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Pothole Pictures presents “Root Hog or Die” May 17th & 18th in Shelburne Falls, MA Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17th & 18th at 7:30pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in… Read More

Chester On Track Celebrates 174th Anniversary Saturday, May 18th, 2013 Chester, MA Celebrate the 174th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Chester, MA. Chester became a significant railroad hub during the age of steam. 150 men worked around the clock at the roundhouse maintaining the “pusher” engines to move passengers and freight up and over the Berkshire Hills westward. Visit with living history re-enactors and explore the stories of the… Read More

Greenfield’s Lost Museum: Dexter Marsh and the Dinosaur Tracks Many local people know that Dexter Marsh (1806-1853), quarrier — stonemason, janitor, handyman, and jack-of-all-trades in 19th-century Greenfield, MA — was among the first to discover dinosaur footprints, but how many know that he opened one of the first dinosaur museums in the country? In 1835, when he first saw the prints, he thought they had been left by very large birds —… Read More

Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade Historic Deerfield Saturday, April 13th, 2013 Go back in time and learn all about the Revolutionary War at Historic Deerfield this weekend!  The museum’s Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster and Parade offers a chance to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of 18th century New England, just as the Revolutionary War was beginning.  Families will find numerous ways to learn and experience history for themselves,… Read More

Note 23, History For an upcoming issue of Preview Massachusetts Magazine, I was in Northampton interviewing a chef and a restaurant owner this week. It’s a space he relatively recently took over and we were recalling together what it had been in its last incarnation. That evening, my husband and I strained to recall what it had been before that. We couldn’t remember. I arrived in the Valley in 1981 as a… Read More

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles History of Transportation in the Pioneer Valley One of the best ways to learn about the changes that historical events and innovative inventions create is by studying local history.  By learning about broad concepts and eras within history, we can gain an understanding of how things changed on a large scale.  However, to really understand how these changes were played out on a smaller scale, we must examine… Read More

In honor of Black History Month I want to share an extraordinary book about an extraordinary human being: Carver, a life in poems (Front Street, 2001) is an intimate portrait of the botanist, inventor, scientist, artist, musician, and teacher, known as George Washington Carver. Written by acclaimed poet, Marilyn Nelson, the book takes us through Carver’s life in a series of narrative poems told from the voices of the people who knew… Read More

Blogging the Days in the Life of William Cobbett Skinner 1888 Journal is posted online as the year unfolds. In 1888, William Cobbett Skinner was 31 years old, working under his father’s guidance at Skinner and Sons Manufacturing in Holyoke, MA. Wistariahurst Museum’s blog entries will track Will’s 1888 journal. Each week new entries will be transcribed and uploaded to the Wistariahurst Museum website for interested readers to follow. “The journal entries… Read More

Be Mine: Chocolate and Valentines The Roots of Valentine’s Day Traditions Old Sturbridge Village: Feb. 9th & 10th [02/08/13 UPDATE: OSV will be closed Sat., Feb. 9th and opened Sun. Feb. 10th] The tradition of having chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a longstanding one – it has been around since the early days of New England, even!  Today’s Valentine’s traditions tend not to involve a lot of homemade chocolate or laborious preparations,… Read More

The Kimball-Salisbury Women: Chicago to Tor Court Local History & Fashion from the Gilded Age Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA Learn about the Gilded Age’s local influence at the Berkshire Historical Society at Arrowhead!  The historical society is hosting an exhibit of items and artifacts from the lavish time period, including exquisite gowns worn by and photographs of the Kimball-Salisbury family, owners of one of the many Gilded Age “cottages” found in the… Read More

Underground Railroad Quiz Listen to the HFVS Podcast Before Taking Lloyd Miller from the Deedle Deedle Dees writes: Our friends at the Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) put together a special program all about the Underground Railroad. Our songs “Underground Railroad” and “Henry Box Brown” are on it. So are great versions of traditional songs by Taj Mahal and Bill Harley, a story read by Morgan Freeman and much more. Listen to… Read More

A Celebration of Speech Women all ages have powerful voices – and lots to say!  Women’s perspectives on everything from politics to human rights, sustainability to public education are crucial to sound policy making and cultural change.  Historically, women have put up a strong fight in order to make their voices heard – and Women’s Voices Worldwide is celebrating their voices and inviting girls and women to participate. Women, teens and girls… Read More

American Centuries: Views from New England Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield Offers Online Educational Resources on American Village History Western Massachusetts today is home to scores of artists and artisans – a fact that brings visitors from near and far to see the unique and interesting products and pieces being created in the region.  Art has been a common thread amongst local residents for decades, and it could perhaps be said that… Read More

History and Traditions for the Holidays The holiday season is full of opportunities to teach your kids about the origins of holiday traditions, getting a glimpse into history and cultures.  The Historic Deerfield and Old Sturbridge Village offer opportunities throughout December for holiday history lessons that are fun and engaging! HISTORIC DEERFIELD: Heritage Holiday Historical Deerfield has a month long series of traditional festive activities for families to enjoy in December. Visitors… Read More

Old Sturbridge Village hosts Christmas by Candlelight Celebration of favorite holiday traditions, music & food Nine evening events set for Dec. 7-9; 14-16; 21-23 Take a break from the overwhelming wave of commercialized holiday “spirit” that the post-Thanksgiving season brings – visit Old Sturbridge Village for Christmas by Candlelight, which offers an incredibly wide variety of family-friendly holiday activities, performances, demonstrations, readings, crafts, and more!  Villagers dressed in period costume will share… Read More

Hurricane Sandy and Halloween Offer Learning Opportunities Online Hurricane Sandy might have schools closed while we await her arrival, but the learning can continue at home (so long as you have power!). Check out these online resources to brush up on math, chemistry, physiology, language arts and world & local history: MATH After you’ve battening down the shutters and have prepared your home & family for Hurricane Sandy (and still have power),… Read More

Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst through Dec 7, 2012 When segregation was still a part of American life (and legal, too), African-American baseball players were shut out of American League baseball.  As a result, over 200 independent teams were formed, their rosters full of talented players. Today, many of these players and their teams are remembered in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s traveling… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these… Read More

The Holyoke History Walk: A Virtual Tour of the City Have you ever walked, biked, or driven through downtown Holyoke and wondered about the history of the city’s numerous old buildings?  Each empty mill, towering church, and brick rowhouse tells a story of the city’s past.  An exploration of Holyoke’s history reveals a rich, diverse, and complicated history.  Visitors to Holyoke can now learn about the city’s history themselves – from home… Read More

The Story of Film: An Odyssey Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA Oct 18 – Dec 13, 2012 The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema is offering an in-depth look at the history of films!  The cinema will screen The Story of Film: An Odyssey in eight parts on Thursdays between October 18th and December 13th, starting with “Birth of Cinema:” The series, which totals just over 15 hours in length, has been divided into… Read More

Ghost town, fiber arts, sauerkraut and more! An Inside Look at Hatfield’s Fall Festival by Kathie Gow If you’re looking for a traditional New England Fall Festival with bits of local history, antique cars, art and archaeology thrown in, then Hatfield’s Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 11am-3pm is the place. I’m biased, of course, because I’m curator of one of the two museums involved, but I’m also a frugal, busy… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these… Read More

Westfield Colonial Harvest Day Saturday, Sept 29th, 2012 Take a step – a BIG one – back in time to 1669!  The city of Westfield is hosting the 8th annual Colonial Harvest Day this weekend – the event celebrates the history and culture of the city’s 17th century self. Downtown Westfield will be alive with Revolutionary War reenactments, a Harvest Hoedown accompanied by a fiddle contest and other live music, colonial games… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these… Read More

Visit Historic Deerfield this Fall for Fun Seasonal Activities with Your Family Historic Deerfield is a lovely place to visit any time of the year – but the fall is definitely a most special time. In addition to visiting historic homes and collections, visitors on weekends will enjoy involvement in hands-on activities on a variety of topics. Open Hearth Cooking and Historic Trade demonstrations are featured on Saturdays, Sept-Nov, 2012. Highlights this… Read More

Exploring North Quabbin The Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts, source of clean drinking water for the Boston metropolitan area, holds years and years of interesting history.  The body of water is vast, and is home to lots of fascinating plant and animal life, as well as hidden gems like small old buildings, stone walls, historic farmstead, waterfalls, Native American history and much more. Families can explore and learn about the Quabbin area… Read More

Berkshire Museum presents Rethink! American Indian Art Striking Contemporary Art & Significant Historic Objects The Berkshire Museum presents, “Rethink! American Indian Art,” an exhibit featuring art, artifacts, and educational materials expressing the rich skills and crafting traditions of Native American nations, from July 7, 2012 – January 6, 2013 in Pittsfield, MA. The exhibit features not only a history of Native American artistry, but also includes contemporary pieces showing the evolution of… Read More

Tales from the Trail: Four Centuries of Travels Along the Mohawk Trail By Gabriel Abbott Memorial School Students (Florida, MA) The Mohawk Trail has been an important transportation route to communities across the northwestern part of Massachusetts for hundreds of years.  Though the types of vehicles used for transportation and the purpose of transportation have changed, the Mohawk Trail remains an important route through the Western Massachusetts. Students from Gabriel Abbott Memorial… Read More

Western Mass Jobs for Justice Presents Making History: A Visual Series Holyoke Heritage Park on Tuesdays in July Western Mass Jobs for Justice is offering a series of films, photographs, and other images that address issues of labor history, industry, and what it means to work.  The series will include both fictional films and documentaries, including, “Salt of the Earth,” a fictional film about Chicano zinc miners in New Mexico and, “Farewell… Read More

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