The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) is the premiere attraction of North Adams and the entire Berkshires area. As one of the largest collections of modern, contemporary, visual, and performative art in the entire country, people from all over the world come to visit this extraordinary place. No trip to the Berkshires is complete without a tour of this museum. Here’s everything you need to know to have the best visit possible.
The short answer is, MASS MoCA is more than just a museum. It’s a center of community and culture for all of the Berkshire area. It has vast galleries for hosting large art collections, as well as indoor and outdoor venues for performances. This allows the space to host artists of all kinds and mediums. Music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, and other groundbreaking genres have all had their day in MASS MoCA. Its mission is to help artists make fresh, forward-looking pieces that the entire community—and even the world—can enjoy.
MASS MoCA’s history is complex and far-reaching, but here’s a short synopsis. Long before Westernization came to America, the land where MASS MoCA now sits was the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people. When European colonizers arrived, the land became a popular trade and industry landmark due to its location on the Hoosic River.
Soon buildings rose up, including the O. Arnold and Company printing works. The building produced textiles for many years until the Depression forced it to close. Bought out by an electric company, the new owners renovated the space. It became a lab for designing high-tech weapons in World War II.
When the war ended, town leaders of North Adams sought to creatively re-use the complex. In partnership with many others, they laid the foundation for what is now MASS MoCA.
Most of the performances and exhibits at MASS MoCA are temporary, so many artists get the chance to display their work. Artists like Lee Boroson and Barbara Takenaga have had exhibits at MASS MoCA. There are also music festivals and concerts hosted there, like the annual FreshGrass Festival. You can see what’s on display right now and what events are coming up on their events page.
The admissions price for MASS MoCA differs on age and member status. Members get in for free, adults are $20, seniors and veterans are $18, and children ages 6-16 are only $8. Students who bring a valid ID can enter for only $12.
We recommend reserving a timed ticket so you can skip the line and ensure tickets don’t sell out on the day you plan to visit. Hours are from 10am-5pm Wednesdays through Mondays. You can spend the whole day at the museum, but we suggest you take your time and move at your own pace as you observe the exhibits.
There is no official parking for MASS MoCA. But there is lots of parking a close walk away in the town of North Adams. Check out this parking map for some recommended parking spots. Or better yet, stay at the Porches Inn which is right across the street from MASS MoCA and walk over!
If MASS MoCA is the cultural center of North Adams, Porches Inn is the town’s heart. Within walking distance of the museum, downtown, and the best local eateries, our humble inn is waiting to welcome artistic pilgrims and Berkshire tourists like you. Come stay with us on your visit to North Adams to be the first at MASS MoCA when it opens!