We are experiencing construction Saturday and Sunday (December 10th and 11th) that will affect our accessible parking lot. Please call ahead to inquire about access. We will remain OPEN 10AM-5PM, front lot is available for parking.

Museum History

A Brief History

Fuller Craft Museum was made possible through the generosity of the late Myron Leslie Fuller. Born in Brockton in 1873, Fuller was internationally recognized as a geologist and hydrologist, and was a leading contributor in his field. Fuller set aside a trust to establish an educational center in memory of his family. His only stipulation was that “it shall be of the greatest possible benefit to the members of the community.” The gift was an appropriate gesture from a man committed to exploring the world around him, as a museum would provide similar opportunities for personal growth to the residents of his native city.

The Brockton Art Center-Fuller Memorial opened in January 1969, nestled on the edge of D.W. Field Park’s woodland and pond in Brockton, Massachusetts. Myron Fuller’s connection to the city of Brockton is a fundamental part of the museum’s location and it benefits from the richness of the community it belongs to and serves.

Today, the city is the sixth-largest in the state and one of the most racially and ethnically diverse. Over 30% of Brockton’s population was born outside the United States and the city is home to significant communities from around the world, the most prevalent being Cape Verde, Haiti, Brazil, and Ecuador. 24% of students in the public school system are in ESOL tracks and represent 47 different countries of origin. The museum is fortunate to be one part of the wealth of culture in this proud and vibrant city.

At its opening, the Brockton Art Center-Fuller Memorial strove to conserve, preserve, study, interpret, organize, exhibit, and perform works of art for the public benefit. On its twentieth anniversary, the Museum’s name was formally changed to the Fuller Museum of Art. The Fuller Museum of Art emerged as the largest visual arts institution and resource for arts education in southeastern Massachusetts.

In 2004, Fuller Craft Museum leadership unanimously voted to change the mission of the institution and commit to the field of contemporary craft. Contemporary craft includes one-of-a-kind works of art in a variety of media—such as glass, metal, wood, ceramics, and fiber—with a basis in both form and function. The decision has established the museum as a distinct institution within a clearly defined craft focus. Fuller Craft Museum is now the premiere destination for contemporary craft in all of New England, and one of a select few craft museums in the United States.

Today, Fuller Craft Museum showcases master craftspeople as well as emerging contemporary artists who use craft materials in new ways; makers who work primarily with their hands in materials that are tactile and familiar have stretched the boundaries of these functional everyday objects into the conceptual, the personal, the virtuosic, and the wildly imaginative realms. The museum collaborates with craft institutions, recognized craft artists, galleries, community associations, guilds, and patrons to heighten public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the field. We strive to keep this work accessible, to put people in touch with the minds and methods of the makers, and the values embodied by craft.

The Architecture

Throughout Fuller Craft Museum’s history, the seamless integration of architecture and nature at 455 Oak Street has been the perfect environment to house the aspirations of the institution. Whether presenting integral New England paintings in the early 1970s or fulfilling its current mission of showcasing works in craft-based media, Fuller Craft Museum continues to reap the benefits of its intimate, peaceful retreat tucked away in 19 acres of woods next to Upper Porter Pond.

When Edouard Du Buron was named the first Director of the Brockton Art Museum-Fuller Memorial in 1965, he sought young architects to construct a museum that would serve as a destination unto itself. Du Buron selected J. Timothy Anderson & Associates of Boston (now Finegold Alexander + Associates Inc.). They were heavily inspired by Denmark’s modernist masterpiece, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The Louisiana Museum’s rural-cultural philosophy allows its visitors to traverse the oceanfront grounds via a “covered stroll” through the museum’s three interconnected structures.

Fuller Craft Museum’s lead architect and project manager, Doris Cole, explained how Anderson’s design reflects this model, “The Louisiana is a beautiful museum, essentially a series of pavilions with links between them. That is how we designed [the] museum.” Construction began on the two-level, 20,000 sq. ft. building on November 20, 1967.

Opening to the public in 1969, the finished structure is a fine example of the “organic modernism” movement, found in its many nods to modernist ideals of design. The architects embraced the mantra, “form follows function,” visible in the clean, quintessentially modernist aesthetic offered by the lack of ornamentation and the abundance of straight lines and 90° angles.

Fuller Craft Museum also emulates the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which emphasizes harmony between the natural world and human habitation. As described by Cole, “The idea was really to make an art museum that used nature as art. That’s why as one goes through the galleries and through the links, one has views out to the site, to the forest, the woods, to the pond.” In a unique, regional interpretation of organic modernism, the sloped and shingled roof forms are drawn from 19th century New England vernacular architecture.

At Fuller Craft Museum, a diversity of spaces caters to our audiences and offers a variety of opportunities for the display of exhibitions. The museum’s outdoor grounds and vistas provide a sense of peace, while the abundance of natural light that finds its way through the galleries further reinforces humanity’s place in the larger environment. As the Museum goes forward in its mission, it is a privilege to have a structure that is at the same time a testament to the modernist design ethos of the 20th century and an exciting setting for the future.

 

Related Information:
Seeds of Development: An Architectural Account of the Early Fuller Craft Museum” by former Associate Curator Michael McMillan.
Fuller Craft’s Museum Architecture

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