Five Months of Celebrating History and Nature at Historic Deerfield

New Family Programs Celebrate History and Nature

The history of berries as used for food, medicine, dyes and ink in Colonial America will be explored at the Historic Deerfield Museum in June 2010. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Have you ever wondered what life was like for families in Colonial America? How were clothes made? Where did foods come from? How did people survive without modern appliances? The 2010 summer family programs at Historic Deerfield will explore the lives of colonial families, and various aspects of their nature-based life.

The Earth’s soil is a major element sustaining the planet. The rich, fertile soil of Deerfield, MA has nourished crops for thousands of years, making it possible for Native Americans, English settlers, and modern farmers to thrive on the land. Weekends this May 2010, Historic Deerfield will help visitors investigate the diverse ingredients of soil and learn how it is formed in a new program titled “The Earth Beneath Our Feet.” Visitors will make their own soil mix and plant seeds in a small pot to take home.

In June 2010, the many uses of berries will be investigated in a new program called “Berry Season.” Used for food, medicine, and even for dyes and inks, berries were also a seasonal treat for early Americans. Visitors will explore the importance of berries to both Native Americans and English settlers in the 18th century, make berry ink, put together a refrigerator-jam kit to take home, and receive a berry recipe booklet.

In July and August 2010, visitors can continue their exploration of nature with “Colonial Colors: Fun with Paint and Dye,” an exploration of the rich and vibrant colors and hues found in everyday colonial New England life. This program will explore how fabric dyes were made from local plants, as well as imported dye stuffs. Visitors can learn how people colored their houses with paint ground from natural pigments and mixed it with natural materials such as linseed oil or even milk! Historic houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life will be open for visitors to see ways in which people made their interiors stand out with color. Visitors can also create their own colors using natural materials and methods, and make a project to take home.

Finally, the programs only get sweeter when “Honey Harvest” is offered on weekends in September 2010. Honey was an important ingredient used to sweeten foods and beverages in colonial America, and to brew a traditional drink called mead. Join museum educators in this fun family program to learn about bees and honey. Taste different kinds of honey, and make a beeswax candle to take home.

All family programs are included with general admission and are free to members. For more information, please call (413) 775-7214 or visit

One Comment on “Five Months of Celebrating History and Nature at Historic Deerfield

  1. Garden Day happens this Saturday at the Historic Deerfield Museum. Win a family 4-pack of tickets to Garden Days by guessing what medicinal plant early Americans would have used out of the museums historic Cook’s Garden to soothe a sore throat. Post your guess to the Hilltown Familes Facebook page and we’ll randomly choose from all who post a guess by noon on Thursday, 6/10.

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