30 Community Highlights: Munch to Thoreau. Scottish to Yiddish.

Opportunities to supplement insect studies this weekend include dragonflies and damselflies in Easthampton, Bug Safari in Housatonic, Science in the Parks in Pittsfield, and a search for aquatic insects (like this one pictured here)in Plainfield.

Munch to Thoreau. Motorcycles to Metalworking. Turbines to Firefighting. Scottish to Yiddish… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week explores the ecosystem of streams, home to a wide variety of often overlooked creatures. By wading in and flipping rocks, netting fish and sorting through leaf packs, discoveries of remarkable critter can be found which can lead to a better understanding our waterways and habitats. The Franklin Land Trust will be hosting an free opportunity for families to explore these stream ecosystems at the Guyette Farm in Plainfield on Saturday morning, July 20th. Josh Morse will lead an exploration of woodland streams and the different aquatic insects that live in these habitats. Families with kids ages 6-12yo will learn how to interpret the health of our streams by the presence of these benthic invertebrates.

Art HistoryCulinary ArtsIndustryHistoryShakespeareHikesNature StudiesSTEMGeology & PaleontologyCultural StudiesEntomologyLawn Concerts


The Call of the Once-Wild: Winslow Homer and the Adirondacks 1870-1910” is the first free talk in a three-part lecture series at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown happening on Sunday afternoon, July 21st. The lectures focus on Homer and the different places that were important to him as an artist. Homer used the Adirondacks as a setting for many of his works, several of which are on display at The Clark. The lecture, by David Tatham, will discuss these paintings and others to help visitors understand Homer’s connection with the Adirondack region. Best for older students and adults interested in art studies.

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch was born 150 years ago, and to celebrate, the National Museum and the Munch Museum, both in Oslo, have created Munch 150, an onscreen tour of Munch’s work. Munch 150 takes the viewer behind the scenes of the exhibition to see how it was put together. The filming of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit allows viewers to see Munch’s most famous works up close on the big screen. The Amherst Cinema will be screening this film on Monday evening, July 22nd.


Ever wonder how early New England settlers stored summer produce and kept cool during these hot hot summer months? “Hot Weather, Cold Hearth” is the theme for July’s open hearth cooking demonstrations at Historic Deerfield. The open hearth cooks will demonstrate how to make cool summer beverages and teach about summer gardens and the best ways to preserve the garden’s bounties on Saturday, July 20th. Learning how food was prepared and preserved in the Colonial era is a fascinating lens for learning about local history!

The Friends of Egremont History invite the public to the Egremont 1865 Basket Picnic on the lawn at the Egremont Village Inn on Sunday afternoon, July 21st. Celebrating the end of the Civil War, re-enactors in costume will march, drill and tell stories. Families are invited to free BYO picnic basket and blanket and compete like the women of the late 1800′s who packed and presented amazing picnic baskets to sometime be auctioned off. Try an authentic 1865 picnic recipe and prepare Rochester Pickle (pickled green tomatoes), celery salad, fried chicken, or one of three different pies & cakes, including Scotch Pie, Ribbon Cake or Washington Cake for your picnic basket. Carrying on this tradition, bring a basket for competition, or just one to enjoy with your family on the lawn with live music, surrounded by history. After your picnic (or on a different day) take a walking tour of North or South Egremont and discover local gems in this small Berkshire County town.


Celebrate Springfield history and industry at the Springfield Museums’ Indian Motorcycle Day on Sunday, July 21st. Indian Motorcycles were manufactured in Springfield from 1901 to 1953, and the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History has a collection of vintage Indian bikes. See the classic motorcycles, browse vendor displays, hear a DJ play classic rock tunes, and see a motorcycle best of competition. This is a fun way to learn about Springfield history while seeing beautiful vintage motorcycles.

Learn about the history of the machining and metalworking industry in the Pioneer Valley and how it has changed through time at the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History at the Springfield Museums on Sunday afternoon, too. From early foundries and gunsmiths to current manufacturing businesses, this mini-tour will cover many of the transformations the industry has gone through.

Did you know that many of the buildings in Turners Falls were built using local bricks made from clay found along the banks of the Connecticut River? Learn all about the interesting industrial and architectural history of Turners Falls with the Great Falls Discovery Center on Friday evening, July 26th. Free.


It’s Fire and Ice Day at Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, July 20th! Families can discover the history of firefighting with demonstrations of 19th-century hand-pimp fire engines and a fire truck parade. Kids can also cool down with an 18th-century ice cream-making demonstration. Get the kids excited about firefighting by listing to the HFVS Firefighter Episode before heading over!

Would you like to learn more about the Underground Railroad (UGRR) in western Massachusetts? Join the David Ruggles Center for a walking tour of the UGRR, beginning in Florence by the Sojourner Truth statue on Saturday morning. Western Massachusetts played an important role in the UGRR, as several routes came together in Northampton. Visit several sites around Florence on this walking tour and learn about the local history of the UGRR. Listen to the HFVS Underground Railroad Episode for songs and history as it pertains to the UGRR before attending.

Dive into the past of our Hilltowns at the Norwich Bridge Schoolhouse Museum free open house in Huntington on Sunday afternoon, July 21st! Built around 1800, the schoolhouse can help visitors learn about how schools have changed over the past 200 years and what life was like for children living in rural America in the past. You can also explore the many artifacts housed at the museum.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) existed from 1933 to 1942 as a conservation- and environment-based work relief program for young men. The CCC was responsible for upgrading and maintaining many state parks, including western Massachusetts’ Mt. Greylock State Reservation. There will be a free illustrated lecture on the role of the CCC on Mt. Greylock and the building of Bascom Lodge on Wednesday evening, July 24th in Lanesborough. Older students can learn about the history of this state park in the Berkshires and how conservation efforts from the past benefit us today.

Presented by University of Maryland English professor Vincent Carretta, her free talk on Thursday evening, July 25th, “Re-introducing Phillis Wheatley: A Genius in Bondage,” follows the life of the first published African-American woman and the first published African-American poet. Wheatley lived as a slave in Boston, where she was encouraged to pursue reading and writing. Her poetry garnered much attention and she is an important historical figure whose writings have been studied ever since their first publication. This talk is part of Historic Deerfield’s summer lecture series and takes place at Deerfield Academy’s Garonzik Auditorium. Older students and get a glimpse into the fascinating life and historical contributions of Phillis Wheatley


Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed by Shakespeare & Company on the outdoor Dell Stage at The Mount in Lenox through August 17th. There will be a show on Saturday afternoon, July 20th. Bring blankets and chairs and enjoy this timeless romantic comedy with your family.

Kids not interested in Shakespeare? The Spectrum Playhouse in Lee hosts I Hate Shakespeare! Older kids will learn to love Shakespeare after seeing this performance by the students from CIP on Saturday afternoon or evening. With zombies, talking cows, and an appearance by Jerry Springer, I Hate Shakespeare! is a hilarious and fast-paced introduction to Shakespeare — with a modern twist.


In July of 1844, Henry David Thoreau walked from Concord, MA to Mt. Greylock. Retrace Thoreau’s ascent up Mt. Greylock on a guided hike that will let you experience all the natural beauty the mountain has to offer while learning about Thoreau and his experiences hiking to the highest point in Massachusetts. This free event is appropriate for teens and adults and happens on Saturday morning, July 20th in North Adams.

Learn all about Wahconah Falls in Dalton, including talc mines, glacial erratics, waterfalls, and more, with Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center’s Aimee Gelinas. This state park has an interesting history that you can experience and learn about on a free hike on Sunday morning, July 21st.

Join staff at the Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke on Sunday and Monday morning for a free birding hike around the lake for beginning and intermediate birders. Practice your birding skills and learn about new species while hiking around the Reservation.


Explore nature using the five senses at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday morning, July 20th! See, hear, touch, taste, and smell what Laughing Brook in Hampden has to offer and learn how to safely utilize all five senses in nature. For ages 4 and up.

Streams are home to a wide variety of often overlooked creatures. By wading in and flipping rocks, netting fish and sorting through leaf packs, discoveries of remarkable critter can be found which can lead to a better understanding our waterways and habitats. The Franklin Land Trust will be hosting an free opportunity for families to explore these stream ecosystems at the Guyette Farm in Plainfield on Saturday morning, July 20th. Josh Morse will lead an exploration of woodland streams and the different aquatic insects that live in these habitats. Families with kids ages 6-12yo will learn how to interpret the health of our streams by the presence of these benthic invertebrates.

Join Mass Wildlife and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center aboard the Quinnetukut Riverboat for a scenic and educational cruise along the Connecticut River on Saturday late morning, early afternoon in Northfield. Learn about rare and important species that live in and around the River, how the River is important to migratory birds and fish, the Bald Eagle Restoration Project, and more. The Connecticut River is an incredible learning resource and this is a great opportunity to get out on the River and ask any questions you may have. Best for ages 8 and up.

Both beginning and expert paddlers will enjoy a sunset/moonrise paddle at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center on Sunday evening, July 21st. Explore Barton Cove in Northfield while learning about local wildlife, moon lore, and stories about the river from the past. Free if you bring your own kayak. Rentals available

STEM: Water & Wind Turbines

Learn all about water turbines and the process of turning water into electricity at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center with Rachel Roberts on Saturday morning, July 20th. Kids 8 and up can engage in science, technology, and engineering as they learn about simple machines through hands-on science activities and observation of Northfield Mountain’s water turbine at this free event.

The Berkshire East Wind Turbine Festival is on Saturday, July 27 in Charlemont. Families can tour Berkshire East’s wind turbine and take a chairlift ride to the top – 277 feet up! Learn about the construction and functions of the turbine while getting a close-up look at it. Admission to the festival is free, but tickets are required. Registration deadline is Monday, July 22nd.


Kestrel Land Trust and the Trustees of Reservations are co-hosting a geology exploration of Little Tom Mountain and the Dinosaur Footprints in Holyoke on Saturday morning, July 20th. The walk will be led by geologist Richard Little, who will teach about the fascinating geological history of the Connecticut River Valley and the glacial events that made it how it is today. If families want to further explore the geohistory of western Massachusetts, the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College has several displays featuring the zones of geological history of the region, including the Valley and the mountains in the Berkshires (open late on Thursdays!).

Join staff at the Mt. Tom State Reservation in Holyoke again on Friday morning, July 26th to learn about the Connecticut River Valley’s famous dinosaurs. Hear about the presence of dinosaurs in the Valley and how to observe signs of them at this free event.


The 20th annual Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival is taking place at Look Park in Florence on Saturday, July 20th. There will be live music, animals, games, historical reenactments, demonstrations, activities, and more! The festival is a fun way for families to celebrate and learn about Scottish history and culture while enjoying all the festival has to offer.

Celebrate modern Yiddish and klezmer music at Yidstock 2013: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, taking place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. The festival runs from Thursday, July 18th-Sunday, July 21st. Many different musical groups will perform and there will also be relevant and interesting lectures. The Wholesale Klezmer band performs a family concert and 12noon on Sunday, July 21st and kids 12 and under can come for free!


Discover insects in the order Odonata, specifically dragonflies and damselflies, at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Saturday morning, July 20th. Learn how to distinguish between the two by knowing their field marks. This is an introductory course, so it is appropriate for older students and adults with all levels of experience.

Other opportunities to supplement insect studies on Saturday include a Bug Safari in Housatonic, Science in the Parks in Pittsfield, and a search for aquatic insects in Plainfield.


Here’s a list of evening lawn concerts happening all around the region. Summer lawn concerts are a great way to spend time together with your family while enjoying a picnic dinner!

  1. Monday, July 22nd: Hoxie Memorial Gazebo with Old Country Road. Whately, MA.
  2. Monday, July 22nd: Monday Night Concerts at the Tilton Library with The Other Brothers. South Deerfield, MA.
  3. Tuesday, July 23rd: The Clark Art Institute is hosts Incendio on their South Lawn. Williamstown, MA.
  4. Tuesday, July 23rd: Musical Moments at Amelia’s Garden, the Amelia Park Ice Arena summer concert series, presents the Slick Pickers Band. Westfield, MA.
  5. Wednesday, July 24th: Live music at Burbank Park on Onota Lake. Pittsfield, MA.
  6. Wednesday, July 24th: Wednesday Folk Traditions at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum presents Amandla. Hadley, MA.
  7. Wednesday, July 24th: Windsor Lake summer concert series. North Adams, MA.
  8. Thursday, July 25th: Florence Civic Center series with the Heritage Pops Orchestra. Florence, MA
  9. Thursday, July 25th: Coop Concerts Summer Concert Series at Greenfield Energy Park with Orlen & Gabriel, Russ Thomas, and Small Change. Greenfield, MA.
  10. Thursday, July 25th: Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Center’s summer concert series at Fountain Park presents The Chris Piquette Band. Wilbraham, MA.
  11. Thursday, July 25th: Concert at Noel Park behind the Steeplecats field. North Adams, MA.
  12. Thursday, July 25th: Concerts in Williamsburg’s Angel Park with Robin O’Herin, Andy Cohen & Andy Taylor this week. Williamsburg, MA.
  13. Thursday, July 25th: Huntington’s summer concert series. Huntington, MA.
  14. Friday, July 26th: Collective Music Summer Concert Series at Pulaski Park with Darlingside + Roosevelt Dime. Northampton, MA
  15. Friday, July 26th: Arts in the Park Summer Concert Series happens at Millside Park. Easthampton, MA

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 150 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

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