Shuffleton’s Last Days in the Berkshires

To the editor: Ben Garver’s front-page photographs in The Eagle’s Berkshire Section in Saturday and Sunday’s edition brought immediate memories to this writer.

Garver’s photographs show Norman Rockwell’s painting “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” which I was tasked with framing nearly a half a century ago.

I was, at the time, head of the children’s department at Berkshire Museum. And, like other staff, I used skills as required beyond what our titles indicated; mine at the time was as a skilled picture framer. Norman Rockwell, a good friend of Berkshire Museum and its then-director, Stuart Henry, gifted the institution his 1950 painting “Shuffleton’s Barbershop.”

Mr. Henry asked me to frame the painting, which I did. And as I could not choose a stock molding that I liked, I went shopping at Dettinger Lumber Co. Inc., where I chose three molding styles. With Elmer’s glue and a dark walnut oil stain, I fabricated the unique frame that still adorns the painting soon to be part of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art’s collection in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park.

– Thom Smith, Pittsfield, MA


A grassroots citizens group established in 2017 with the intent of stopping the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s treasured art collection in order to find an alternate solution to its continued financial shortfall.


The mission of Save the Art is to advocate for and protect the Public Trust — the art and objects belonging to all of us that document humankind’s creative and social history through time.


We thank the Berkshire Eagle for their extensive investigative coverage, the journalists, op-ed writers and our community for their hundreds of letters of concern. In particular, STA applauds Larry Parnass, Investigations Editor, Berkshire Eagle, for his excellent coverage of the Berkshire Museum and achievement of the 2018 Outstanding Journalism award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association.