Hilltown Families


Animals are a common interest among children. Whether they’re in love with cats of all shapes and sizes or fascinated by the destructive power of a shark’s jaws, children can learn a lot through having an interest in creatures. In utilizing the numerous animal-related community-based learning resources available locally, families can support children of all ages in learning about everything from biological classification to compassion. Summer opens up these opportunities and is the perfect time to seek out animal demonstrations, visit the zoo, or learn about biology through volunteering at a shelter.

A beloved Western Mass historical institution opens its door for its 66th season when Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum takes us on a tour of 3 centuries worth of rural life. A gorgeous setting on the Connecticut River, the Museum hosts many interesting programs including the family friendly music series- ideal for a summer picnic.

April is just the start of exciting events at the Emily Dickinson Museum, with family friendly opportunities to explore the museum and educator programs throughout the coming months. There are so many ways to get close to one of America’s greatest poets.

Young Hampshire College alumni are presenting their work on culture, sustainability, and history this month at the Hampshire College Art Gallery.

With more than 1,700 specimens, including dinosaur skeletons and footprints, the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College is one of New England’s treasures. Admission is free and a visit always promises “wow” moments for children and their families. Read more in our monthly column, “Museum Adventures.”

Looking at art and material culture gives parents and children an opportunity to make discoveries together and create shared experiences. Museums allow us to engage with distant cultures, imagine times long past, and reinterpret our own experiences. Professional museum educators have developed a series of tips that will help you get the most out of your next museum visit!

10 Learning Adventures with Museums10 this Holiday Season Don’t stay cooped up this winter! Museum adventures await you—make art with your children, enjoy contemporary art yourself, take in a gallery talk, or join in a game of table top nine pins. There is something to explore at each of the Museums10 member institutions during December, and beyond! 

Celebrate National Picture Book Month this November with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Special story times, performances, a day all about Alice in Wonderland, and more await you and your family.

Explore archaeology, open hearth cooking, colonial life, and so much more at Historic Deerfield this October. Who knew there were so many fun (and tasty!) ways to get to know history?

For 40 years the UMCA has been leading the way for art and art education, and their exciting exhibitions this fall showcase the talent of dynamic artist Chuck Close, as well as the insightful work of Anne Beresford.

The Smith College Museum of Art has seen a lot of exciting activity this summer, with renovations to the lower level that will be unveiled in October, offering new ways for visitors to experience their delightful collection of art. The Museum also revamped their admission prices and will now be free of charge for children 18 and under, making it that much more family friendly and accessible.

Experience, investigate, and explore world-class art and hidden treasures at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. In July, families can travel the world without ever leaving the area through the Mead’s family workshops and open house days. Enjoy art-making, guest performances, tours, and more—all of it free and open to all.

This month in “Museum Adventures: Highlights from Western MA Museum Educators,” Maureen Turner shares highlights from the Yiddish Book Center. Visitors to the Center don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although by visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (nosh, schmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more!

Anytime arts & cultural organizations collaborate the results are likely to be greater than the sum of the equal parts. Museums10 is a powerhouse of creativity in the Western Mass region- a group of 10 museums committed to strategically enriching the cultural life of the region. And they’re celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Read on about how this creative collaboration works and flourishes.

A thought-provoking art installation at the Springfield Museums’ Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is now open! Drawing from the well of magnificent western Massachusetts artists, this take on American domesticity comes from Berkshire resident, Ricky Bernstein. The subject matter is certainly an intrigue that invites discussion on pop art through stereotypically-American domestic scenes. However, since this is an installation that works outside the format of a formal exhibit, we are afforded an opportunity to watch how art works with its space. That is the tantalizing thing about installation art: it takes into account the surroundings it is being shown in. They are generally more labor intensive to exhibit and are a stimulating experience for the whole family to enjoy!

Read more and make plans to visit the many fine art museums we have here in western Massachusetts this summer with your family!

Mead Art Museum in Amherst, MA, is now offering monthly Family Fun Days, making museum-based learning not only more accessible for families with younger children, but a whole lot of fun too…

Museums10 has release a new seasonal brochure to highlight the fall and winter displays and exhibitions at ten cultural, historical, and educational institutions throughout the Pioneer Valley. Download a copy here…

Summer Highlights at The Clark Williamstown, MA American art takes center stage this summer at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, crowning a summer schedule that provides an exceptionally lively program of events and activities. Headlining the season are two special exhibitions opening June 9: Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History and George Inness: Gifts from Frank and Katherine Martucci. Both exhibitions are open until September 8. This summer also marks… Read More

Engaging Experiences at the Berkshire Museum When you think of the Berkshires, images of the green and blanketed Tanglewood lawn may come to mind, or the beautiful colors of fall in the Hilltowns, but the Berkshires don’t close up shop for the winter! The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA has a busy winter season planned, with engaging new exhibitions, hands-on public programming, and lots of opportunities for family fun and learning. The… Read More

Last Days of Summer at the Springfield Museums We’re down to those last, bittersweet weeks of summer before fall routines gets re-established and school begins, and most of us have had that week’s vacation away elsewhere. So it may be a good time to plan a family day trip. Here’s my thoughts about what’s fun and educational at the Springfield Museums during these last few weeks of summer. For adults there’s the… Read More

Museums10 Gears up for Fall Education Outreach This fall as area colleges and schools get ready to welcome students and families, Museums10, a collaboration of 10 college-affiliated museums in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, announces fall activities to interest visitors of all ages. “Museums10 is an excellent resource and destination for area educators and students to explore the worlds of art, history, literature and science,” said Alexandra Kennedy, Executive Director of… Read More

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Our most pristine days have been reserved for traditional summer activities like turning on the sprinkler, slurping popsicles and tossing food on the grill. It takes a heat wave to tear us away from simplest of summer pleasures like swimming with friends and running through the splash pad. We are relishing every moment of these lazy summer days. Three boys, three school schedules and… Read More

Question and Answer We have so many wonderful museums here in Western MA! Which local museum did your family visit last? What did you see? What did you do? Jennilynne Bernard writes: Eric Carle… right ’round the corner from me, and always a great time. Robin Sidel writes: Natural History Museum at Amherst College. It’s FREE and awesome! dinosaurs and crystals! Rae Griffiths writes: The Springfield Science Museum. Reptiles: The Beautiful and… Read More

Smithsonian Magazine’s 6th Annual Museum Day Mark your calendars: Smithsonian magazine’s sixth annual Museum Day is this Saturday, September 25th, 2010. Participating museums and cultural institutions nationwide will open their doors free of charge to all visitors who download the Museum Day Ticket from Smithsonian.com. Download your ticket and then head to one of the eight locations in Western MA to explore with the family … for free! Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum… Read More

Lisa Downing of the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA writes: Free admission to area museums is as easy as a visit to the Forbes Library. Now in the fifth year, the library’s museum pass program enables patrons to borrow a free admission pass to the Children’s Museum of Holyoke, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Historic Deerfield, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts State Parks, Norman Rockwell Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, Springfield… Read More

%d bloggers like this: