The Pioneer Valley is full of opportunities to explore local history. Please check the events calendar often. See Past Events here.
Daily beginning September 28, 2013 — “Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts”
Wright House, Historic Deerfield, Deerfield
This exhibition is part of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture Collaboration.
Historic Deerfield’s newest exhibition, “Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts”, will open to the public on Saturday, September 28, 2013. The semi-permanent exhibition will be featured in the Wright House.
“Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts” explores western Massachusetts’ first 150 years of furniture-making with 58 objects drawn from Historic Deerfield’s collections that exemplify the region’s signature contribution to American design history and the emergence of a national identity. The exhibition is a part of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture collaboration, celebrating the Bay State’s legacy of furniture-making.
The furniture-making traditions in western Massachusetts are the perfect laboratory for exploring the impact of family and landscape on the appearance of manmade goods. While numerous mercantile ties were built by ambitious Connecticut Valley families in Boston, Newport, New York City, and later the China Trade, their extensive cousinage created a kind of corporate whole that improved business and forged identity. At the same time, the north-south flow of the Connecticut River-New England’s “great river”-was a far more powerful current than any east-west political or cultural ties to Boston.
Historic Deerfield’s exhibition will explore the impact of family and landscape on craftsmanship and consumerism through the famous “Hadley” chests of the late 17th century and the other early regional shop traditions that they obscured; the emergence of the consumer revolution, through both local craftsmen and urban imports, on the shoulders of the Valley’s elite “river god” families who funded themselves through agricultural exports and munitions for the colonial wars; the post-American Revolution rise of classicism that largely eclipsed the “river gods” with new consumers and craftsmen who manifest different standards of taste, education, and trading partners enhanced by the Connecticut River’s new canal system; and the 19th-century rise in wealth from burgeoning industry and technology, largely through the metalworking trades, that created yet another wave of consumers and craftsmen anxious to express their newfound wealth in modern ways. These four chapters are deeply rooted in sense of place and together show the importance of reading cultural history through documented objects.
“Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts” is curated by Joshua Lane, Curator of Furniture for Historic Deerfield. The ongoing exhibition will be open daily starting September 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is included with general admission to the museum. Admission is $14 for adults (18+), $7 for children (6-17), free for children under 6, members and Deerfield residents. For more information, please call (413) 775-7214 or visit historic-deerfield.org.
Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture is a collaborative project of Historic Deerfield and ten other institutions that features exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations and publications to celebrate the Bay State’s legacy of furniture-making. Visit fourcenturies.org.
March 1, 2014 thru February 15, 2015 — “Deerfield: A Community of Craftwork in the Early 20th Century Showcases the Work of Deerfield’s Arts & Crafts Community”
Flynt Center, Historic Deerfield
In the early 20th century, the village of Deerfield supported a thriving Arts & Crafts community of metalsmiths, potters, furniture makers, photographers, embroiderers, and basket makers. Frequently inspired by objects from New England’s past, these artisans combined older designs and techniques in new and creative ways to sell to a 20th-century audience. Several of the Deerfield artisans, who were predominantly women, achieved national recognition for their work. The new exhibition, Deerfield: A Community of Craftwork in the Early 20th Century, features more than 30 objects from Historic Deerfield’s collections and includes objects made by Madeline Yale Wynne, Cornelius Kelley, the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework, and the Pocumtuck Basket Makers. The exhibition will be on view from March 1, 2014 – February 15, 2015 in the lobby of the Flynt Center of Early New England Life at Historic Deerfield.
By the end of the 19th century, Deerfield’s agriculture-based economy had been eclipsed by competition from western farms connected by railroads and canals. In addition, the Civil War had claimed many of the town’s young men, creating an older and more female population with fewer resources to maintain the old homesteads. By embracing the tenets of handicraft production and drawing inspiration from the town’s pre-industrial past, residents created beautiful yet utilitarian crafts for summer tourists who traveled to Deerfield.
January thru June 2014 — Genealogy Research Clinics
Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society
Agawam Senior Center, 954 Main St., Agawam, 6 p.m.
Join Fran Malone, President of WMGS, and Dave Robison, Treasurer of WMGS and owner of http://www.oldbones.info for “Genealogy Research Clinics.” Spend some time with genealogy researchers with years of experience using the internet to help get the answers you’re looking for. Time saving research strategies using Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Google and SteveMorse.org among other sites.
Sessions will be held on the third and fourth Thursdays of the month in the computer room of the Agawam Senior Center.
Special note: If you are planning to attend a Genealogy Research Clinic, please be sure to add your name and phone number to our sign-up list. If a clinic needs to be canceled, we will call you.
March 23 thru September 22, 2014 – Steampunk Exhibit
Springfield Armory NHS and the Springfield Museums, Springfield
Blend history, technology and art and you end up with the wildly interesting exhibits of Steampunk. Exhibits feature re-imagined weapons, drawings, and humachines paired with authentic weapons from the Armory’s historic weapons collection. Organized by Steampunk visionary, Bruce Rosenbaum.
March & April 2014 — “Into the Shade/Work & Culture”
Gallery Exhibit, Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St., Holyoke
Opening Reception Saturday, March 8 from 2 to 4pmDeborah Baronas finds that the combination of art and history is especially potent as it can inspire and educate a broad audience. Baronas has captured the lives of Rhode Island and Massachusetts 19th century textile mill workers, domestic servants and tobacco farm field hands, whose cultural histories are reflected in hand stenciled scrims, paintings, artifacts, and other media. These become part of the backdrop and commentary, both literally and figuratively. Meet Deborah Baronas at the opening reception on Saturday, March 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Works on view through April. Admission to the gallery is $3/ members are free.
April 11 thru May 30, 2014 — “The Art of the Hooked Rug: Contemporary Versions of a Traditional Technique”
Contemporary Art at Historic Northampton
Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA.
Curated by Jill St. Coeur. As part of the Contemporary Art at Historic Northampton exhibit series, original hooked rugs by area artists will be exhibited alongside a traditional mid-nineteenth century hooked rug from Historic Northampton’s collection. Like most rugs in the collection, this rug is made using a pre-printed pattern with suggested color schemes. In complete contrast, the contemporary artists featured in the exhibition take a more abstract and personal approach to the hooked rug, creating a wide variety of individualized designs with a bold use of color and hooking techniques unique to each artist.
Rugs, mats or wall hangings are made by pulling loops of wool or yarn through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen or rug warp. Traditional designs for rugs were often commercially produced as patterns commonly depicting flowers, animals or geometric designs. Rug hooking, both an art and a craft, is thought to have been started in the Canadian Maritimes and has been popular in the rest of North America for the past 200 years. Exhibit curator Jill St. Coeur viewed hooked rugs in the collection at Historic Northampton as an inspiration for contemporary work. Her interest in hooking rugs started four years ago, evolving from a lifelong love and appreciation of fabric and textiles. St. Coeur has practiced many of the textile arts in her more than twenty-five-year career as a costume designer. Rug hooking combines her love of surface design, color and texture, allowing her to “paint” with fabric in the process of creating a functional object.
Alongside the circa 1860 hooked rug from the collection of Historic Northampton and other historical memorabilia, the exhibit will include rugs by Jill St. Coeur as well as the self-designed and executed works of area rug artists:
Margaret Bruzelius, Amherst, MA
Deidre Muccio, Northampton, MA
Gary Niswonger, Williamsburg, MA
Sheena See, Florence, MA
Jan Stenson, Florence, MA
Jan Whitaker, Northampton, MA
Arts Night Out Friday, April 11th 5 – 8 pm
Sunday, May 4, 2014 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Joann Gochinski of South Deerfield, MA will talk about the work of the Grenfell Mission, a medical and religious mission founded by Wilfred Grenfell in Newfoundland and Labrador in the late 19th century. He helped support his mission by selling rugs and mats hooked by the women his mission served. Many of these rugs depict scenes of life in the Canadian Maritimes during this time.
Diane Welter of Wool and Dye Works in Florence, MA – a generous sponsor of this exhibit – will talk about hand-sewn rugs and demonstrate a variety of rug hooking techniques. The talk and exhibition will take place in the gallery and are free and open to the public.
Wednesday – Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday, 12 noon – 5 pm
Suggested donation: $3 individuals and $6 families
Contemporary Art at Historic Northampton
The Northampton Center for the Arts, A.P.E. Gallery and Historic Northampton
Sponsorship for The Art of the Hooked Rug provided by Wool and Dye Works of Florence
April 15, 2014 — “History of the Quabbin”
Ramapogue Historical Society
Mittineague Congregational Church, 1840 Westfield Street, West Springfield, 7 p.m.
The Ramapogue Historical Society will present a lecture by J.R. Greene of Athol, on the history of Quabbin. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Mittineague Congregational Church, 1840 Westfield Street, West Springfield. Mr. Greene will narrate slides, giving a brief description of the history of the Boston Water System traveling out of Quabbin. Most of the talk will center around the 4 towns, Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, Prescott, that were taken for the reservoir, what they looked like and what life was like in them. Mr. Greene is the author of more than a dozen books on the subject. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
April 17, 2014 — “From the Great Blasket to America”
Museums a la Carte Lecture Series
Davis Auditorium, Springfield Museums, Springfield, 12:15 p.m.
Michael J. Carney, co-author, Gerald W. Hayes co-author. Mike Carney was born in 1920 on The Great Blasket Island just off the southwest coast of Ireland. Raised under challenging circumstances in that unique and isolated Irish-speaking community, Mike sets out to seek a better future in Dublin – and eventually in Springfield, Massachusetts. The unattended death of his brother from a treatable illness back home set off a chain of events that led to the evacuation of the Island by the government. Mike personally lobbied the great Éamon de Valera to relocate the few remaining Islanders who were living in increasingly desperate conditions. Joining the millions of Irish who emigrated to the United States, Mike settled in Springfield along with two-dozen former Islanders. While taking full advantage of opportunities offered by his adopted country, he never lost his love for the nation of his birth. This is a story of Mike’s persistent efforts to promote Irish culture in America and to preserve the memory of The Great Blasket; to respect and honor roots left behind and to set down new roots in a new land. Both heartbreaking and inspiring, it recounts one man’s life, but speaks to the experience of many.
Thursday, April 24, 2014 – “National Park Service — The Hidden Gems”
Springfield Armory National Historic Site, 2 p.m.
Celebrate National Parks Week with author Julia Lynam, of the recently published book, Treasures on Your Doorstep. A PowerPoint program showcases hundreds of hidden National Park gems across the country.
April 24, 2014 — “The Zeta & Other Bits of Aviation History”
Southampton Historical Society
at the Southampton Senior Center, Southampton, 7 p.m.
The Zeta – It was a neat little airplane, the prototype of a new line of planes built by Miller Aviation, but the Second World War was on the horizon, and the market was changing fast. Pilot Mark Granville made a few pleasure trips with it, but when the war brought an end to civilian flight, he dismantled the wings, and packed the Zeta into the barn of his Southampton house. Then he was called to Connecticut to work with military planes.
After the war, his friend and colleague, Romaine Lambert rescued the Zeta, and the plane began its pilgrimage around Southampton barns, but it never flew again. Lambert donated it to the Springfield Museum of Science, and it now floats over the great hall of the new Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History – - still bright in its original red and grey paint after 75 years.
The story of the Granville brothers and their Gee Bee airplanes is recorded by June Granville Dakin in Farmers Take Flight. She will be the guest of the Southampton Historical Society at the Spring meeting on April 24, along with historian Thomas Nallen, who bring us back to the glory days of the old Springfield airport. Several local pilots and plane builders, as well as Lambert family members will contribute stories of their aviation experiences since then.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Southampton Senior Center. For further information, contact Ruth McCormick at 413 650-3698, or Margaret Walden at 413 527-9692.
April 25, 2014 — “Looking Back”
Folk Music Concert
Village Congregational Church, 32 Main St., Cummington, 7-9 p.m.
Laurie Israel, folksinger, and friends. An evening of Appalachian, Irish, American and Yiddish folk songs, Swedish double fiddle music, American and Yiddish labor songs. By donation.
Steve Bushway, fiddle; Vi Walker, saw and vocals, David Perkins, vocals. Susan Pearson and Alice Schertle, readers.
Village Congregational Church, 32 Main Street, Cummington, Massachusetts, 7 – 9 p.m. Parking in back of Church.
April 25, 2014 — “Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group”
Benefit for the Source to Sea Cleanup of the Connecticut River
Memorial Hall, Shelburne Falls, 7:30 p.m.
The Connecticut River Watershed Council presents Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group. A benefit concert for the annual Source to Sea River Cleanup
Known from NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, Robin & Linda play a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time & acoustic country music. Pat & Tex LaMountain open the show.
General seating $15 VIP reception & seating $35. Tickets available on-line http://www.ctriver.org/concert; phone 800-838-3006
April 26, 2014 — Assoc. for Gravestone Studies Western MA Chapter Meeting
Unitarian Church Hall, Northfield, 10 a.m. to 4-ish
We’ll begin the morning session with Bob Drinkwater’s “Art & Symbolism in the Cemetery” (viewer participation encouraged) and take it from there. We’ll spend the afternoon at one or more local cemeteries. Details and directions to follow . . . If you would like to do a presentation, contact: Bob Drinkwater,firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 26, 2014 — Patriot’s Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade
Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Travel back in time and rediscover the history behind the Patriot’s Day holiday and the “shot heard round the world.” Revolutionary times will come to life through demonstrations of period crafts and activities, fife and drum music, and a parade and muster. Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes and Drums, Knowlton’s Connecticut Rangers and Buckland’s Artillery play a lead role in the day’s activities. Historic Deerfield guides and cooks will interpret open hearth cooking, chocolate’s role in the military, and powder horn carving in the 1786 Hall Tavern. Horse-drawn wagon rides will transport visitors through the village, and all historic houses will be available for touring. Visitors can make a flag to wave during the afternoon parade, and then take it home as a memento. Self-guided “Revolution Walk” tours will be available, as well as family-friendly food.
April 26, 2014 — “A History of Logging Tools in Our Valley”
Pioneer Valley Institute
Shutesbury Town Hall, Shutesbury, 10 a.m.
The Pioneer Valley Institute urges you to join us on Saturday morning, April 26, at 10 o’clock as historian Harry Proudy, of Ashuelot, NH, and logger Steve Puffer, of Shutesbury, MA, discuss the history of logging tools and how these tools were used to harvest timber. Proudy will discuss historic logging tools, focusing on the period from 1920-1950. He will also show a short video of these tools being used. Puffer will discuss his own experiences as a logger using these tools. Light refreshments will be served in the morning.
After a short break for lunch—bring your own brown bag—there will be a hike lasting about an hour into the Paul C. Jones working forest in Shutesbury, a large tract of conserved forest land. Dress for the weather, wear boots, bring water and a lunch.
April 27, 2014 — “Discovering Hawley History & Its Natural Surroundings”
Pioneer Valley Institute
Hawley State Forest, Hawley, noon – 4 p.m.
Join recreational geologist and historian Ed Gregory for this Pioneer Valley Institute walk and talk at noon on Sunday, April 27. The group will meet in parking lot A on the Greenfield Community College campus and carpool from there to Hawley. The cost for the general public is just $5; PVI members and kids under 13 free.
Enjoy a spring visit to the charcoal kiln built in 1870 by Albert Dyer for prominent Hawley farmer, William O. Bassett. The kiln is 25 feet high and 25 feet in diameter, hand-laid and a testament to the builder and his engineering skills. Next, we’ll visit the Old Hawley Town Common. Hawley was incorporated in 1792 and in 1798 the townspeople formed a two-acre town common located on the south side of the county road that bisected the Hawley Bog and went to Plainfield. Later a permanent church would be located on the site. We’ll visit the stone foundations of various dwellings and a tavern that made up the Common. We’ll also have the opportunity to view the geology of the area.
Our return trek will lead us to the legendary Hawley Bog. Seven hundred feet of secure boardwalk affords views of spectacular flora and perhaps some indigenous fauna. Comfortable outdoor attire and footwear is recommended as springtime can be a little wet under foot. Bring water and a snack if you wish. In the event of rain, the hike will be rescheduled for Sunday, May 18, same time. Email Gregory at email@example.com if the weather is uncertain.
May 4, 2014 — Northampton LGBTQ History Walking Tour
Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc.
Behind Thornes Marketplace, Northampton, 1:30 p.m.
Do you know what these places were and where they were located?
The Egg; Dyke Dorms; The Gala; Hover House; Nutcracker Suite; Greasy Gorgon Garage; Ye Rose Tree Inn; Green Street Cafe; Common Womon Club; … and more
Can you name the LGBTQ-owned businesses in Northampton today? Be in the know about Northampton Queer history!
A fascinating walking tour that reveals the untold history of the Northampton, Massachusetts LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community will take place on Sunday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. and you are invited! Offered by the Sexual Minorities Archives as a benefit for the non-profit Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation (SMEF), Inc., the 2-1/2-hour walking tour, Journey Through Lesbian Mecca, will include more than 45 stops concentrated in a 3-mile area in and around downtown Northampton. Many of the locations on the tour were sites of organizations and businesses in the 1970s through the early 2000s that helped shape the LGBTQ community’s emergence in the area and the city to establish its national reputation as a welcoming place for LGBTQs. The tour will also cover sites as old in history as 1899, and spaces owned or operated by LGBTQ people today.
To develop the tour, research was conducted by volunteers at the Sexual Minorities Archives, a national collection of LGBTQ literature, history, and art located in Northampton; and at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. Elizabeth Kent, M.A., Brandeis University and Smith College alumna, and Bet Power, Executive Director of SMEF, Inc. and Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives, will guide the walking tour.
In 1995, author Michael Lowenthal wrote, “Northampton is something of a lesbian Mecca, to which all dykes must make at least one pilgrimage during their lives.’” Today there are scarce few lesbians, gay men, trans people, bisexuals, and queers living in the U.S. who have never passed through Northampton or lived here at some point in time.
Even sites of lesbian graffiti once located in the city will be covered. The tour will swing through locations both in the city and on the Smith College campus.
Registration is limited to 30 people. The requested donation is $20 general and $10 for seniors ages 60+, students, and low-income individuals. Please arrive at 1:30 p.m. to check in. The tour will step off promptly at 2:00 p.m. Meet up with the tour group at 1:30 p.m. behind Thornes Marketplace to the right of the entrance to the parking garage. Parking in the Armory Street lot and on the streets is FREE on Sunday! To reserve your place or for more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-584-7616. Tour-goers may pay in advance or on the day of the tour. To pay in advance, endorse a check for your donation to: SMEF, Inc. and mail it to: SMEF, Inc., P.O. Box 1023, Northampton, MA 01061-1023.
May 7, 2014 — “Celebration of Local Novelists”
Local History/Local Novelists Series
Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton, 7 p.m.
Deborah Noyes, novelist, Captivity
Jacqueline Sheehan, novelist, Picture This
Hilary Sloin, novelist, Art on Fire
May 12, 2014 — “Explore the Writer Within”
A Personalized Writing Workshop with Roland Merullo
Meekins Library, Williamsburg, 7 – 9:30 p.m.
* Getting started;
* Overcoming obstacles to writing
* Identifying the kind of piece you want to write
* Discuss your specific project writing plan
* Receive advice about your own work at any stage
OPEN TO WRITERS OF ANY LEVEL OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
Merullo is the award winning author of: Taking the Kids to Italy, Vatican Waltz, The Talk Funny Girl, A Little Love Story, Breakfast with Buddha, Fidel’s Last Days, American Savior, Revere Beach Trilogy, Russian Requiem, Golfing with God, and others.
Suggested Donation $50
Please call to sign up 413-268-7472, or email: email@example.com
This is a Benefit for the Meekins Library, Honoring Retiring Director Lisa Wenner. All proceeds will go to the Meekins Library Annual Fund.
May 15, 2014 — “Guns in Early America: Busting the Myth of Colonial Sharpshooters”
Hatfield Historical Society
Congregational Church Parlors, Hatfield, 7:30 p.m.
Author and Amherst College history professor, Kevin Sweeney, will talk about the ownership and use of firearms in colonial America. For the past decade, Kevin has been researching the reality behind the popular image of well-armed colonists who were skilled firearms users. What types of guns and projectiles did they actually own and use, and what type of marksmen were they? Join us and find out!
May 22, 2014 — “Miles Morgan: Man & Myth”
Museums a la Carte Lecture Series
Davis Auditorium, Springfield Museums, Springfield, 12:15 p.m.
Frances Gagnon, Springfield Historian. Adorning Springfield’s Court Square since 1882, the bronze statue of early settler Miles Morgan was the city’s first public art work. When first proposed by descendant and banker, Henry T. Morgan, a great controversy erupted and triggered a heated debate about Miles Morgan’s place in Springfield history. Some felt the tribute was not sufficiently deserved, while other emphasized that this early, but not original settler had contributed to the growth of the settlement in valuable ways. The Morgan gift awakened an awareness of local history despite the argument about Miles’ true role. Actual records show him to be a forthright, hardworking man unable to write his own name while holding various town offices. He came from modest means and was respected by all. Several later biographical sketches describe Miles glowingly as something of a swashbuckling military hero and powerful leader on par with founder William Pynchon. This conflicts with records that define him as a Sergeant and not a Captain . . . and early settler, but not an original founder. The program will draw contrasts about the man and the myths created about him. It is easy to conclude that Miles Morgan was interesting enough to stand the test of time without embellishment and Springfield can proudly claim him as progenitor of many generations of Morgans.
June 2, 2014 — “Never Done: Interpreting the History of Women at Work in Massachusetts”
Mass Humanities History Conference
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester
Details to come.
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