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Springfield Museums Announce Lecture, Tour Schedule for December

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums’ monthly tour and lecture schedule continues in December with the popular Museums à la Carte lectures, which take place each Thursday at 12:15 p.m. in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

Admission is $4 ($2 for members of the Springfield Museums); visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch (cookies and coffee are provided). For more information about Museums à la Carte, call (413) 263-6800, ext. 488. This month’s lectures include:

• Dec. 3: “Secrets of Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks Revealed.” Andrew Linnell, author and lecturer from the University of Michigan, unlocks the riddles of da Vinci’s two mysterious paintings of the Virgin Mary.

• Dec. 10: “Cabinets of Curiosity: Historical and Contemporary Interpretations.” Heather Haskell, director of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, provides historical context for the current exhibit at the George Walter.

• Dec. 17: “The Star of Bethlehem: Investigating an Ancient Mystery.” Richard Sanderson, curator of Physical Science, Springfield Science Museum, and Jack Megas, planetarium educator, Springfield Science Museum, explore one of history’s most enduring mysteries.

No à la Carte lectures will be held on Dec. 24 or Dec. 31.

As part of the Museums’ members-only Continuing Conversations series, museum docents Deena Maniscalchi and Pat McCarthy will also lead a guided gallery discussion at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum following the Dec. 10 lecture.

On Friday, Dec. 4, the Springfield Science Museum’s large rooftop telescope will be open for public skygazing at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Stars Over Springfield observatory series. These programs are organized by the museum and the Springfield Stars Club, and take place on the first Friday of each month. Each event features an introductory talk on topics such as space exploration, seasonal sights of the night sky, current astronomical research, or upcoming events like eclipses or comet appearances. This month’s featured speaker will be Alan Rifkin, Springfield Stars Club president, whose talk is titled, “Astronomy Gifts: All I Want for Christmas or Chanukah Is…”

Stars Over Springfield programs are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older; however, younger children are also welcome. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 17 and under. These programs are held rain or shine. If it is cloudy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing. For information about astronomy programs at the museum, call (413) 263-6800, ext. 318.

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