32 Community Highlights: Summer Kitchens to Cultural Chaos. Mona Lisa to James Joyce.
Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!
Featured learning highlight this week: Have you ever wondered what day-to-day life was like in New England in the 19th Century? What was it like to cook and clean, to go to school, or to make crafts? What kinds of medicine existed? Family members of all ages and with varied interests can learn about all these topics at Storrowton Village Museum‘s Opening Day on Saturday, June 14 in West Springfield. At this free event, visitors can tour historic buildings, learn from costumed interpreters, discover open hearth cooking and blacksmithing, experience a one-room schoolhouse, see demonstrations in chairmaking and broommaking, study historic artifacts, learn about historic plant uses, and more. By coming to Storrowton Village and immersing yourself in 19th-century New England life and culture, you can learn what it was truly like to be alive in the time period.
Geology ♦ Astronomy ♦ New England History ♦ Music History ♦ Aviation History ♦ Architecture ♦ Choreography ♦ Art History ♦ Parent Workshops ♦ Community Celebrations ♦ Automotive History ♦ STEM ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Community Service ♦ Literature
Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:
The Chesterfield Gorge has been formed and altered over millions of years, and continues to be formed today. A half-billion years ago, it emerged from the seabed, and over the many thousands of years following, it has been carved by glaciers and meltwater. Today, it is being altered by the Westfield River. You can learn about the Gorge’s fascinating geologic history at “Bikes and Quartzite,” which takes place on Saturday morning, June 14 and is held by the Wild and Scenic Westfield River Committee. Starting in West Chesterfield, this eight-mile round trip geology bike ride takes you along the East Branch of the Westfield River with geologist Richard Little, who will teach about the Gorge, how it was formed, how it continues to be shaped, and what types of rocks are present. Because this is a longer bike ride, it would be best for older teens and adults who enjoy biking and learning about geology.
Are you interested in learning more about the night sky? There are countless phenomena that occur in our universe that cannot be seen with the naked eye. You can witness and learn about some of these at the Milham Planetarium at Williams College every Tuesday and Thursday this summer (June 17-August 14) at 8pm. The planetarium is equipped with a high-tech planetarium projector that can display phenomena like the planets’ retrograde motions, the phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological creatures and zodiac signs of constellations, the Southern Hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more. These free planetarium shows are a great chance to learn about astronomy and see these interesting phenomena that you otherwise might not be able to witness! Reservations are recommended (413-597-2188). The planetarium is on Main Street in Williamstown, MA.
Have you ever wondered what day-to-day life was like in New England in the 19th Century? What was it like to cook and clean, to go to school, or to make crafts? What kinds of medicine existed? Family members of all ages and with varied interests can learn about all these topics at Storrowton Village Museum‘s Opening Day on Saturday, June 14 in West Springfield. At this free event, visitors can tour historic buildings, learn from costumed interpreters, discover open hearth cooking and blacksmithing, experience a one-room schoolhouse, see demonstrations in chairmaking and broommaking, study historic artifacts, learn about historic plant uses, and more. By coming to Storrowton Village and immersing yourself in 19th-century New England life and culture, you can learn what it was truly like to be alive in the time period.
Experience life in an early New England kitchen at Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooking demonstrations on Saturday, June 14! Learn about the role of herbs in traditional New England cooking. These cooking demonstrations allow visitors of all ages to see what life was like in the past and the types of chores and activities they would do had they lived several hundred years ago!
The Buckland Historical Society is holding an open house in the Summer Kitchen of the Major Joseph Griswold House on Saturday afternoon, June 14. A summer kitchen is a small outbuilding or shed that is usually built next to a house or sometimes attached to the main house. It is used as a kitchen in warm weather and is thought to have been first used in 1874. Come see the renovated kitchen and a model of the Mary Lyon Church, and learn about some interesting Hilltown history.
The piano was invented in Italy sometime around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori. Since the production of the original pianos, there have been several changes to the design and sound. Come learn about these changes, as well as the history of the piano, at the Meekins Library on Sunday afternoon, June 15 during music critic Marvin Ward’s talk, “An Auditory History of the Piano.” Ward will trace the piano’s history from the present day back to its invention, and will discuss how the instrument has changed over time. Older students interested in music studies and history will enjoy this informative free talk in Williamsburg.
Learn about historic music and art at Old Sturbridge Village’s Music and Art Weekend on Father’s Day! There will be performances of 19th-century popular music, antique instruments on display, a fife and drum performance, a silhouette demonstration, a performance by the Old Sturbridge Village Dancers, a talk on making guitars, and more. There is something for music, art, and history fans of all ages to enjoy this weekend at Old Sturbridge Village, plus, dads get in for free on Father’s Day! Check out a museum pass from your local library and take the family for free!
An event that is considered to be one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century occurred 77 years ago, when Amelia Earhart disappeared without a trace over the central Pacific Ocean while on her 1937 flight around the world. Earhart’s disappearance in her Lockheed Electra 10E captivated the nation and remains one of the most notable unsolved mysteries of the last 100 years. Ric Gillespie, a renowned aviation archaeologist, will present a talk titled, “The Search for Amelia Earhart,” on Sunday, June 15 at the New England Air Museum (NEAM) in Windsor Locks, CT. Gillespie has studied Earhart’s disappearance since the late 1980s and has gone on several research expeditions. He will be at NEAM to discuss her disappearance, the ongoing search to find her, and his research relating to the search. NEAM visitors of all ages can learn about this fascinating mystery and the historic aircraft flown by Earhart at this talk.
Tour the outside of Emily Dickinson’s Homestead and The Evergreens every Wednesday afternoon this summer in Amherst at the Emily Dickinson Museum. These tours teach not only about the poet, but also about historic New England architecture. Some of Dickinson’s house-related poems will also be read on the tours. Let an interest in architecture connect your family with an interest in literature and Pioneer Valley history, and vice versa!
As part of their photography film series, Amherst Cinema presents a screening of PINA (2011; rated PG), a documentary about the legendary dance choreographer Pina Bausch on Sunday evening, June 15. Directed by Wim Wenders, this film capture’s Bausch’s inventive dance and unique style. The film also acts as a tribute to Bausch, who passed away in 2009, several days before shooting was due to begin on the film. Older students interested in dance and documentary film would enjoy this screening.
Join Jacob’s Pillow Dance for a free PillowTalk every Friday and Saturday until August 23 in Becket. Hear choreographers, writers, filmmakers, and cultural experts give behind-the-scenes insight into the world of professional dance.
On Thursday evening, June 19, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is screening The Mona Lisa is Missing (2012), a documentary about the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 by Vincenzo Peruggia. Discover how Peruggia managed to steal this famous painting and keep it for 2 ½ years. This fun documentary tells of this intriguing, little-known theft of the world’s most famous painting. Older students interested in art history or documentaries would enjoy this film. Younger students interested in crime and mystery can use this screening as a way of connecting their interest to the world of fine art and history!
Robert Zucker, author of The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief is Shared, will be at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Tuesday evening, June 17 to discuss his book. The book delves into the challenges that come along with dual grieving and how parents can support their grieving children while managing their own grief.
Gateway Family Center is hosting a workshop for parents by Scott Noyes of Empowering Programs, titled “Positive Discipline.” On Thursday morning, June 18, come learn about positive discipline strategies at this free workshop in Huntington.
Come to the Meekins Library in Williamsburg for a free talk titled, “Elementary Robotics: Sustaining the Natural Engineering Instincts of Children,” with John Heffernan, teacher at the James and Dunphy Schools, and former contributing writer for Hilltown Families. On Thursday evening, June 19, Heffernan will discuss how to support children’s engineering instincts. Most young children enjoy building and engineering, but these activities are absent from most classrooms. Heffernan will talk about the ways engineering and robotics can be taught in schools in order to keep kids interested in the topics.
Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day at Springside Park in Pittsfield on Saturday, June 14, with tons of activities for the whole family. There will be live music, games, relay races, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, face painting, nature walks, a dog walk, gardening workshops, sports, yoga, zumba, food, and more. Get Outdoors Day is meant to encourage healthy, outdoor fun for all ages.
The Cottage Street Cultural District and Easthampton City Arts+ present Cultural Chaos, a street festival with a twist, featuring tons of great live music, a makers market, open studios, food, hands-on activities, and a variety of performances and other events. This day-long street festival takes place on Saturday, June 14 and is a great chance to celebrate Easthampton and see all the town has to offer. Monthly Art Walk takes place in the evening.
Upstreet Pittsfield’s family friendly street festival, 3rd.Thursdays, happens every third Thursday until October! The theme for this Thursday, June 19, is “Healthy Pittsfield.” Come celebrate and explore Pittsfield while participating in fun activities, watching performances, and eating great food.
The Annual Taste of Amherst festival runs from June 19-June 22 on the Amherst Common. Come try some of the Valley’s best food from restaurants, stores, stands, and more, and enjoy live entertainment, kids’ activities, games, and the “Chowdown Challenge.” Taste of Amherst is a fun chance to explore the many delicious foods available in town while supporting local businesses and spending time with community members.
Thursday evening, June 19, is Third Thursday in Turners Falls! This month’s theme is “Knights, Camera, Action!” and there will be medieval demonstrations by Mutton and Mead, an illustrated talk on the eagles of Barton Cove with William Dean, a performance by electropop duo Home Body, a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and much more! There is something for all ages at this fun event, which highlights some of the awesome things Turners Falls has to offer.
A the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, families can spend Saturday afternoon, June 14 enjoying live music and antique automobiles at the Sock Hop and Classic Car Rally. This ’50s-inspired event features live music by The Malibu Brothers, a talk by artist Murray Tinkelman, dancing, and more. Make connections between music and transportation from the 1950’s and share with your kids a slice of American music & transportation history.
Families can kick off summer at the Wistariahurst Museum’s Classic Cars and Classic Music event on Friday evening, June 20 in Holyoke. This free event, held in collaboration with Holyoke Parks and Recreation, is a night of free, live entertainment for the whole family. Bring your own chairs and blankets and enjoy classic music and classic cars on the Wistariahurst grounds. Seeing antique cars can teach kids about automotive history and how cars have evolved over time.
Learn about science, technology, engineering, and math at the Sunderland Public Library with educator Ruthie Ireland at a free CFCE STEM Workshop on Saturday morning, June 14. This event is for kids 8 and under and their parents and will engage kids with STEM.
The Community Network for Children is offering a free Preschool STEM Exploration at the Leverett Library on Sunday morning, June 15. Parents and their children (ages 3-5) can experiment with science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun hands-on way, and parents can learn more about how to promote STEM learning at home.
Cushman Library in Bernardston is offering a free preschool storyhour with the theme of “Counting on Food” on Monday morning, June 16. There will be stories, STEM activities, and a snack, and participants can take home a STEM kit to continue learning about science, technology, engineering, and math at home.
Kids ages 8 and up can help the Hatfield Public Library get ready for summer reading by helping to build the library rocketship on Tuesday afternoon, June 17! Stop by the library and use your creativity and engineering skills to help build the rocket.
Kids ages 2.5 to 5 years can do some STEM learning at Sheep Hill Nature Center on Thursday morning, June 19 in Williamstown. “Natural Science: Explore Bubbles and Water at the Pond” gives young kids a free chance to learn about the natural world and do some hands-on exploration. Each child will get a STEM packet to take home for further learning!
Volunteers are needed to help out at Get Outdoors at Springside Park in Pittsfield on Saturday, June 14, a community celebration that runs from 10am-5pm. Help is needed manning tables, activities, coordinating parking, setting up, and taking down. Teens and adults are invited to help out!
As part of Bee Week Greenfield, families can help plant flowers around town! On June 14 and 15, community members can plant flowers in certain areas of Greenfield.
Kids ages 8 and up can help the East Longmeadow Public Library decorate the Children’s Room for summer on Tuesday afternoon, June 17! Wear clothes that can dirty and have fun with friends and community members painting window panels.
On Monday evening, June 16, Amherst Cinema presents a screening of In Bed With Ulysses (2012; not rated) in honor of Bloomsday, the annual celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which took place on June 16, 1904. The film tells the story and challenges of Joyce’s process of writing Ulysses. The book is seen as one of the most important works of modern fiction, and this film focuses on its creation, the toll it took on Joyce and his family, the shockwaves it caused around the world, and its impact. Older teens and adults who are interested in literature would enjoy this documentary.
Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Charlemont/Hawley, Chesterfield, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Montague, Montgomery, South Hadley and Shutesbury Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.