Learning Ahead: Oct 20-24, 2014

learning ahead

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all year long!

This week we are featuring 15 events that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.

Berkshire County

Thursday, October 23, 5:30pm & Friday, October 24, 7pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Ghosts & Legends of Upstreet Pittsfield. Based on the longtime local folklore project These Mysterious Hills, this colorful downtown walking tour will explore a lesser known, mysterious, and somewhat darker side of Pittsfield’s historic and cultural center. Beginning in front of the Pittsfield Common, an early city graveyard, this approximately 1.5 hour walk will delve into ghost stories, legends, lore, and strange-but-true tales attached to many Upstreet locations, including several of the city’s premiere cultural venues. Rated PG-13, may not be suitable for children under age 12. 28 Renne Ave. Pittsfield, MA (>$)

Thursday, October 23, 7pm – FILM STUDIES/LOCAL HISTORY: Ventfort Hall presents “Ventfort Films: A Berkshire Connection,” a series focusing on films that are in some way connected to the Berkshires. This week, come see Before and After (1996; rated PG-13), which was filmed in the Berkshires and is set in western Massachusetts. This screening may appeal to older teens interested in film and local history. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION $)

Friday, October 24, 5:45pm & 7pm – LOCAL HISTORY: You may know about Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, but did you know that it’s considered to be haunted? Come see for yourself on one of The Mount’s ghost tours. The tour will take you through the stables and the main house, where you will learn about and even witness the property’s haunted creaks and footsteps. Not recommended for children under 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 413-551-5100. 2 Plunkett Street. Lenox, MA. $$

Franklin County

Tuesday, October 21, 6:30pm – ARCHAEOLOGY: In order to celebrate their 20th anniversary, the Deerfield River Watershed Association is offering a free talk on the archaeology of the Deerfield River Valley over the past 10,000 years. New England archaeologist and chair of the UMass Amherst Anthropology Department, Elizabeth Chilton, will present archaeological evidence from pre-Colonial and Colonial times. Some questions she will address include: How were lands managed for food production? What role did the river play in cultural and economic life? The talk takes place at Four Rivers Charter School. 248 Colrain Road. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 24, 7:30pm-11pm – MUSIC STUDIES/CULTURAL STUDIES: Join Montague Common Hall for a Scottish concert with musicians Alan Reid and Rob Van Sante. They will perform Scottish music, as well as a song with the Leverett Community Chorus. This concert is great for community members who enjoy Scottish music or interested in music/cultural studies! Call to reserve tickets. 413-548-9860. 34 Main Street. Montague, MA. $$

Hampshire County

Monday, October 20, 7pm – PARAPSYCHOLOGY: Join the Pelham Historical Society for Ghostology 101 with Agawam Paranormal. Learn about the differences between ghosts and spirits, the history of paranormal investigation, and more. Older students who want to learn more about the occult and parapsychology! Takes place in the Pelham Library. 413-253-1601. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA.

Tuesday, October 21, 7pm – FILM STUDIES: Amherst Cinema is screening Laura (1944; not rated), a film noir detective movie directed by Otto Preminger. Teens interested in film studies and the genre of film noir can make connects to their interests at this screenin. Tickets available in advance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. $

Wednesday, October 22, 7pm – MUSIC STUDIES: Amherst Cinema is screening Stop Making Sense (1984; rated PG), a concert movie of Talking Heads, filmed over three nights in December 1983. This screening is a great chance for Talking Heads fans to see the group perform at their peak on the big screen. Teens interested in music studies can make historic connections through music. Tickets available in advance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. $

Wednesday, October 22, 7pm-9pm – FOOD SECURITY: The Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst presents a screening of A Place at the Table (2012; rated PG) in an effort to acknowledge food security issues in the community and across the country. An apple dish will be provided, but please bring food donations. Teens can learn about food security and issues surrounding hunger in the country and how it plays out locally at this screening. 413-253-2848. 121 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

Thursday, October 23, 7pm – WOMEN’S STUDIES/PEACE ACTIVISM: The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives at Mt. Holyoke College presents a lecture entitled “Women’s Leadership: Ending Wars and Building Peace” with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee. Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, social worker, public speaker, and women’s rights advocate who has founded multiple organizations and initiatives that promote peace in Liberia and globally. Older students interested in peace, global studies, and women’s studies can learn from Gbowee’s lecture. Takes place in Gamble Auditorium. 413-538-2000. Lower Lake Road. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 24, 12:15pm – FOOD HISTORY: Rob Cox will speak during the Amherst Historical Society & Museum’s History Bites Lunchtime Lecture Series. Students interested in history through food will enjoy, “Cranberry Culture: A Short History of a Tart Fruit.” Cox will present the history of cranberries in New England, from taming the wild fruit through the growth of an industry to the labor and environmental struggles of the 20th century. Lecture is open to all. Homeschool teens, self-directed & life-long learners welcomed. 67 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Friday, October 24, 5:30pm-7pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Help the Hitchcock Center get ready for their Enchanted Forest event, which takes place October 24 and 25, by helping to carve pumpkins. This is a fun family-oriented community service event! Teens wanted! 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Hampden County

Monday, October 20, 6pm – LOCAL HISTORY/TEXTILES: Learn about the textile industry and local history at the Wistariahurst Museum’s “Threads that Bind” lecture series. This week, Betsy McKee will present “Textiles in the Connecticut River Valley: Weaving Stories.” Learn how New Englanders of the past created their everyday textiles and see examples of textile tools. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. $

Tuesday, October 21, 3pm – MANGA: Teenaged comic fans can attend a Manga Workshop with Andy and Veronica Fish at the East Longmeadow Public Library. Here you can learn about comics, drawing characters, and storytelling. Call to register. 413-525-5400 x1511. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 24, 6:30pm-8pm – LOCAL HISTORY: The Longmeadow Historical Society is hosting “Ghosts in the Graveyard,” a cemetery tour with a focus on Longmeadow’s history. Bring a flashlight and learn about local history as you tour the Longmeadow Cemetery while members of the LHS share stories of historical figures who have lived in the area and have been laid to rest. 413-567-3600. Williams Street. Longmeadow, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION >$)

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