Art Complex Museum

About the ACM

Art Complex Museum

The Art Complex Museum will celebrate its 45th anniversary year throughout 2016

This year, The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury is celebrating its forty-fifth anniversary of bringing cultural exhibitions and programs to the region, mostly free of charge. It was in 1968 that Co-founders Edith and Carl Weyerhaeuser made the decision to build a museum in order to share their collections. Several sites were considered including Braintree’s Thayer Academy and New Seabury in Mashpee. The Weyerhaeusers eventually chose Duxbury where they had spent many summers and construction began on thirteen acres which are a part of the Judah Alden homestead.

Current Museum Director Charles Weyerhaeuser shared his father’s enthusiasm for building a “monument to wood” (the family is directly descendent from the founder of the Weyerhaeuser Lumber Company). The contemporary structure with its roof designed to resemble the waves of the ocean nearby has become a haven for visitors with an appreciation for fine art, music, tea ceremony presentations and other programs offered there through the years. Artist and Professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ture Bengtz, was chosen to be the first director. Many of his ideas were incorporated into plans for the building which was designed by Architect, Richard Owen Abbott. Bengts’s idea of showing work by contemporary artists as well as work from the permanent collections is still followed.

One of the earliest tasks, and a daunting one at tha,t was cataloging and photographing every item in the collection. During the celebrations for the museum’s twentieth anniversary, the Rotations gallery was unveiled devoted specifically to the permanent collection and its four major areas – Shaker objects, Works on Paper, American paintings and Asian art. Inspiration for this came with the Weyerhaeusers’ practice of rotating their collection in their home using their children as a built-in moving crew.

Music has always been an important aspect of the museum programming. Sunday concerts continue to draw an audience from all over the South Shore. And, the puppet show given as part of the Duxbury Business Association’s Holly Days has become a town-wide tradition.

In addition to this long-time collaboration with the DBA, the museum has hosted the Duxbury Art Association’s Annual Winter Juried Show at the museum since 1974. Blooms at the Complex, in which members of the Community Garden Club interpret work from this exhibit, is always a popular event.

Because of the importance of the Japanese tea ceremony to Mrs. Weyerhaeuser who saw it as a way to understand that country’s culture, summer demonstrations continue to be offered in the museum’s tea hut, Shofuan (Wind in the Pines). Every third grader in Duxbury is introduced to the tea ceremony and scroll-making as part of their curriculum. Children have always been encouraged to visit and many hands- on activities help to make their experience a memorable one.

Museum staff has been planning special celebrations to mark this important forty-fifth anniversary. Ongoing renovations are planned for The Japanese Tea Garden ; artists’ demos will be offered throughout the year and, soon to be released, is a comprehensive film showcasing highlights of the museum’s achievements and contributions.


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The Art Complex Museum / 189 Alden Street / Box 2814 / Duxbury, MA 02331