Weekly Suggested Events for December 3-9, 2022

Home > Suggested Events > Weekly Suggested Events for December 3-9, 2022
Smart community events are featured for the first week of December to support interests, education, and community engagement throughout western MA!

Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!

Scroll down to discover featured events, learning opportunities, and educational videos to support learning from home. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!

The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.orgOther events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.

On ThursdayDecember 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcomeSmith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]

Award-winning touring troupe Piti Theatre Company & Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association bring the 6th annual Great Greenfield DinoFest back to town on December 10 & 11. Blending science, arts, and history, DinoFest 2022 features Piti’s local history-inspired movie “Night at the Deerfield Museum,” fossils with experts, a webinar by a budding 10-year-old paleontologistDino Improv, and a preview of Piti Theatre’s next improv-based show “Once Upon a . . . Dino.” Events kick off at 11am at the Garden Cinema in Greenfield, MA. Admission is free. More at ptco.org/dino. Questions: info@ptco.org 

Smith Vocational High School in Northampton offers a FREE training program in Culinary Arts to prepare students over 18yo to work in the restaurant industry as entry-level prep cooks or line cooks. Students will also complete a 40-hour paid externship. Possible employment opportunities will exist in area restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and other environments where food prep is required. To qualify, students must be unemployed/underemployed, complete all required documentation with Smith Voc Career Center, pass a CORI/SORI test, and be a resident of Western MA. Classes begin January 17 & end June 13, 2023. Open house December 14 from 4-5:30pm. Contact Lorena Turner, Adult Ed Director, for more info 413-587-1414 x3530.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. For over 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River and learn more from students and faculty at their Open House on Sunday, December 4th, from 1-3pm. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family?
Preregister for their Open House online:  www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022

Welcome Yule, an annual Mid Winter Celebration takes place at Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Dec 9-10 at 7:30pm & Dec 11 at 2pm. This year, Welcome Yule will weave in English, Scottish and Celtic traditions of Yule, Hogmanay, and Imbolc, with Brigid, who raises the fallen Winter and brings forth new life in Spring. Share in the magic of the ancient, eerie Abbots Bromley horn dance, giant puppetry, and the passing of the Yule log. Tickets on sale at the door, at sheatheater.org, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. Adults (17-64): $15, Seniors (65+) & children (5-16): $12, Children under 5: FREE. Thank you for wearing a mask! Learn more: https://linktr.ee/welcomeyule

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email admissions@pvpa.org for more info.

Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession

Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org. 
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email cpearson@berkshiremusicschool.org 

FEATURED COUPLES THERAPY
Couples Therapy, Inc.
Cummington, MA

Couples Therapy
Marriage Retreats: In-person & Online

We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couplesDaniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at daniel@couplestherapyinc.com to learn more. 

See Your Ad Here

Partner with HIlltown Families!

Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.

2022 Class Directory

Class Directory

Discover virtual & adapted programming in our Class Directory for Western MA

2022 Preschool & Daycare Directory

Preschool Directory

Find what you’re looking for in our Preschool & Daycare Directory for Western MA

List of Weekly Suggested Events

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2022

FEATURED EVENT
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

🧸 COMMUNITY SERVICE. 8am-12pm. 6th Annual Toy and Food Drive – The Officers of the Russell-Montgomery Police Department and their families will be hosting the 6th Annual Toy and Food Drive. They will collect non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys, and cash donations for distribution in the local communities. There will be a festive holiday atmosphere with holiday music, hot chocolate, and other goodies. 5 Main St, Russell, MA. 

🎄 HOLIDAY STROLL. 8am-7pm. Holiday Walk – Williamstown will be filled with holiday sounds and spirit featuring festivities with traditional New England flair, including old-fashioned caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides, the annual ReinDog Parade, Penny Social, a visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus, tree lighting, and much more. Williamstown, MA. 

🎅 COMMUNITY MEAL/ SANTA. 8:30-11am. Breakfast with Santa – Annual Fire Association breakfast with Santa. Blandford Town Hall. 1 Russell Stage Rd, Blandford, MA.

FAMILY RADIO: 9-10am. Hilltown Family Variety Show. WXOJ 103.3FM Northampton, MA. (Radio)

BOOK ARTS. 9am-4pm. Northampton Antiquarian Book, Ephemera, and Book Arts Fair at the Northampton Community Arts Trust. 413-341-3035. 33 Hawley St, Northampton, MA.

NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 9:30am-4:30pm. Historic Deerfield – Founded in 1952, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that interprets the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley. Visitors can tour twelve carefully-preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 and explore world-class collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts on display in the authentic period houses; as well as the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a state-of-the-art museum facility featuring exhibitions and a visible storage area. Support interests in history through the lens of architecture, New England antiques, arts and crafts needlework, ironware and basketry, cooking and baking, gardening, textiles, fashion, furniture, and much more! Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 10am. Santa’s Visit – Atkins Farms Country Market. 413-253-9528. 1150 West St. Amherst, MA. 

🏠 ARCHITECTURE/ GINGERBREAD HOUSES. 10am. Build a Gingerbread House – Build a cozy cabin and a frosted castle, and invent a new structure with graham crackers, milk-carton bases, frosting, and candy decorations! Pre-built houses will be available for younger kids. Hatfield Public Library. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. 

🍂 NATURE-BASED ART. 10am-12pm. Creating Nature Art: Welcoming the Light – Spend the morning of the first Saturday of the month from December until June creating art together, using natural materials and traditional art supplies. Listen to stories about light while making colorful solstice lanterns for candles to welcome back the sun. Parent/Care Giver required to accompany their children. Ages 4-10. Northfield Mountain. 413-659-3714. 99 Millers Falls Road, RT 63, Northfield, MA.

🪨 GEOLOGY. 10am-1pm. Geology Hike – This hike will take participants through the geologic remnants of a Himalayan-scale mountain range that formed in western New England during a massive tectonic collision nearly 500 million years ago. See a modern landscape shaped by the geologic consequences of that long-ago event and evidence of glaciers that scoured the landscape beneath a kilometer-thick sheet of ice as recently as 14,000 years ago. Hoosac Range 2441 Mohawk Trail. North Adams, MA. 

♻️ HOLIDAY SHOPPING/ SUSTAINABILITY. 10am-1pm. 7th Annual Holiday Used Toy Exchange – A source of holiday gifts for residents on tight budgets, as well as increasing the lifespan of consumer goods. Agawam Public Library. 413-789-1550. 50 Cooper St., Agawam, MA.

❄️ LIVING HISTORY/ YULETIDE. 10am-4pm. Yuletide Weekend – Storrowton Village Museum presents Yuletide Weekend, a festive, free weekend of beautifully decorated buildings, entertainment, farm animals, kids activities, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and so much more! Storrowton Village Museum. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. 

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 10am-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

CHRISTMAS/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Grinchmas Saturday at the Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

SHOP LOCAL/ HANDMADE. 10am-5pm. Holiday Open Studios and Sale at Cottage Street Studios. Easthampton, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-5pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – A museum devoted to the art of picture books, especially children’s books. The Carle’s picture-book exhibitions showcase various artists, themes, and styles. Their three galleries host six original shows a year, so there is always something new! In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into the art studio to experience the creative joy of making art; explore new picture books, and rediscover old ones in their library. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-3pm. Holiday Open House at Wistariahurst Museum. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot St., Holyoke, MA.

LITERACY/ STORYTIME. 10:30am. Library Storytime – Story and craft activities. Becket Athenaeum. 413-623-5483. 3367 Main St, Becket, MA.

HOLIDAYS/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 11am. Joyful Holidays Family Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Glendale Rd, Route 183, Stockbridge, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

🦉 ORNITHOLOGY/ OWLS. 11:30am. Wingmasters’ World of Owls – Meet live owls in the Berkshire Museum’s theater! Featuring a variety of live owls, this captivating and informative program shows how owls use their specialized powers of sight, hearing, and flight to survive and thrive. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

🎄 LIVING HISTORY/ CHRISTMAS. 12-2pm. Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas Recreation – See Main Street as Norman Rockwell did when he painted the famous Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. Main Street becomes a magical New England village with over 50 antique cars parked along the street and a full range of festive activities to delight the child in everyone. Stockbridge, MA. 

🚂 CHRISTMAS. 12-3:30pm. The Polar Express – Join The Depot at Graham Central Station for a magical, Polar Express-themed day! Take a 5-minute ride on their mini train and visit Santa’s Workshop. There will be games and even a chorus singing the Polar Express songs. The Depot at Graham Central Station. 64 Maple Street. East Longmeadow, MA.

🎺 MUSIC STUDIES/ BRASS. 1pm. Graduate Brass Quintet with UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance. Bezanson Recital HallUMass. Amherst, MA.

🎁 MYO GIFTS. 1pm. Holiday Nature Crafts and Tree Trimming Party – Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 1-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. [

🗣 WORLD LANGUAGE/ SPANISH. 1:30-3:30pm. Spanish Conversation Group – Do you know Spanish and would like to talk to other Spanish speakers? id you take Spanish in High School and want to improve your skills? re you just interested in learning another language? This fun one-hour bi-monthly class will help to expand your vocabulary and give you practice in this beautiful language. Westfield Athenaeum. 413-568-7833. Elm Street, Westfield, MA.

☀️ ARTISAN SKILLS/ STAINED GLASS. 2pm. Stained Glass Ornaments – Learn skills needed to do stained glass art at home. LaunchSpace. 978-633-5131. 131 W Main St Suite 342, Orange, MA.

🎁 MYO GIFT. 2pm. MYO Ceramic Soap Dishes at LaunchSpace. 978-633-5131. 131 W Main St Suite 342, Orange, MA.

🎄 TREE LIGHTING. 3-6pm. Tree Lighting & Parade of Light – Holyoke City Hall. 36 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA.

🎁 MYO GIFT. 4pm. Felted Ornaments Workshop – Arms Library. Shelburne Falls, MA.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🏒 SPORTS/ ICE HOCKEY. 7pm. UMass Hockey vs. UMass Lowell – Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave.  Amherst, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Gingerbread Houses

Is there anything better than the sound of children happily discussing whether gumdrops or gummy bears make for better foliage in a confectionery garden? Grown-up architects debating the merits of Lifesavers vs. melted lollipops to convey gothic stained glass? The hum of conversation and laughter as designers of all ages bring their inspiration and creativity to bear on gingerbread walls, roofing material, and piles of buttercream mortar? – Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, geometry, communication, and collaboration.

[RETURN TO TOP]

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2022

The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. For over 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River and learn more from students and faculty at their Open House on Sunday, December 4th, from 1-3pm. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family?
Preregister for their Open House online:  www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022

FEATURED EVENT
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

FAMILY RADIO: 7-8am. Hilltown Family Variety Show. WXOJ 103.3FM Northampton, MA. (Radio)

NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 9:30am-4:30pm. Historic Deerfield – Founded in 1952, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that interprets the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley. Visitors can tour twelve carefully-preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 and explore world-class collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts on display in the authentic period houses; as well as the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a state-of-the-art museum facility featuring exhibitions and a visible storage area. Support interests in history through the lens of architecture, New England antiques, arts and crafts needlework, ironware and basketry, cooking and baking, gardening, textiles, fashion, furniture, and much more! Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA.

🛍 CRAFT FAIR. 10am. Annual Craft Fair Fundraiser for Chesterfield-Goshen Children’s Fund – Annual fundraiser craft and vendor fair to raise money for the Chesterfield-Goshen Children’s Fund! This fund helps provide families in need with holiday gifts and winter gear for school-age children in the towns of Chesterfield and Goshen to help ensure every child can experience a magical Christmas! 42 Main St, Goshen, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 10am-12pm. Visit Santa at the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England. 413-333-4951. 429 Morgan Road. West Springfield, MA.

🌾 WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET. 10am-2pm. Easthampton Farmers’ Market – Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available despite the blustery, snow-drift-covered fields that surround us. Connecting to the local food chain year-round is healthy for your body, your family, and your community, and it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the vast array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting them from where their food originates. Eastworks. 116 Pleasant St, Easthampton, MA.

🐻 ANIMAL STUDIES. 10am-3pm. Animals in Winter – Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate or change their appearance to adapt to the changing seasons! Choose a storybook or craft activity. Something for all ages! Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 10am-4pm. Merry Days with Santa – Inn on Boltwood. Amherst, MA.

🎄 LIVING HISTORY/ YULETIDE. 10am-4pm. Yuletide Weekend – Storrowton Village Museum presents Yuletide Weekend, a festive, free weekend of beautifully decorated buildings, entertainment, farm animals, kids activities, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and so much more! Storrowton Village Museum. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA.

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

ENTOMOLOGY/ BUTTERFLIES. 10am-4:30pm. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory – An 8000 square-foot tropical conservatory with nearly 4000 free-flying tropical and native butterflies from all over the world. Learn about butterflies along with exotic reptiles, frogs, fish, birds, and insects! Ask about their guided tours. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. 413-665-2805. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

SHOP LOCAL/ HANDMADE. 10am-5pm. Holiday Open Studios and Sale at Cottage Street Studios. Easthampton, MA.

LITERATURE/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Emily Dickinson Museum – The collection at the Museum contains more than 8,000 artifacts, including family objects such as artwork, textiles, furniture, dinnerware, and other household items. Comprised of two historic houses in the center of Amherst, the Museum is associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and family members during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through primary source material, support an interest in this local author, sparking a deeper understanding of her life and landscape. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-5pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-3pm. Holiday Open House at Wistariahurst Museum. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot St., Holyoke, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 11am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 12-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 12-5pm. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – A museum devoted to the art of picture books, especially children’s books. The Carle’s picture-book exhibitions showcase various artists, themes, and styles. Their three galleries host six original shows a year, so there is always something new! In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into the art studio to experience the creative joy of making art; explore new picture books, and rediscover old ones in their library. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

HOLIDAYS/ SING-ALONG. 1-3pm. Holiday Sing-Along at Keep Homestead Museum. 413-267-4137. 35 Ely Rd. Monson, MA.

🖼 MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 1-4pm. First Sunday Free: Celebration – Explore “celebration” and its many forms! Make a mirror celebrating whoever is reflected, enjoy the Clark’s In for the Winter self-guide, and make a card to share with a friend. There will also be other surprises, so take advantage of this day that is sure to delight! Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South St., Williamstown, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 1-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA.

🔔 MUSIC STUDIES/ HANDBELLS. 2pm. Carols of the Bells – Celebrate the holiday season with the First Congregational Church of Lee Handbell Choir, performing festive music around the Museum’s 15-foot Christmas tree in the Santa Classics exhibition. All ages are welcome. Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

ART STUDIES/ GALLERY. 2-5pm. Hampshire College Art Gallery – The Hampshire College Art Gallery is a dynamic space for contemporary art and collections-based exhibitions, uniting innovative curatorial approaches with a focus on teaching and learning. Families can visit the gallery to check out traditional exhibitions, along with more interactive programs. Many objects in their small, eclectic permanent collection were donated when founders first built the college, so there are among them some quintessentially “’60s” artworks, alongside fine art photography. The gallery is located in the Harold F. Johnson Library Building, Ground Floor, on the campus of Hampshire College. 893 West Street. Amherst, MA.

LIVING HISTORY/ CHRISTMAS. 2-8pm. Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd, Sturbridge, MA.

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ CHORAL. 4pm. Christmas at Trinity – Join the Cantilena Chamber Choir for a concert with many beloved traditional carols. There will be an audience sing-along, too! Trinity Church. 8 Walker St. Lenox, MA. 

🎄 TREE LIGHTING. 4pm. Ashfield Holiday Tree Lighting. Ashfield Town Hall. Ashfield, MA.

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ RELIGIOUS STUDIES. 4pm. Christmas Vespers – An annual tradition at Smith, the Christmas Vespers performance tells the story of advent through hymns, other anthems, prayers, and scripture readings. The music portion of the program will feature the Smith College Chorus, Glee Club, Chamber Singers, Handbell Choir, and Orchestra, with a special appearance from the Campus School Choir. Smith College. John M. Greene Hall. 413-584-2700. 60 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. 

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ RELIGIOUS STUDIES. 4pm. Annual Holiday Vespers – Holiday Vespers is a long-standing popular tradition at Mount Holyoke College, during which the community comes together to celebrate light and togetherness on a dark and cold December night. Mount Holyoke College Department of Music. Abbey Chapel. South Hadley, MA. 

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 5:30-7pm. 9th Annual Easthampton Holiday Whobalation – The Grinch and Santa will be arriving for pictures and to join in singing the Whoville Song! Millside Park. 413-529-1400. 2 Ferry St., Easthampton, MA.

🍽 COMMUNITY MEAL. 6:30pm. Indigenous Community Dinner – A dinner to create space to celebrate the Indigenous community while building connections between indigenous community members. Sponsored by Mount Holyoke College Community and Belonging. Zowie Banteah Cultural Center. 50 Park St. South Hadley, MA. 

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Christmas Trees

The Christmas tree offers a lens for learning about history, agriculture, botany, cultural heritage, and much more. This time of year, get curious with your kids and explore these topics. Discover how families might have historically decorated a Christmas Tree with candles and cookies at one of our living history museums. Visit a local Christmas tree farm to learn how they are grown while noting the various shapes of the needles of different trees. These are points of entry for using the Christmas tree as your catalyst for learning this holiday season!

[RETURN TO TOP]

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2022

PLAYGROUP. Northampton Parents Center.

PLAYGROUPS. Family Centers & Playgroups in Hilltowns & Pioneer Valley   

PLAYGROUPS. Family Center & Playgroups in Franklin County   

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in south Berkshire County   

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in north Berkshire County 

PLAYGROUPS. Home. City. Families. in Springfield

PLAYGROUP. 8:30-11am. Hilltown Family Center Infant & Toddler Play Group – Starting with Infant Playgroup at 8:30am and families with children 9mo-5yo joining at 9:45am. Families are welcome to eat breakfast at 8:30am for a nominal cost. Takes place at R.H. Conwell Elementary School. 413-667-2203 x311. 147 Huntington Rd, Worthington, MA.

BOTANY. 9am-4pm. There is much to see at the Smith College Botanic Garden. You can spend many hours exploring the Lyman Plant House exhibitions, the Lyman Conservatory plant collections, the Campus Arboretum, and Campus Gardens. The Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton MA.

PLAYGROUP. 10-11am. For ages 0-5 at the Meekins Library. Call to register: 413-345-6015. 2 Williams St, Williamsburg, MA. 

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

ART STUDIES/ GALLERY. 10:30am-4:30pm. Hampshire College Art Gallery – The Hampshire College Art Gallery is a dynamic space for contemporary art and collections-based exhibitions, uniting innovative curatorial approaches with a focus on teaching and learning. Families can visit the gallery to check out traditional exhibitions, along with more interactive programs. Many objects in their small, eclectic permanent collection were donated when founders first built the college, so there are among them some quintessentially “’60s” artworks, alongside fine art photography. The gallery is located in the Harold F. Johnson Library Building, Ground Floor, on the campus of Hampshire College. 893 West Street. Amherst, MA.

🎻 MUSIC STUDIES/ VIOLIN. 1pm. Smith faculty violinist Colleen Jennings joins Amherst College faculty violist Charlotte Malin for a program featuring music by three remarkable Women and two African American composers: Lili Boulanger, Adolphus Hailstork, Courtney Bryan, and Rebecca Clarke. With Smith faculty artist Jiayan Sun at the piano. Sweeney Concert Hall. 413-585-2787. 144 Green Street. Smith College. Northampton, MA.

📕 BOOK CLUB. 3:15pm. Graphic Novel Book Club – Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. Williams St, Williamsburg, MA.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🍪 PASTRY ARTS. 6pm. Cookbook Club – Bring Your Own Recipe & Cookie Swap at the Becket Athenaeum. 413-623-5483. 3367 Main St, Becket, MA.

🏀 SPORTS/ BASKETBALL. 7pm. UMass Men’s Basketball vs. Albany. Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Wreaths

During the holiday season, locally harvested evergreen branches of evergreens, like balsam and white pine, are often wrapped around lampposts or circled together on front doors, bank lobbies, libraries, and town halls. Where else might you see wreaths? Why wreaths? Why branches of evergreen? Are there other times of the year wreaths might appear? Getting curious, asking questions, and finding answers can guide self-directed learning toward discovering community traditions, symbolism and meaning, history, and arrangement methods. Notice where you see a large wreath display in your community. How did it get there? Is the wreath hanging in your town center or above the grand entrance of a learning institution an annual appearance dating back decades? Want to learn how to make an evergreen wreath? Look for classes and workshops at schools, garden clubs, and even historical museums. Lessons in history, plant botany, and methods of floral arranging are embedded in the process.

[RETURN TO TOP]

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2022

PLAYGROUPS. Family Centers & Playgroups in Hilltowns & Pioneer Valley

PLAYGROUP. Northampton Parents Center 

PLAYGROUPS. Family Center & Playgroups in Franklin County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in south Berkshire County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in north Berkshire County

PLAYGROUPS. Home. City. Families. in Springfield

BOTANY. 9am-4pm. There is much to see at the Smith College Botanic Garden. You can spend many hours exploring the Lyman Plant House exhibitions, the Lyman Conservatory plant collections, the Campus Arboretum, and Campus Gardens. The Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton MA.

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 9am-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

PLAYGROUP. 9:30-11:30am. School-readiness program for ages 3-4yo + caregiver. Engagement with young children is modeled through songs, books, circle time, literacy activities, StoryWalks, crafts, STEM activities, free play, cooperative games, take-home activities, and outdoor play. Hilltown Family Center. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-3pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-4pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

ENTOMOLOGY/ BUTTERFLIES. 10am-4:30pm. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory – An 8000 square-foot tropical conservatory with nearly 4000 free-flying tropical and native butterflies from all over the world. Learn about butterflies along with exotic reptiles, frogs, fish, birds, and insects! Ask about their guided tours. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. 413-665-2805. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

LITERATURE/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Emily Dickinson Museum – The collection at the Museum contains more than 8,000 artifacts, including family objects such as artwork, textiles, furniture, dinnerware, and other household items. Comprised of two historic houses in the center of Amherst, the Museum is associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and family members during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through primary source material, support an interest in this local author, sparking a deeper understanding of her life and landscape. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

PLAYGROUP. 10:30am. For ages 0-5 at the Edwards Public Library. Call to register: 413-345-6015. 30 East Street, Southampton, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 11am-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA.

STE(A)M/ PreK. 1pm. Pre-School STEAM Program. Learn how to inspire your kids to engineer, create, design, explore, and build at home. Becket Athenaeum. 413-623-5483. 3367 Main St, Becket, MA.

GRANDPARENTING SUPPORT. 4-6pm. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group – A group for grandparents actively parenting their grandchildren. A safe and confidential space to share similar experiences with other grandparents. All groups are on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month. Free pizza and childcare provided. Questions or to register: 413-663-7588. Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. 61 Main Street. Ste 218. North Adams, MA. [

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🌟 LIBRARY ADVENTURES/ STEM. 6pm. Ed the Wizard’s Alchemy Laboratory – Transform the Library into Hogwarts at Christmas! Sing real science such as Bernoulli’s Principle, Electromagnetism, & Optical effects. You’ll learn how to defy gravity, move objects with your mind, change the properties of water, look through solid objects, and more! Edwards Public Library. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street, Southampton, MA.

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ CHINESE MUSIC. 7-9pm. Chinese Music Ensemble Fall Concert – The Smith College Department of Music presents the Chinese Music Ensemble Fall Concert. Students from the Smith Chinese Music Ensemble present a program featuring various Chinese and Taiwanese music derived from traditional and contemporary works. Earle Recital Hall. 413-585-2787. 144 Green Street. Smith College. Northampton, MA.

🎻 MUSIC STUDIES. 7:30pm. String Chamber Ensembles – Bezanson Recital Hall. UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance. Amherst, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Generosity & Gratitude

The holiday season is a time of generosity, with gestures of abundance played out through our community landscape. Nature is generous, leaving our open fields and meadows with a plethora of grass and wildflower seeds feeding wildlife in the winter and delivering a promise to summer pollinators. The cultivated land is generous, providing a cornucopia of locally grown food from the late harvest. People are generous, volunteering and spreading kindness during the holiday season. Family and friends are generous, sharing recipes and stories during holiday dinners. And the community is generous, creating a shared history together during annual community meals. During this month, at least two common threads run through these gestures of generosity. The first of which is food! Integrating community engagement opportunities centered around food with curiosity and compassion can help to strengthen our connection to place by being fully present in the moment and open to those with whom we share our lives… and our meals! Read more in our post, November: A Month of Generosity.

[RETURN TO TOP]

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022

PLAYGROUPS. Family Centers & Playgroups in Hilltowns & Pioneer Valley

PLAYGROUP. Northampton Parents Center  

PLAYGROUPS. Family Center & Playgroups in Franklin County 

PLAYGROUPSSouth Berkshire County. 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in north Berkshire County.

PLAYGROUPS. Home. City. Families. in Springfield

BOTANY. 9am-4pm. There is much to see at the Smith College Botanic Garden. You can spend many hours exploring the Lyman Plant House exhibitions, the Lyman Conservatory plant collections, the Campus Arboretum, and Campus Gardens. The Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton MA.

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 9am-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 9:30am-4:30pm. Historic Deerfield – Founded in 1952, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that interprets the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley. Visitors can tour twelve carefully-preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 and explore world-class collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts on display in the authentic period houses; as well as the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a state-of-the-art museum facility featuring exhibitions and a visible storage area. Support interests in history through the lens of architecture, New England antiques, arts and crafts needlework, ironware and basketry, cooking and baking, gardening, textiles, fashion, furniture, and much more! Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA.

PLAYGROUP. 10-11am. For ages 0-5 at St. Philip’s Church Parish Hall. Call to register: 413-345-6015. 126 Main St., Easthampton, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – A museum devoted to the art of picture books, especially children’s books. The Carle’s picture-book exhibitions showcase various artists, themes, and styles. Their three galleries host six original shows a year, so there is always something new! In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into the art studio to experience the creative joy of making art; explore new picture books, and rediscover old ones in their library. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-4pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

ENTOMOLOGY/ BUTTERFLIES. 10am-4:30pm. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory – An 8000 square-foot tropical conservatory with nearly 4000 free-flying tropical and native butterflies from all over the world. Learn about butterflies along with exotic reptiles, frogs, fish, birds, and insects! Ask about their guided tours. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. 413-665-2805. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

LITERATURE/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Emily Dickinson Museum – The collection at the Museum contains more than 8,000 artifacts, including family objects such as artwork, textiles, furniture, dinnerware, and other household items. Comprised of two historic houses in the center of Amherst, the Museum is associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and family members during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through primary source material, support an interest in this local author, sparking a deeper understanding of her life and landscape. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

NEW PARENT GROUP. 10:30am & 1pm. Beyond Birth groups meet weekly. New babies birth-6mos are at 1pm and older babies 6mos-1 yr are at 10:30am. Amherst, MA.

📖 STORYTIME/ BRAILLE. 11am. Braille Storytime For Families – Join Berkshire Hills Music Academy’s Mary Westgate for a fun, music-filled storytime featuring singing, musical instruments, and braille books. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 25 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 11am-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA.

🌳 MINDFULNESS. 1:30pm. Mountain Mindfulness: Forest Bathing Winter Walk – Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

PLAYGROUP. 3:30-4:30pm. For ages 0-5 at Goshen Town Hall. Call to register: 413-345-6015. 42 Main St., Goshen, MA. 🎁 MYO GIFTS. 5pm. Winter Crafts Workshop – Cushman Library. 413-648-5402. 8 Church St, Bernardston, MA.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🎁 MYO GIFTS. 5:30pm. Intro to Leatherworking Tooling and Carving: Keychains & Bookmarks – LaunchSpace. 978-633-5131. 131 W Main St Suite 342, Orange, MA.

🧪 SCIENCE CAFE/ CHEMISTRY. 6pm.  Brewing Chemistry: Exploring How Simple Science Can Yield a World of Flavor – Abandoned Building Brewery 142 Pleasant Street #103a, Easthampton, MA.

❄️ LIVING HISTORY/ YULETIDE. 6-8pm. Yuletide Lantern Light Evening – Visit Storrowton Village Museum’s ornately decorated buildings by candle and lantern light, getting a true 19th-century New England feel for the holiday season. Add a carriage ride and visit the Farmers Market for even more festive fun! Storrowton Village Museum. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA.

🏒 SPORTS/ ICE HOCKEY. 7pm. UMass Hockey vs. Merrimack – UMass Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Music Studies/Gamelan Music

Did you know that Gamelan music is the traditional musical ensemble of the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia? In the Javanese language, the word “gamelan” means “to strike with a mallet,” If you’ve ever had the chance to hear this amazing music, you’ll know why: the ensemble is made up almost entirely of percussive instruments! According to Indonesian mythology, the gamelan was created thousands of years ago by an ancient king who invented the gong to summon the gods. The impact of this beautiful music has been felt worldwide, and several well-known Western composers were so struck by it that they incorporated gamelan elements into their music.

[RETURN TO TOP]

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2022

On ThursdayDecember 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcomeSmith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

PLAYGROUPS. Family Centers & Playgroups in Hilltowns & Pioneer Valley

PLAYGROUP. Northampton Parents Center  

PLAYGROUPS. Family Center & Playgroups in Franklin County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in south Berkshire County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in north Berkshire County 

PLAYGROUPS. Home. City. Families. in Springfield

BOTANY. 9am-4pm. There is much to see at the Smith College Botanic Garden. You can spend many hours exploring the Lyman Plant House exhibitions, the Lyman Conservatory plant collections, the Campus Arboretum, and Campus Gardens. The Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton MA.

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 9am-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 9:30am-4:30pm. Historic Deerfield – Founded in 1952, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that interprets the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley. Visitors can tour twelve carefully-preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 and explore world-class collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts on display in the authentic period houses; as well as the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a state-of-the-art museum facility featuring exhibitions and a visible storage area. Support interests in history through the lens of architecture, New England antiques, arts and crafts needlework, ironware and basketry, cooking and baking, gardening, textiles, fashion, furniture, and much more! Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA.

PLAYGROUP. 10am. For ages 0-5 at St. Philip’s Church Parish Hall. Call to register: 413-345-6015. 126 Main St., Easthampton, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-4pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – A museum devoted to the art of picture books, especially children’s books. The Carle’s picture-book exhibitions showcase various artists, themes, and styles. Their three galleries host six original shows a year, so there is always something new! In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into the art studio to experience the creative joy of making art; explore new picture books, and rediscover old ones in their library. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

ENTOMOLOGY/ BUTTERFLIES. 10am-4:30pm. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory – An 8000 square-foot tropical conservatory with nearly 4000 free-flying tropical and native butterflies from all over the world. Learn about butterflies along with exotic reptiles, frogs, fish, birds, and insects! Ask about their guided tours. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. 413-665-2805. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

LITERATURE/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Emily Dickinson Museum – The collection at the Museum contains more than 8,000 artifacts, including family objects such as artwork, textiles, furniture, dinnerware, and other household items. Comprised of two historic houses in the center of Amherst, the Museum is associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and family members during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through primary source material, support an interest in this local author, sparking a deeper understanding of her life and landscape. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

NEW PARENT GROUP. 10:30am & 1pm. Beyond Birth groups meet weekly in both Northampton (Thurs) and Amherst (Wed)! New babies birth-6 mos are at 1pm and older babies 6 mos to 1 year are at 10:30am. Northampton & Amherst, MA.  

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES. 11am. Music Class with Mr. Liam – South Hadley Family Center. 413-283-7594. 7 Woodbridge St, South Hadley, MA.

ARTS & CRAFTS. 11am & 2pm. Crafts at Amelia Park Children’s Museum. 413-572-4014. 29 S Broad St, Westfield, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 11am-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA.

🖼 DATE NIGHT/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 5-8pm. Grinchmas After Hours – An adults-only romp through our holiday exhibitions in the Wood Museum of Springfield History and the Science Museum! Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🏀 SPORTS/ BASKETBALL. 7pm. UMass Men’s Basketball vs. UMass Lowell – UMass Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA.

ROLLER SKATING. 7-9:30pm. Interskate 91. 413-586-8344. 367 Russell Street, Hampshire Mall, Hadley, MA.

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ JAZZ. 7:30pm. Chapel Jazz and Jazz Lab Ensembles – UMass Bowker Auditorium (Stockbridge Hall). 413-545-0111. 100 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA.

🎶 MUSIC STUDIES/ CELTIC. 7:30-9pm. Wailing Banshees – The Smith College Department of Music presents the Wailing Banshees Fall Concert: Here Be Dragons. The Wailing Banshees explore many ways to look at a dragon, or a diplodocus, or a lobster. As always, jigs, reels, and the best craic on campus. Sweeney Concert Hall. 413-585-2787. 144 Green Street. Smith College. Northampton, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Matryoshka Dolls

The Matryoshka, or nesting doll, is a distinctly Russian handicraft. Incorrectly referred to as “babushka dolls,” matryoshka were first created by Russian craftsmen in the late 19th century and often portray characters from Russian folklore or Soviet history. It is unknown where the inspiration for the doll originally came from, though the first matryoshka artists were heavily influenced by traditional crafts and dolls from China and Japan. For example, the Japanese Seven Lucky Gods nesting doll may be an early instance of the matryoshka. 

[RETURN TO TOP]

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2022

FEATURED EVENT
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.

Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com

Welcome Yule, an annual Mid Winter Celebration takes place at Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Dec 9-10 at 7:30pm & Dec 11 at 2pm. This year, Welcome Yule will weave in English, Scottish and Celtic traditions of Yule, Hogmanay, and Imbolc, with Brigid, who raises the fallen Winter and brings forth new life in Spring. Share in the magic of the ancient, eerie Abbots Bromley horn dance, giant puppetry, and the passing of the Yule log. Tickets on sale at the door, at sheatheater.org, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. Adults (17-64): $15, Seniors (65+) & children (5-16): $12, Children under 5: FREE. Thank you for wearing a mask! Learn more: https://linktr.ee/welcomeyule

PLAYGROUPS. Family Centers & Playgroups in Hilltowns & Pioneer Valley 

PLAYGROUP. Northampton Parents Center  

PLAYGROUPS. Family Center & Playgroups in Franklin County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in south Berkshire County 

PLAYGROUPSFamily Center & Playgroups in north Berkshire County

PLAYGROUPS. Home. City. Families. in Springfield

BOTANY. 9am-4pm. There is much to see at the Smith College Botanic Garden. You can spend many hours exploring the Lyman Plant House exhibitions, the Lyman Conservatory plant collections, the Campus Arboretum, and Campus Gardens. The Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. 16 College Lane. Northampton MA.

CREATIVE FREE-PLAY/ INTERACTIVE MUSEUM. 9am-4pm.  The Children’s Museum – Dedicated to enhancing children’s educational and cultural awareness through the arts, sciences, and the world around them. The Museum’s participatory exhibits and educational programming invite children and adults to interact and enjoy learning and self-discovery while at play. Young children almost always want to start on the Curvy Climber. And then, throughout the Museum, there are several other activities that older children might spend more time with, including the Legos Table, The Magna Tile Table, Maxi Rollways, and the Imagination Playground. There is also a state-of-the-art World of Motion room that stimulates children and adults’ curious minds. This room is STEM-based and encourages learning and play. Discover more at The Children’s Museum at Holyoke. 413-536-7048. 444 Dwight St, Holyoke, MA.

NEW ENGLAND HISTORY. 9:30am-4:30pm. Historic Deerfield – Founded in 1952, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that interprets the history and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley. Visitors can tour twelve carefully-preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 and explore world-class collections of regional furniture, silver, textiles, and other decorative arts on display in the authentic period houses; as well as the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a state-of-the-art museum facility featuring exhibitions and a visible storage area. Support interests in history through the lens of architecture, New England antiques, arts and crafts needlework, ironware and basketry, cooking and baking, gardening, textiles, fashion, furniture, and much more! Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84 Old Main St, Deerfield, MA.

PARENTING SUPPORT GROUP. 10am. New Baby, New Feelings – A free, safe, confidential drop in support group for mothers with infants. Community Action Family Center. 413-475-1555. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA.

MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum –  Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan. It was one of the approximately seventy-five so-called “Cottages” built in Lenox in the late 19th century when the village became a popular Gilded Age resort. The museum can support interests in history and architecture, photography, film, art, and botany. Photography and film students can test their skills in the house, finding interesting areas to photograph. Art students are welcome to find a spot they enjoy and sketch, paint, and/or interpret the site as it fits their interests and studies. History classes may compare and contrast the architectural elements of Ventfort Hall with observations in their community. Botany students can investigate and identify trees and plants on the property that are of the era. And much more! Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

JEWISH CULTURE/ HISTORY. 10am-4pm. Yiddish Book Center – Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their family’s history, culture, and traditions. Part of The Center’s mission is to offer engaging learning opportunities for curious visitors of all ages who come to the expansive, sunny museum designed to resemble a shtetl (Eastern European Jewish small town), which sits in an apple orchard adjacent to the Hampshire College campus. Visitors don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although, by the visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (noshschmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more. Yiddish Book Center. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA.

NATURAL HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 10am-4pm. The Beneski Museum of Natural History – One of New England’s largest natural history museums, featuring three floors of exhibits with more than 1,700 specimens on display. Step inside the museum, and you’ll find: Dramatic displays of fossil skeletons, from fish to dinosaurs to Ice Age megafauna, an extraordinary collection of local dinosaur footprints, geological specimens and immersive exhibits that tell the history of the local landscape through geologic time, including when dinosaurs inhabited the area, and dazzling mineral specimens from around the world and meteorites from beyond Earth. Beneski Museum of Natural History. 413-542-2165. Amherst College. 11 Barrett Hill Dr, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-4pm. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – A museum devoted to the art of picture books, especially children’s books. The Carle’s picture-book exhibitions showcase various artists, themes, and styles. Their three galleries host six original shows a year, so there is always something new! In addition to exploring art in the galleries, drop into the art studio to experience the creative joy of making art; explore new picture books, and rediscover old ones in their library. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

ENTOMOLOGY/ BUTTERFLIES. 10am-4:30pm. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory – An 8000 square-foot tropical conservatory with nearly 4000 free-flying tropical and native butterflies from all over the world. Learn about butterflies along with exotic reptiles, frogs, fish, birds, and insects! Ask about their guided tours. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. 413-665-2805. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA.

MUSEUMS ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. Springfield Museums – The Springfield Museums uses art, history, science, and Dr. Seuss to explore our shared connections and unique perspectives to promote engagement, literacy, and learning. Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, the Springfield Museums offer access to five world-class museums, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all under a single admission. The museums are community-based educational resources that can support interests and education in art studies, natural history, STEM, astronomy, zoology, geology, paleontology, ecology, history, and, of course, Dr. Seuss. Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

LITERATURE/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-5pm. The Emily Dickinson Museum – The collection at the Museum contains more than 8,000 artifacts, including family objects such as artwork, textiles, furniture, dinnerware, and other household items. Comprised of two historic houses in the center of Amherst, the Museum is associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and family members during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through primary source material, support an interest in this local author, sparking a deeper understanding of her life and landscape. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 10am-6pm. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) – One of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA embraces all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. MASS MoCA offers various participatory learning opportunities, including hands-on art-making classes and docent-guided tours. A must-visit for families is Kidspace, a child-centered art gallery and hands-on studio that offers in-depth art education. Visit the ArtBar, a hands-on studio space in Kidspace, to make art or take a project home with you. MASS MoCA. 413-662-2111.1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA.

ART STUDIES. 11am-4pm. Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) – SCMA is recognized as a leading academic museum. Their collection comprises 27,000+ objects, representing the diversity of art and material culture across periods and geographies. Visitors can discover artworks from across periods and geographies in their permanent collection galleries and temporary exhibitions, engaging people with first-hand experiences of art, artists, and museum practice. The museum’s collection ranges from ancient Greek vases to contemporary video art. The works in their permanent collection galleries are regularly rotated, so there’s something new to see each time you visit. Special exhibitions highlight a dynamic range of artworks and artists. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA.

ART STUDIES/ MUSEUM ADVENTURES. 11am-5pm. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum – Located on the Mount Holyoke College campus, this Museum is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value. The Museum offers pre- and post-visit educational materials designed for kids of all ages to maximize their learning potential while exploring the galleries and connecting art with their personal experiences, including walking and activity guides and educator resources. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. 413-538-2245. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA.

🎁 MYO CARDS. 2pm. Holiday Card Making – West Springfield Public Library. 413-736-4561. 200 Park St, West Springfield, MA.

🎄 HOLIDAY STROLL. 2-8pm. It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls – The annual downtown holiday event. Make a Winter Bird Feeder, Pop-Up Gift Shop, Santa, and more. Turners Falls. Avenue A & 3rd Street. Turners Falls, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 4-8pm. Santa’s Trains at Look Park – In collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Model Railroad Club, The Garden House, transformed into a mystical wonderland, will offer all the sights and sounds to capture the season’s magic. Children of all ages will have the chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and explore an enchanted forest of holiday trees and playful miniature villages with model trains whizzing by. Bring your camera and take your holiday photos! Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

MUSIC STUDIES/ CHORAL MUSIC. 4pm. Annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols. Thompson Memorial Chapel. Williams College. Williamstown, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 5-8pm. Santa visits The Russell-Montgomery Police Department – This Holiday season, the big guy will be stopping by the Russell-Montgomery Police Department! The Russell Fire Department will be transporting Santa to the Police Department on their fire truck! 155 Highland Avenue. Russell, MA.

PLACEMAKING/ ART STUDIES. 5-8pm. Arts Night Out – Northampton’s monthly gallery walk and art event. Downtown Northampton, MA.  

HOLIDAY LIGHTS. 5-11pm. Bright Nights at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

🎅 SANTA. 6pm. Pictures with Santa at the farm – Whip City Animal Sanctuary. 413-977-6083. 232 Montgomery Rd, Westfield, MA.

MUSIC STUDIES/ DRUMMING. 6:45pm. The Hilltown Intergenerational Drum Circle – All ages and beginners are welcome to this biweekly drum circle, led by Rosie Fanale. Call to confirm before heading over. Shelburne Senior Center. 413-625-8470. Shelburne Falls, MA.

MUSIC STUDIES/ CHORAL MUSIC. 4pm. Annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols. Thompson Memorial Chapel. Williams College. Williamstown, MA.

MORE EVENTS: Discover more events on Hilltown Families’ Facebook page.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Self-Directed Learning: Language Art/Emily Dickinson

Born December 10, 1830, this Dec 10 is Emily Dickinson’s birthday. By the time Emily Dickinson turned 35 that year, she had produced nearly 2,000 poems we know today. By the time Emily Dickinson turned 35 that year, she had produced nearly 2,000 poems we know today. When you visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, you’ll step into the creative space of one of America’s greatest poets. The Museum includes the Homestead, where Emily Dickinson was born and lived most of her life; The Evergreens, home of the poet’s brother and his family; and three acres of the original Dickinson property in the center of Amherst, MA. While Dickinson wrote most of her poems in her upstairs bedroom, these environments deeply inspired her work. Poems like “Bee, I’m expecting you!” reflect Dickinson’s love of nature. The flowers, birds, animals, and insects that shared her Amherst surroundings were the source of many of her poems, a great way to connect via language arts and the seasons of Western MA.

[RETURN TO TOP]

Weekly eNewsletter

Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.

SubscribeAdvertising & Partnership OpportunitiesLearning Opportunitiesen Español


Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Amherst, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

%d bloggers like this: