The Pioneer Valley is full of opportunities to explore local history. Please check the events calendar often.
For Events that run for multiple days and times, like exhibits and shows, see our “On-Going Events” page.
See Past Events here.
Tuesday 29 November 2016 – “The Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Record”
UMass Amherst Department of History
Herter Hall 601, UMass Amherst, 6 p.m.
A panel discussion with Veronica McNair, Elaine Arsenault, Donald Perry, and Jafet Robles. These four western Massachusetts residents will share their experiences with incarceration, providing a first-hand, human perspective on the effects of being directly impacted by the carceral state. 6pm, Herter Hall 601, UMass Amherst.
29 November 2016 — “Where’s Harry?”
Academy of Music, Northampton, 5:30 p.m.
Did you know that a trap door was once cut into the stage at the Academy of Music in Northampton for Harry Houdini’s disappearing act? Or that Frankenstein’s monster himself, Boris Karloff, appeared at the 123-year-old theater? And, come see the recently discovered and conserved 1913 Tuttle scenic curtain to learn more during a history tour led by Academy Board Member Gail Yacuzzo, November 29, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. Free; reservations required. 584-9032, ext. 105.
1 December 2016 — “Arts Night Plus Evening”
Amherst History Museum, 67 Amity St., Amherst, 5 – 8 p.m.
We are pleased to introduce you to Kitty Burns Florey with a pre-publication book party for her new novel Amity Street. Set in 1892 on our street, the scope of the novel includes the social and political upheavals of the 1890s — among them the suffrage movement, the Rational Dress Society, and the conventions of courtship. It also encompasses the taming of a hawk, the right way to train a voice, how to make rhubarb wine, and — most of all — the many ways to define home.
2 December 2016 — “Saints and Sinners: The Second Parish Congregational Church in Deerfield in the 19th Century.”
History Bites Lunchtime Lecture Series
Amherst History Museum, 67 Amity St., Amherst, 12:15 p.m.
Peter Thomas, Church Historian, will present “Saints and Sinners: The Second Parish Congregational Church in Deerfield in the 19th Century.” Members of a Congregational Church would enter into a Covenant with God and other members of the church “to walk together in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, [and in the next breath also] agreed to watch ourselves and one another in the spirit of meekness, tenderness, and Christian fidelity.” Come see how you might measure up to the expected standards of conduct. Lecture begins at 12:15.
2 December 2016 — “Merry Maple Celebration”
Amherst History Museum, 67 Amity St., Amherst, 5 – 8 p.m.
when Santa visits the Simeon Strong House from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Have your photo taken with Santa & enjoy cider and cookies too.
3 December 2016 — Commonwealth Historical Collaborative Catablog Focus Group
Pioneer Valley History Network
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Assn., Memorial Dr., Deerfield, 2 p.m.
PVHN wants you to hear about an exciting project called the Commonwealth Historical Collaborative Catablog. It is a no-cost, low effort, database, hosted at UMass Amherst, that will assist organizations such as yours to have an internet presence and let others know what topics your collections cover, and how to access them. PVHN is currently conducting three focus groups at which the Catablog will be presented. These meetings will include folks like yourself who can represent the needs and challenges of local history and civic organizations. In addition, you can learn more about the free Commonwealth Historical Catablog and see if it makes sense for you organization to participate in it. Also, we will make a $40 contribution to your organization for your time and effort.
If you, or someone in your organization, would like to attend this Focus Group, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please respond immediately if you’d like to attend as each group is limited to fifteen people.
3 December 2016 — “A Northampton Journey: From Pumps to Politics to Print”
Book Launch: The Pilot’s Satchel
Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, 2 p.m.
Jim Cahillane‘s Irish grandmother came to Northampton as a young woman and worked at Smith College before returning to Ireland, marrying, and having ten children. The oldest, Jim’s dad James, retraced his mother’s footsteps in 1930, met his future wife, Imogene Smith, while working at The Northampton State Hospital, earned local fame as a Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion, and rented a King Street gas station in 1934, using his boxing moniker for his business, Jim Callahan’s Tire & Battery Service. Imogene graduated from Northampton Commercial College and became the bookkeeper for their growing firm. In 1953 James defeated the incumbent mayor and moved into the City Hall corner office once occupied by Calvin Coolidge and the next year led the city through its Tercentennial as one of only two Irish-born mayors in the U.S.
In his latest book of poems, The Pilot’s Satchel, Jim recounts his dreams of worldly travels, books, theater, life, and near-death medical tales over a three-month odyssey of local hospitals and rehabs, and conjectures their relations to events in his life: emigration, boxing, political races, City Hall itself, Union Street jail, Halligan and Daley, the auto business, and much more. Mr. Cahillane will read selections from this book and recount stories of the family’s rich local history.
Jim’s earlier books include The Best Place of All: An Irish-American Memoir of Pluck, Luck & Automobiles, a prize-winning Florence Poets Society book, A Winter Offering, A Second Collection, and On History’s Front Steps: One Irish clan’s exploits in Northampton, Massachusetts and The Paradise of America.
Jim and his wife, Maureen, a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Northampton, England, live in Williamsburg. This program is free and open to the public.
4 December 2016 — “Amos Newport — A Hatfield Slave Who Just Wanted to Be Free”
David Ruggles Center, 225 Nonotuck St., Florence, 2 p.m.
A Talk by Robert Romer.
Amos Newport, born in Africa, captured as a boy and sold to a Hatfield farmer in 1729, went to court in 1766 to sue his owner for freedom. This talk will focus on his determined, though unsuccessful, quest for freedom. AND on some of his many descendants – some born in colonial times, some born in the 21st century.
Robert Romer, physicist and historian, taught physics at Amherst College and then, on “retirement” in 2001, began a new career, studying the history of slavery in the valley and of the black community in Amherst. He is the author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts (Levellers Press, 2009) and The History of Hope Church in Amherst (2013), a manuscript held at the Special Collections Departments of Jones Library and Amherst College’s Frost Library. He was the 2012 recipient of the Amherst Historical Society’s Conch Shell Award, for distinguished contributions to the history of the town of Amherst.
4 December 2016 — “The Wampum Trail: Restorative Research in Native American Collections”
Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge St., Northampton, 2 p.m.
A talk by Margaret Bruchac, University of Pennsylvania.
The Wampum Trail research project examines the use of northeastern Native American quahog and whelk shell beads for adornment, ritual, and diplomacy.
During the early 1600s, wampum beads were widely used in trading exchanges in the Connecticut River Valley, but wampum’s significance was more than merely monetary. Native artisans used distinctive weaving techniques (with sinew, leather, and hemp), bead selections (including glass, stone, and other anomalous beads), and patterns (both abstract and figurative) to construct belts that recorded important material and diplomatic relationships. By re-visiting archival sources and analyzing the construction of mysterious wampum beads and belts in museum collections, Dr. Bruchac has recovered many previously overlooked material details. She also consults with present-day indigenous wampum-keepers to develop effective strategies for recovering other hidden Native American object histories in museum collections. For more information, see her research blog, On the Wampum Trail, and her articles on the Penn Museum Blog, Beyond the Gallery Walls.
Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac (of Abenaki Indian descent) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Associate Professor of Cultural Heritage, and Coordinator of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2003-2010, she served as the Five College Repatriation Research Liaison, and from 1998-2010, she served as a Trustee of Historic Northampton. Dr. Bruchac has received research fellowships from the School for Advanced Research, Ford Foundation, American Philosophical Society, and Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Her publications include: “Native Presence in Nonotuck and Northampton,” in A Place Called Paradise: Culture and Community in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1654-2004 (edited by Kerry Buckley, University of Massachusetts Press, 2004); “Lost and Found: NAGPRA, Scattered Relics and Restorative Methodologies” in Museum Anthropology (2010); and Indigenous Archaeologies: A Reader in Decolonization (with Siobhan Hart and H. Martin Wobst, Left Coast Press, 2010).
This talk is free and open to the public and will take place at Historic Northampton at 46 Bridge Street in downtown Northampton.
4 December 2016 — Holiday Open House
Keep Homestead Museum, 35 Ely Rd., Monson, 1 – 3:30 p.m.
The annual event will feature the house decorated for the season, delicious refreshments and a holiday sing-a-long with Gay Paluch at the piano and Linda Day on the violin.
After moving to Monson in 2017, Paluch has been active in several community organizations as a volunteer. These include the Friends of the Monson Free Library, the Monson Arts Council, the First Church of Monson, and the Brimfield Area Master Singers as an accompanist. Her collection of poetry, Just This Morning, was published in 2011. Day is a retired orchestra violinist and has taught violin and viola for almost 30 years. Since moving to Monson from Austin, Texas, she has been teaching at her home and at Hitchcock Free Academy in Brimfield. She also performs for weddings and other functions as well as for communion Sundays at the Methodist church.
Tour the museum and marvel at the items collected by the Keep family who lived there for over 150 years. There is furniture, silver and cut glass, collections of rocks, minerals and shells, quilts and other needlework done by the women of the family, along with the extensive button collection (the pride of the museum). Visit the bedroom that Charles and Pearl Keep moved into on their wedding day in 1893 and that has the original wallpaper, carpet, furniture and the bill-of-sale for the furniture.
This event is free-of-charge, although donations are accepted. For more information, call 413-267-4137, email email@example.com or visit the web atwww.keephomesteadmuseum.org
NOTE: The Keep Homestead Museum will be closed for the winter, starting December 7 in order to save fuel. No meetings or tours will be held until March 1, 2017. The trails are open daily before dusk, for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; and new maps are in the parking lot. The Alan Robert Phillips Sculpture Garden is also open; handouts are on a post to the right of the house. For information: 413-267-5210
10 December 2016 — “Christmas in Our National Parks”
Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield, 2 p.m.
In conjunction with the National Park Service Centennial, join Park Ranger Susan Ashman for her holiday presentation, “Christmas In Our National Parks.” The program begins at 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Holiday music and light refreshments will follow the program. Admission is free.
Find out how heritage National Park sites celebrate Christmas. From illuminations and Victorian houses decorated for the holidays to Polar Express themed train rides and sunrise and sunset walks – there is something for everyone. The holidays are a great time to highlight some of our lesser known parks, especially our historic sites. When people mention National Parks, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc. come to mind. Many people don’t realize that there are 413 units in the National Park Service and visitors might be surprised to discover how close one is to them.
Join Ranger Ashman for the 5th annual holiday program at the Springfield Armory. She will use the current special National Park Service Centennial exhibit as the theme for this year’s Christmas experience. Park Rangers throughout the country are encouraging visitors to get outside and to “Find Your Park”. Ranger Ashman says,
“I enjoy hearing visitors share their memories of their experiences at our National Parks.
Highlighting our parks during the Christmas season makes it even more special. I enjoy the interactions I have with the visitors and you never know when I am going to sneak in a little park trivia along the way”.
Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates and preserves the site of our Nation’s first armory, established in 1794. Managed with the Commonwealth of MA, Springfield Technical Community College and the National Park Service, it is the home of the world’s largest historic American military firearms collection. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday November to Memorial Day 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. For information call 413-734-8551 or check http://www.nps.gov/spar. or go to http://www.facebook.com/sparnhs
December 16 – 18, 2016 — “Nutcracker & Sweets”
Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St., Holyoke
Join us for one of Holyoke’s most beloved holiday traditions as the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet presents Nutcracker & Sweets at Wistariahurst. This unique, historical interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet is presented through narration and dance, in the historic setting of Wistariahurst thanks to the support of Holyoke Gas & Electric. Student dancers perform the magical story with a local historical twist and lively choreography in eight performances on Friday, December 16 at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 17 at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 18 at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
Seating is limited and advanced ticket purchases are required. Tickets are available online atwww.Wistariahurst.org. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Wistariahurst Visitor’s Center, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seated tickets are available for $15. Children under 4 are permitted on laps at no additional charge (One child per adult). Standing room tickets are available for $12.
Massachusetts Academy of Ballet is a training school for students interested in pursuing a career in classical ballet. The Academy also has a program for non-professional students and adults who value the best quality ballet training and artistic education. The classes at the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet emphasize classical ballet technique, musicality, artistry, and creativity.
17 December 2016 — “Holiday Tea & Musical Program”
Pelham Historical Society
at the Pelham Library, Pelham, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
HOLIDAY TEA AND MUSICAL PROGRAM
Saturday, December 17, 2016, Noon-2:00 pm
We will again co-host this popular event with the Pelham library by providing tea, sandwiches, and sweets.
In the Pelham Library — Tea begins at 11:00 am, and the Program begins at noon
For more information contact Bruce Klotz, 413-695-1797.
4 January 2017 — “Inventories Rule!”
PVHN Rap Session
Hatfield Public Library, basement level, 39 Main St., Hatfield, 6:30 – 8 pm
How to start or manage an inventory project, and some options for funding.
It all starts with an inventory. If you don’t have one, you don’t know what you have, who donated it, what condition it was last in, or where to find it. If you don’t have one, it’s hard to pull together an exhibit, find artifacts for visiting families or researchers, or know if that water or insect damage is recent or old. And if it’s not digital, searching the inventory is too time-consuming to be useful.
Rachel Onuf, Roving Archivist for the Commonwealth, will join us, and talk about how the Mass. SHRAB (State Historical Records Advisory Board) can help get you started, and the value of doing an inventory.
Kathie Gow, curator of the Hatfield Historical Museum, will tell how they got a 1-year CPA grant to start their digital inventory (then a 2nd year, and then a 3-year add-on). They are just finishing year 4 of their 5-year total, and she says having the grant and the inventory (still a work in progress) have been game changers for Hatfield.
Do you have an inventory story to share, or questions about how to start, sell or fund a project? For more info, contact Kathie Gow (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone, 413-247-4190.
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