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.
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.
14 January 2017 — Behind the Storage Doors with Curator Alex Mackenzie
Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield, 2 p.m.
In conjunction with the upcoming anniversary of Shays’ Rebellion, join curator Alex Mackenzie for his Behind the Storage Door presentation highlighting firearms of the American Revolution. The program will take place on Saturday, January 14 at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.
The weapons shown during this presentation will highlight the tactics and weapons used in Shays’ Rebellion, which peaked with an attack on Springfield Arsenal 230 years ago, on January 25, 1787. Mr. MacKenzie will explain the history and details of each firearm, enabling visitors to learn more about the rich collections of Springfield Armory National Historic Site.
“With the upcoming anniversary of Shays’ Rebellion, we will highlight weapons from the collection that are not normally on display, giving the public an excellent opportunity to learn about the American Revolution and Shays’ Rebellion up close,” remarked Alex MacKenzie.
Following the presentation, there will be a question and answer period, as well as an opportunity to see these featured items up close.
To learn more about Shays’ Rebellion, join us on on Saturday, January 21st at 2:00 pm as author Leonard Richards discusses Daniel Shays and the impact his “rebellion” had on the nation as a whole.
19 January 2017 — “Seeing is Disbelieving: Jay McMahon, Magic & Theater of the Mind”
Plainfield Historical Society
at Plainfield Town Hall, Plainfield, 7 p.m.
The Plainfield Historical Society invites all to join us for an evening with professional magician, Jay McMahon, performing his show entitled “Magic & Theater of the Mind”. Jay performs at venues throughout the New England Area and is entertaining as well as unbelievable. This performance is in honor of Jay’s mother, Dot McMahon, who was one of the founders of the Plainfield Historical Society and the first curator of the collection. Thanks to Dot’s diligence and meticulous recording we are in the process of digitizing and locating the numerous items in our collection. The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be happily accepted and will be used in our work to digitize and house the collection in appropriate ways.
178 Central Street
Plainfield, MA 01070
21 January 2017 — Shays’ Rebellion
Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield, 2 p.m.
Join author and professor emeritus Leonard Richards for his presentation Shays’s Rebellion: March On The Springfield Armory at 2:00pm on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in the museum theater. Admission is free.
Many veterans of the American Revolution were not paid for their service. At the same time, farmers, many of them veterans were hit with high taxes and faced losing their farms when they could not pay. On January 25, 1787 Daniel Shays helped lead a rebellion to capture the Springfield Arsenal in protest against these injustices. “If the participants would have taken the Arsenal in Springfield, they would have been better armed than the state of Massachusetts” shared Leonard Richards. As the anniversary approaches, discover what happened when the Regulators reached the Springfield Arsenal on that cold winter morning 230 years ago.
Leaders of government saw the citizens’ opposition as a threat to their authority. Their heavy-handed response to the protests galvanized the people, and the crisis escalated to violence in winter of 1787. The Regulators were later hunted down by a mercenary army put together by the state of Massachusetts and Boston merchants.
National leaders, including George Washington, concluded that the country was about to fall apart and needed a stronger national government. “Many people today have no idea the long-term impact Shays’s Rebellion had on Massachusetts and the nation as a whole. This “revolution” was the one that gave rise to modern American democracy”, comments Leonard Richards.
23 January 2017 — “Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain: 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mount Tom”
Community Room, Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke,
Please join us for an evening of local theater history with Jacqueline Lynch and Barbara Bernard.
From the 1890s through the 1960s, live performance and summer theater were a fixture at the Mountain Park amusement park on Mount Tom. In the 1950s, it was the place to go on a Saturday night for a Valley Players’ production of “Harvey” or the “The Philadelphia Story.” Drawing on archival collections and first-hand accounts, Ms. Lynch’s book is the first comprehensive treatment of the rich history of theater at Holyoke’s beloved park, from its vaudevillian beginnings to the final act of the Mount Tom Playhouse. A companion exhibit of materials from the Holyoke History Room’s collections will be on view on the third floor of the Library for the month of January. Special guest Barbara Bernard will introduce the author.
Ms. Lynch is the author of several novels, plays, and non-fiction works, including a biography on the film career of actress Ann Blyth. Her work as a playwright has received recognition at regional festivals in New England and beyond.
This event takes place in the Community Room and is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the Holyoke History Room at 413-420-8107
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