Hilltown Families

World History and the Dandelion

Once respected around the world for its nutritional value and medicinal properties, today, the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is seen by many...

What was your childhood passion? Jump roping? Star Wars collectibles? Baking in an Easy Bake Oven? Whatever was your favorite toy then and now, you’re sure to find it in Toytopia,...

For some, Memorial Day is a deeply personal holiday, a day for remembering those who have served the people of our country. Participating in Memorial Day celebrations and ceremonies can also...

While visitors to Eastern Massachusetts can walk the Freedom Trail, learn about the Boston Tea Party, or tour the home of Paul Revere, folks in Western Massachusetts can explore the history...

March is Women’s History Month, a national observation that honors and pays tributes to those women who dedicated their lives to social justice, the environment, education, and positive change for...

Sugaring season has been a New England tradition since practically forever. It was written about by English settlers as early as the mid-1600’s, and was a Native American harvest long before...

Families can experience what maple sugaring was like in the days of old New England at living history events where museum interpreters dressed in period clothing demonstrate life and skills from...

One way to get some inspiration for your next winter culinary adventure is to visit living history museums to experience daily living routines and food preparations from the 19th century. ...

Presidents’ Day celebrates the life and work of George Washington. Although Washington’s birthday is on February 22nd, the holiday is celebrated on the third Monday to allow us to enjoy a...

Did you know that Calvin Coolidge, the U.S.’s 30th President, attended Amherst College and was mayor of Northampton in the early 1900’s? We have our very own slice of U.S. Presidential...

In 19th century New England, the winter season was a time for gathering and socializing with family, friends, and neighbors. As the fields lay dormant in anticipation off the agricultural season,...

Think about this: What are the tools used in sculpting ice? What are the challenges ice sculptors face that other sculptors of different media don’t? How would families and neighbors gather in the...

February is National African American History Month in the United States. It is a time to honor the work, achievements, and contributions of African Americans. Literature, art, and community-based resources share...

In addition to literary explorations of African Americans’ creativity and contributions to U.S. literature, explore African American History Month in Western Massachusetts through the different cultural organizations and institutions that educate...

The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History & Underground Railroad in Florence, MA, in another community-based resource in Western Massachusetts to supporting learning about African American History. The center offers...

Ice harvesting is an industry of the past, and one whose roots lie only in cold climates – like western Massachusetts! Done both as a necessity in early New England and...

Local museums are an experiential way to explore the history of New England holiday traditions and how our present customs were influenced by the cultural practices of the past. Whether you’re...

Massachusetts was a central part of the United States’ early formation. As one of the original colonies, many of the patriots that participated in the Revolutionary War were from Massachusetts....

During the American Civil War, poet Walt Whitman spent time visiting hospitalized soldiers wounded on the battlefield. He traveled with soldiers from one hospital to another and visited wounded soldiers...

Living history programs and events in Western Massachusetts happen all year round and include local historical re-enactors portraying the life of New Englanders centuries ago at encampments and school programs. ...

It’s that time of year when the fall harvest begins to wane and a golden light fills the landscape, shining on the incredible bounty that is about to enter our homes...

In New England, a common cured meat was dried and salted cod. Like the prosciutto in Italy, the cod in New England was traditionally dried and salted. When the cod...

Local Hauntings Hauntings and history go together because ghosts are often traditionally seen as apparitions that once lived and therefore represent a past not entirely forgotten because it crosses realms and...

Cemetery Tours An experiential way to learn about local history while satisfying an intrigue for ghost stories is to participate in a guided cemetery tour. With some local cemeteries pushing their...

Graveyard Tours Support an Interest in Local History and Cultural Studies Graveyards are filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history. Everything from the names of buried people to the...

Haunted Building and Tours Support Curiosity, and Learning! Towns across Western Massachusetts have tales of haunted historic buildings, ghost sightings, and supernatural suspicions that lead people to wonder whether a place...

Did you know that for almost 50 years (1800-1850), broom corn was the primary commercial farm product made in the Connecticut River Valley, prior to tobacco and onions? Hatfield Historical Society...

In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England than modern day education. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. 19th...

Here in Western Massachusetts there are many preserved historic school houses people can visit to learn more about schooling and education before the 20th century. Here are six historic schoolhouses to...

An interest in one-room schoolhouses can be a lens into learning about New England history, education, and local industry. Here are three free community-based events coming up this month that supports...