Learning Ahead: Oct 27-31, 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 11 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

Wednesday, October 29, 5:30pm & Thursday, October 30, 5:30pm – 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 30, 7pm – FILM/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 The Cobweb (1955), which is based on the novel by William Gibson, who lived in Stockbridge. This screening may appeal to older teens interested in film and local history. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION $)

Franklin County

Monday, October 27, 6:30pm-8pm – PARAPSYCHOLOGY: Join the Sunderland Public Library for Ghostology 101 with Agawam Paranormal. Teens and tweens in grades 5-12 can learn about the paranormal at this entertaining and educational program. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, October 27, 6pm – SOMNOLOGY: Come to Amherst Brewing Company for this month’s Sci.Tech.Café! The topic this month is “Why Do We Sleep?” Professor Rebecca Spencer will discuss the science of sleep (somnology), including what exactly it is, what the brain does in various sleep stages, why we sleep, what sleep does for memory and decision-making, and how to get a better night’s sleep. Those interested in the science of sleep will enjoy this talk, which is designed for community members without science backgrounds. 10 University Drive. Amherst, MA.

Tuesday, October 28, 3:30pm – LITERATURE: Young adult author Dawn Metcalf will be at the Forbes Library for an author talk. Metcalf is the author of Luminous and The Twixt series. Fans of Metcalf’s work will enjoy this talk. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 30, 7pm-9pm – LITERACY: The 20th Annual Trivia Bee to support Amherst public schools is on October 30 in the Amherst Middle School Auditorium. There will be an audience trivia game, a raffle, refreshments, costumes, and more. Interested in participating? Email amherstedfound@gmail.com for more information on joining a team or sponsoring one. This is a fun chance to support your public schools while enjoying a trivia contest! 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Thursday, October 30, 7:30pm & Friday, October 31, 7:30pm – THEATER/SHAKESPEARE: Celebrate the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth at Smith College’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, directed by visiting guest director Portia Krieger. The play, unlike the first performance of Shakespeare’s classic in 1590, features an all-female cast, but the story remains the same. Come see this performance, which has been adapted to appeal to college students. Older students interested in theater will enjoy seeing this new take on a classic! Takes place at the Mendenhall CEnter, Theatre 14. Tickets available in advance. 413-585-2787. 122 Green Street. Northampton, MA. $

Hampden County

Monday, October 27, 6pm, LOCAL HISTORY/TEXTILES: Learn about the textile industry and local history at the Wistariahurst Museum’s “Threads that Bind” lecture series. This week, Matt Coletti will present “Japanese Silk Trade and William Skinner and Sons Manufacturing.” He will discuss the silk trade at the turn of the last century and how it was connected to Skinner’s business. Best for older students interested in local history and textiles. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. $

Tuesday, October 28, 8pm – MUSIC/CULTURAL STUDIES: Bay Path University presents An Evening of North Indian Music at the Blake Student Commons. Shri Rabindra Narayan Goswami will play the sitar and Shri Ramchandra “Ramu” Pandit will play the tabla. Listen to traditional North Indian music and then hear a discussion by the musicians after. Students can learn about the music and instruments of North India at this exciting concert. 413-565-1066. 588 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, October 29, 6:30pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Learn about New England gravestones with the Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation at their “Gravestone CSI: Causes of Death Found on Gravestones” event. Betsy and Al McKee will discuss causes of death recorded on gravestones in the Connecticut River Valley in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Recording cause of death on gravestones was (and still is) an unusual practice, and the McKees delve into the world of gravestone carving and present forensic research. Best for older students interested in local history. 413-357-6321. 42 Water Street. Granville, MA.

Friday, October 31, 7pm & 8:30pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Explore the Wistariahurst Museum and the Skinner Family Estate by candlelight on their Halloween ghost tours (7pm & 8:30pm). This is a rare chance to see the inside of the Skinner Mansion at night while learning about its haunted history! Registration is required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. $$

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