June 21, 2011 by Amy Elliott Bragg
Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum – Saginaw, MI
Summer day trip? Well, if you insist.
I recruited John, my constant pal and expert adventure-taker, for an afternoon in Saginaw.
Inspired by a recent foray into the work of Marshall Fredericks, we went to the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum. That was pretty much it, but it was enough. You’re not supposed to take pictures inside of the museum, but how could we resist a surreptitious snapshot of Marshall Fredericks’ shoes???
The main exhibition gallery showcases Fredericks’ larger-than-life plaster casts and reliefs. You’ll recognize some of them: the Spirit of course, and the Henry Ford tableau from the Henry Ford Centennial Library, maybe even the victory eagle from the Veterans’ Memorial Building if you’re sharp. And I thought the soaring swans on the back wall looked familiar: they’re from the Milwaukee Public Museum. (Images of the main gallery available at the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum Flickr page.)
The Sculptor’s Studio smells pleasantly of clay and holds hundreds of objects from Marshall Fredericks’ home studio in Royal Oak: assorted models and casts, dozens of tools, his shoes (see above!) and Fredericks’ last completed figurative statue (of Lord Byron), completed just days before his death in 1998. The Studio explains how massive bronze sculptures are made, which is close to magic. Fredericks even says so in a highly charming video you can watch about the process. (You can also read about it in this nifty PDF.)
Outside there is a sculpture garden where you can snapshot to your heart’s content.
Seriously, go ahead!
Gnarly animals, like these toothy fish and a hungry otter,
Fredericks loved them all.
The Museum is on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University and open Monday – Saturday, 12 pm – 5 pm. Admission is free. It took us just shy of two hours to drive up from Detroit. We had this friendly guiding dove on our windshield and we enjoyed the chance to just talk, take in the scenery, and listen to Springsteen.
Recommended! With more summer day trips to come!