Berkshire Family Fun: July 2018
Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week.
If you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.
To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, story hours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.
ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:
Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by grants from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Sandisfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Saturday, July 7, 12pm
Come enjoy an afternoon of fun musical theater for children with the folks from Nutshell Playhouse! Committed to providing the Western Massachusetts region with access to live musical theater, Nutshell Playhouse has been performing imaginative works designed to spark children’s creativity and love of musical theater since 2007. This free show will feature a singing anaconda, tap dancing, and shapeshifting storyteller! Bascom Lodge. North Adam Road, Adams, MA (FREE)
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. 413-743-7121. 67 East Road. Adams, MA.
Abbot School — 56 North Country Road.
Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 W Housatonic St. 413-443-0188
Saturday, July 28, 10:30am-6pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/CULINARY STUDIES
Part of valuing local communities is supporting crafts and artisanal food. Our communities are filled with so many passionate, creative people who want to their enthusiasm and inspiration with others. These kinds of relationships also cut down on pollution and support local economies. The Heirloom Festival is a celebration of local arts, crafts, and food, featuring artisans from throughout the Berkshire region. At Heirloom there’s something for everyone, with live music and fun kids activities. Heirloom. 508 State Road, North Adams, MA ($)
North Adams Farmers’ Market 413-664-6180. St. Anthony Drive & Route 8.
Western Gateway Heritage State Park 413-663-6312. 115 State Street.
North Adams Public Library 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street.
MASS MoCA 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way.
Haskins Community Center 413-664-4821. 210 State Street.
Natural Bridge State Park — 413-663-6392. McCauley Road.
Sunday, July 8, 10am-5pm
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/ART STUDIES
Bring a bit of bohemian romance to your summer! Paris will always be associated with the arts. As the center of a rich French culture and a popular historical destination for expats and emigres, Paris can truly be said to be a city of artists. This Sunday, the Clark Art Institute will be celebrating all things Parisian at its regular Free Family Day. So put on your finest beret and striped turtleneck and come browse the museums four summer exhibitions, all focusing on the City of Lights. A full day of activities is scheduled, from can-can dancing, to jazz performances, to live figure drawing. And don’t forget to enjoy a croissant and a strong cup of espresso. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)
Monday, July 23, 1-1:30pm
As Bohemian lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote: “In any case, it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy. The days when even our hands do not stir are so exceptionally quiet that it is hardly possible to raise them without hearing a whole lot.” Indeed, idleness can be a profound thing and can guide us towards powerful realizations and vivid dreams that forever alter the course of our lives. Needless to say, however, in 18th century Protestant England, this view was not shared by many. Master satirist William Hogarth’s series of twelve prints entitled “Industry and Idleness,” for instance, tells the story of two young apprentices. One, who is industrious and hardworking, becomes rich and successful. The other, who is lazy and idle, becomes a criminal and is eventually executed! The message here is not very subtle. For all his moralizing, Hogarth remains one of the greatest comic artists and social critics of the 18th century. Come learn all about Hogarth’s rather heavy handed, but nevertheless fascinating, moral allegory “Industry and Idleness,” at this special talk. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)
Milne Public Library 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street.
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road.
Clark Art Institute 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.
Images Cinema. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street.
Sweet Brook Farm — 413-884-4246. 580 Oblong Road.
Williams College Museum of Art — 413-597-2376. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive.
Williamstown Youth Center — 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue.
Notchview Reservation 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA.
Dalton Free Public Library 0 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street.
Sunday, July 1, 8:30am
The Housatonic River, running 149 miles from Pittsfield to the Long Island Sound, was once home to more than 30,000 Mohicans and several Algonquian communities. The word ‘Housatonic’ comes from the Mohican phrase meaning “river of the mountain place.” European settlement in the region began in Sheffield in 1725. Since then, this important watershed has become an industrial hub. By the nineteenth century there were dozens of dams and mills along the Housatonic in Pittsfield alone. Hundreds of years worth of industry has heavily polluted the Housatonic but recent clean up efforts have made it possible for areas along the river to continue to thrive. The Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area, in particular, is home to numerous species of fish and animals. Come along for a relaxing canoe trip along the Housatonic river and learn all about the natural and cultural history of this important ecosystem. Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley. New Lenox Road, Lenox, MA ($$)
Lenox Library — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Lenox Historical Society — Main Street.
The Mount – 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary – 472 West Mountain Road.
Shakespeare and Company – 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
Ventfort Hall – 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
Monday, July 2, 11am
In the tumultuous religious climate of 18th century England, the Shakers or “Shaking Quakers,” as they were originally known, presented a radical vision for human society. Promoting celibacy, pacifism, communalism, and total equality of the sexes, the Shakers believed that god spoke directly to them through ecstatic experiences, hence their name. After arriving in the American colonies in 1774, the Shakers established communities throughout New England. During the so-called ‘golden age’ of the Shakers, communities were created as far west as Indiana and Ohio and the total population of Shakers grew to 6,000 people. This was the peak of the Shaker movement, however, and by 1920 only twelve of the original twenty Shaker villages remained. Since the Shakers were celibate, the movement ultimately died out. As of 2017, there is only one Shaker community left in the world, with a population of two people. But the impact of the Shakers on New England region culture still remains. The Shakers were committed to simplicity in all things and were well known for their austere, highly functional furniture, as well as their rich folk art traditions and beautiful music, which was considered by the Shakers to be one of the ‘gifts’ from god. You may be familiar with the song “Simple Gifts,” which is one of the best known Shaker songs. Today, numerous Shaker museums display these artefacts, including, of course, the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield. Children between the ages of 3 and 12 are invited to take a tour of the village and experience daily life in a 19th century Shaker village! Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA ($$)
Friday, July 6, 10am-5pm
LIVING HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Free Fun Fridays is committed to providing access to some of the region’s most exciting cultural sites. On fridays over the next 10 weeks, area museums, historic sites, and performing arts spaces will be accessible to families free of charge. This friday, families will have the opportunity to explore the Hancock Shaker Village. Learn all about New England life in the 19th century! For more information about the Free Fun Fridays program and a complete list of participating locations, please visit Free Fun Fridays. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Friday, July 6, 5-8pm
As Henry David Thoreau points out, the root of the word “saunter” comes from “the idle people who roved about the country… under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre, or the Holy Land.” Thus the act of casually strolling an inherently sacred act. For those who saunter, the entire world becomes their Holy Land. To walk aimlessly is to find a pilgrimage in every step, a temple in every tree, shrub, or blade of grass. What better way to find your temple than to combine walking with art? Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk features a dozen different art shows throughout the Upstreet Cultural District. Come check out amazing local art and meet some of the artists! Downtown Pittsfield. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Saturday, July 7, 12:30-1:30pm
MARINE BIOLOGY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Ever wonder what fish, turtles, and lizards eat when they live in aquariums? How do human beings determine what to feed these creatures, who have evolved over millions of years to hunt for food in the wild? And who actually prepares the food for these animals? All these questions and more will be addressed during Chow Time at the Berkshire Museum, where participants can assist museum staff in preparing meals for some of the inhabitants of the aquarium. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Monday, July 23, 11am
As we all know, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! If you’ve got kids at home who love to tinker, this is the event for you. Deconstructing objects and putting them back together in creative ways teaches children to use their imaginations and gain a better understanding of how things work. This event will focus on using objects that others have thrown away to create new works of art. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Monday, July 23, 11am-12:30pm
LIVING HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Travel back in time to the 19th century and experience what daily life would have been like for a child in a Shaker community. Visitors will learn about the kinds of work and play that Shaker children experienced, including gardening and baking. This is a great way to learn about how self sufficient communities were in the 19th century and how young people played a vital role in the village economy. This event is appropriate for children ages 3-12. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA ($)
Tuesday, July 24, 10am
ARTS AND CRAFTS/STORYTIME
Everybody loves story time! Storytelling is an ideal way to introduce young children to language and develop literacy skills. Arts and crafts also builds fine motor skills and other important cognitive steps. This Preschool Storytime event combines storytelling, arts and crafts, and music. All ages are welcome. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Tuesday, July 24, 1-3pm
TEA PARTY/MUSIC STUDIES
In many stories, the princess plays the role of the ‘damsel in distress,’ who needs to be rescued by the brave prince. In reality, however, history is full of princesses who were more than capable of taking care of themselves. Rani Lakshmi Bai, a princess from 19th century India, grew up learning archery, horse riding, and sword fighting. When the British seized her lands following the death of her husband, Lakshmi Bai raised an army, including many women warriors, and went to war against the mighty British empire. Legend has it that Lakshmi Bai even rode into battle with her infant son strapped to her back! Come celebrate princesses of all types at the Princess Songs and Tea party, this Tuesday. Whitney Center for the Arts. 42 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA ($)
Saturday, July 28, 1-7pm
Come celebrate the Pittsfield community at the 45th Annual Gather In Festival, hosted by the Berkshire County NAACP! Make new friends, visit with neighbors, and enjoy an afternoon of delicious food, live music, and lots of games and activities for children. These are the kinds of events that make our communities so special. Durant Park. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Monday, July 30, 1:30-2:30pm
MARINE BIOLOGY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Tide pools are unique ecosystems that play a vital role in maintaining coastal wildlife. Since tide pools literally come and go with the tides, the animals that live there have to be extraordinarily adaptable and resilient. Hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs are some of the most common residents of these special habitats. If you’ve got a nature-lover at home, bring them down to the Berkshire Museum for a special hands-on tide pool experience! Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA ($)
The Berkshire Athenaeum 413-499-4809. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Berkshire Humane Society 413-447-7878. 214 Barker Road.
Berkshire Lyric Theatre – 413-499-0258
Berkshire Museum – 413-443-7171 x10. 39 South Street.
Berkshire Music School — 413-442-1411. 30 Wendell Ave.
Colonial Theatre — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market. First Street.
First Friday Artswalk — Downtown.
Hancock Shaker Village – 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street.
Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.
Hilltop Orchard — Route 295.
Berkshire Botanical Garden 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Chesterwood — 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road
Norman Rockwell Museum – 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
The Stockbridge Library, Museum, and Archives – 413-298-5501. 18 Main Street.
Ashintully Gardens. 413-298-3239. Sodem Road.
West Stockbridge Public Library – 413-232-0300 x308. 21 State Line Road.
Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Experience Mahaiwe Magic with The Peking Acrobats this Friday, July 27th at 7:30pm and Saturday, July 28th at 2pm, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA! These astounding athletes push the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control. Tickets start at $20 at 413-528-0100 or mahaiwe.org/Family. Great Barrington, MA ($)
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road.
Great Barrington Historical Society — South Main Street.
The Guthrie Center — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road.
Great Barrington Riverwalk — Church and River Streets.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center — 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street.
Mason Library — 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
South Berkshire Kids – 413-464-5095. 444 Old Stockbridge Road.
Bidwell House Museum — 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road.
Otis Library and Museum – 413-269-0109. 48 North Main Road.