield Art Museum? With a collection that includes more than 10,000 objects spanning many time periods and cultures, they are constantly changing what is on display.

To add to the diverse collection, the museum will be hosting American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony through July 2. The exhibit opens Friday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit features 75 oil paintings and 30 works on paper dating to the Golden Age of American Impressionism, the 1880s through the 1940s. Arranged by the artists' colonies that played a critical role in the development of the style, the exhibit examines work produced in Cos Cob and Old Lyme, Conn.; Cape Cod, Cape Anne and Rockport, Mass.; New Hope and Philadelphia, Penn.; and Taos, N.M., among others.

Featured artists include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Chauncey Ryder, as well as American expatriates Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.

“The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see such a wide variety of approaches to Impressionism in America,” notes Scott Schweigert, The Reading Public Museum’s Curator of Art and Civilization. “While the exhibition includes some ‘big name’ artists, there are also some rediscoveries - lesser known painters who also embraced elements of Impressionism.”

Of particular interest to the Springfield Art Museum is the inclusion of Philadelphia artist Mary Cable Butler. “Butler was a close friend of Museum Founder Deborah Weisel and helped write the bylaws for our Museum in the 1920s,” says Museum Director Nick Nelson. “It is like celebrating a homecoming of sorts, because the very first pieces of artwork acquired by the Museum in 1928 were two seascapes by Mary Butler.”

These works are included at the entrance to the Museum’s rotating installation of its permanent collection, Creating An American Identity. The exhibit is organized by the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Penn.

The Springfield Art Museum’s permanent collection began in 1928 with 2 small seascapes by Philadelphia artist Mary Butler. This began a focus on American art from the 18th century to the present.

Visiting the museum is a great way to spend an afternoon. Admission is free. Take your time exploring each area where selections of permanent collections as well as special exhibits are displayed. Load up the kids and participate in the Family Art Lab with hands-on activities for everyone or have quiet time in the Book Nook. Stay as long as you like. Wander at your own pace. Sit and study your surroundings.