Multimedia Exhibit at MASS MoCA Brings Extinct Pigeon Back to Life

Video Installation Commemorates a Species’ Centennial of Extinction at MASS MoCA through Spring 2015

When you think about pigeons, what immediately comes to mind? Chances are, you’re remembering an encounter with a rock pigeon–a gray bird with black stripes on its wings, often spotted pecking at the sidewalks or perched on architectural features in urban areas. These birds are so eponymous with the word “pigeon,” and so closely associated with cities like Boston and New York, that it may surprise you to learn that this particular breed of pigeon is actually native to Europe – and that, long before the rock pigeon arrived in North America, a native breed called the passenger pigeon dominated the skies. Prior to the 20th century, this one breed was so populous – estimated at between three and five million – that they represented more than one-quarter of all the birds in North America. They lived and traveled in enormous flocks: their numbers were so great that a migrating flock could darken the sky, concealing the sun, for several hours at a time. By the end of 1914, however, the breed had become entirely extinct.

Eclipse, a new multimedia exhibition at MASS MoCA, explores the phenomenon of species extinction through the history of the passenger pigeon, a century after the death of the last known bird. On view through spring 2015, the exhibition is comprised of an immersive video and audio installation in the four-story “lightwell” at the center of the MASS MoCA complex. Read the rest of this entry »

When Dinosaurs Walked…Western Mass

Paleontology Fascinates and Stimulates Learning in Kids

As one of They Might Be Giants’ best-loved (and paleontologist-narrated) children’s songs proclaims, “I love diggin’ in the dirt!” The potential for getting dirty is just what many kids need in order to become interested in dinosaurs, but it’s not the only hook. In addition to the fun that comes from digging and discovering, dinosaurs are fascinating to children for the magic and mystery that surrounds them – though we have lots of evidence that supports their long-ago existence, young ones whose understanding of time has not fully developed are astounded by the beasts of long ago. Drastically different from most of the creatures seen on Earth today (at first glance), dinosaurs’ shape, size, and even habitat are fascinating and almost unbelievable to youngsters.

Engaging children in dinosaur-related learning allows them not only to learn about the prehistoric beasts, but presents opportunities for lots of other types of learning as well. Learning to identify dinosaur species can help young children practice putting words to specific characteristics related to a species’ shape, size, and coloring, while for older learners, species identification serves as a means of understanding the role of each specific body part that distinguishes one type from the next – information that can help children to understand animal adaptations and evolution. Additionally, dinosaur studies supports children in learning about the climate- and landscape-related changes that the Earth undergoes over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of August. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

“We love that Hilltown Families keeps us updated on events in the larger area, in both the Berkshires and the Valley…We use the calendar section, the camp guide, the school guides, and much more.” – Caitlin Loverin (Pittsfield, MA)


Berkshire Family Fun is sponsored in part by:

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Western Mass Historical Heritage for All to Explore

Summer is History-Exploring Season in Western MA!

This summer, the Sheffield Historical Society hosts the Milt Barnum All American Tool Exhibit, an extensive show of tools used by workers of all kinds throughout the past few centuries. Check out our list of 15 historical societies and history museums below and find out what these community-based educational resources have to offer and discover your local history while nurturing a better sense of place in your kids and in yourself!

Nestled amongst the hills of western Massachusetts are pockets of history – the streets of cities and towns are lined with historic buildings, fields are dotted with centuries-old cemeteries, and even the landscape itself tells stories of generations past, its shape hinting at human influences. It’s obvious that our communities’ history surrounds us, but the challenge in learning about local history is learning how to access it in a meaningful way. Luckily, historical societies and museums across the region offer families a wide variety of ways to learn about the history of their community. From wartime tales to walking tours, resources for learning about local history abound during the summer in western Massachusetts.

An added bonus of the easy accessibility of local history resources is that children will be supported in learning about the history of their own community and a familiar landscape, but they’ll also learn about major historical events – events that took place on a national or international level – and the ways in which they affected folks here in western Massachusetts. In allowing children to learn about large-scale events or cultural shifts on a small scale, families can support learning about broad topics on a level that meets children where they’re at developmentally, while strengthening their sense of place. Adding familiar context to an unfamiliar or confusing topic can help children to understand it – and they’ll develop a deeper connection to their history once it becomes personal. Many local historical societies only open their doors to the public during summer months (for many reasons, including the availability of volunteer staff and the lack of heat in many old buildings), so don’t miss this year’s history-exploring season! In addition to open museum hours, many historical societies and museums offer interactive activities, speakers and educational events, and other special programming – be sure to check out your local society’s calendar for learning opportunities that extend beyond a visit to the local museum or archives. Here are history museums, historical societies and events to consider this summer with your family throughout the region: Read the rest of this entry »

The Berkshires are Alive with Live Theater Opportunities this Summer!

Diverse Theater Selection Brings Entertainment & Education Opportunities for Entire Family

The Berkshires are alive! Get your tickets for a theater production and bring the family. There are options that fit all budgets!

The Berkshires region of western Massachusetts is filled with endless opportunities for learning and playing – especially in the summer. A popular vacation destination for locals and out-of-towners alike, the region offers up a wide variety of things to do, places to visit, and stuff to see. And this summer, some of the best stuff to see is on stage at the Berkshires’ many theaters and performance spaces! From children’s theater to clowning, Shakespeare to musicals, the Berkshires’ numerous theater companies are dishing out shows that not only entertain, but also present valuable learning opportunities. Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2014

“I moved to Western MA a year ago and this website is my resource for most of our family outings. I look at it weekly to plan an adventure and have used it as my ‘summer fun’ planning guide this year. I appreciate the work you are doing to collect this information and it has made a huge difference in my understanding of the variety and cultural diversity there is to offer in this area!” – Erica Cruz (Adams, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of July. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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MASS MoCA’s “It’s Only Human” Illuminates Art, Science & Education

Art Using X-ray Scans Sparks Discussion of Body Image & More at MASS MoCA
Saturday, June 14, 2014 through Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MASS MoCA’s Kidspace kicks off the summer with a new exhibition and activity program. The exhibition, “It’s Only Human,” features work by British artists Nick Veasey and Marilene Oliver, who are both internationally recognized for their innovative uses of medical imaging technology in their art. Both artists’ works illuminate the complexities of human bodies and the systems by which they are regulated, and inspire dialogue about the inner beauty of all human beings, regardless of our outer appearances, and serve as a creative jumping-off point for discussions of anatomy, health, and wellness, as well as self-image. While this exhibition is on display at Kidspace, visitors of all ages – especially those interested in science and medicine – will find it engaging and educational.

Veasey’s work is often focused on the human skeleton and inner structural elements. He is famous for creating one of the largest X-ray scans in the world – of a Boeing 777 airplane! – and this exhibition at Kidspace features a similarly gigantic X-ray of a bus filled with passengers. Do you think you will be able to distinguish the structure of the bus from the skeletal structures occupying it? Veasey has also X-rayed a person on a motorcycle. What can you infer about his choice to scan vehicles used for human transportation, including their passengers? Why might this be significant? Why it is important to be able to identify the structures embedded within everyday objects and people? Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: June 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
June 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of June. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Home Sweet Home Opens Doors to Historical Learning

Home Sweet Home: Open House Day at The Trustees of Reservations Historic Homes

From early 1700’s missionaries to mid-20th century architecture, The Trustees of Reservations’ Home Sweet Home: Open House Day offers families a chance to learn about lots of fascinating history. Opening the doors of historic homes across Massachusetts all day long on Saturday, May 31st, the Home Sweet Home event will allow visitors to certain Trustees properties access to spaces not often open to the public – this opportunity is not to be missed!

Locally, families in western Massachusetts can choose from five different properties to visit. Each historic home is related to both local and national history, and has its own unique story to tell. The tale of each place uses architecture, landscape, material culture, and the stories of the people who inhabited it in order to put historical eras and events into context for visitors. Covering everything from the Mohican Indians and abolition to to The New York Evening Post, visits to western Massachusetts’ historic homes are a fantastic way for families with children of all ages to learn and explore together.

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The Art and Science of Butterflies at Berkshire Museum

The butterfly effect: how studying these pollinators broadens analytical and creative minds

Tiger Swallowtail by Howard HoopleMuch like bees, butterflies play an important role in our local ecosystem – and also in ecosystems globally. As pollinators, butterflies help to ensure that plants exchange genetic material, something that we depend on in order to enjoy many of our favorite foods! However, changes in the way that humans live and the ways in which we interact with our surroundings have caused butterfly populations to decline (especially the iconic monarch). Learning about butterflies and their role in our ecosystem is essential to understanding and appreciating our surroundings; luckily, opportunities for learning about these beautiful Lepidoptera abound during the next few months! Find out about upcoming events & resources…

Berkshire Family Fun: May 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of May. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: April 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of April. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

Easter Events in Western MA, 2014

Easter Events in Western MA 2014

During Easter many towns host egg hunts for their residents. Check our list of Easter events for an egg hunt nearest you, along with Easter craft opportunities, brunch and Easter Bunny appearances.

Community events that celebrate Easter take place through April 20th. We’ll be adding to this list as events come in, so be sure to check back: Easter Events in Western MA 2014.

Environmental Film Festival in the Berkshires

Project Native 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival
March 29 & 30, 2014
Great Barrington, MA

For the past three years, Project Native has hosted a successful day-long environmental film festival. This year they are expanding the festival to include an evening screening at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, on Saturday, March 29th in addition to the festival on Sunday, March 30th at the Triplex Cinema.

The festival will kick off Saturday, March 29th at 7pm with a special screening of Revolution, an award-winning film by Rob Stewart, director of Sharkwater at the  Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. Startling, beautiful, and provocative, Revolution has already won awards at international film festivals. Revolution is not just about the environment—it’s a film about hope and inspiration. It is an urgent call-to-action with an uplifting message that tells us it’s possible to alleviate the damage already done. While creating this film, Stewart met with experts in their fields to investigate the important issues affecting our lives. In an effort to uncover the secrets to a safer world, Stewart goes on an adventure filled with action and drama that will leave audiences around the world, at any age, inspired about how they can get involved in the fight to save our planet.

“Our goal is to not only show the problems facing our world, but to also inspire action for positive change,” says Karen Lyness LeBlanc, Education & Outreach Coordinator for Project Native. Project Native is encouraging middle, high school and college students in the area to attend and bring their friends. This event is FREE, thanks to support from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation. A panel discussion will follow the film.

Then on Sunday, March 30th, screening at the Triplex Cinema…

2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA

Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play

Local Teachers Create Original Book and Puppet Play: The Hollyhock Dream

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School early childhood teachers (L-R) Beth Oakley, Jo Valens, Trice Atchison, Michelle Kuzia and Somer Serpe, with their original storybook of The Hollyhock Dream, to be performed as a puppet play Saturday, March 15, 11am at Mason Library in Great Barrington.

Early childhood teachers from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School have created an original story book, The Hollyhock Dream, about a girl and her little brother who venture through the forest in search of the flower their mother dreams will make her well. The fairy tale debuted as a puppet play at the school’s Holiday Handcraft Fair in November, and teachers will perform it again for the community at Mason Library in Great Barrington, Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11:15am.

The Hollyhock Dream was written by teachers Trice Atchison, Beth Oakley and Jo Valens. “We went to a workshop led by author and storyteller Nancy Mellon last spring and, as part of the evening, wove together a story on the spot,” says parent-child teacher Trice Atchison. “We were so inspired by the process, we decided to collaborate on a new fairy tale puppet play.”

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Writing a new story allowed the teachers to consider themes such as how there can be more than one right way to a destination—sometimes with the least likely person leading the way; how benevolent help can show up during moments of confusion; and how the natural world is full of wonders, including plants that heal…  Read the rest of this entry »

6th Annual Geography Expo Supports Self-Directed Learning

Sign up for the 6th Annual Geography Expo
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Pittsfield, MA

The 6th Annual Geography Expo is an intergenerational geography fair featuring the work of students from all school choices throughout Berkshire County and beyond. It’s free to participate and open to all, taking place on Wednesday evening, April 2nd, at the Berkshire Atheaneum in Pittsfield, MA. Want to participate? Pick your country, state or region, sign up, and get busy studying and preparing your presentation! Sign up details below.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, the world will be on display from 6-8pm in the Community Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA. Sponsored by The Berkshire County Homeschool Community and Berkshire County 4-H, the 6th Annual Geography Expo will fill the library’s large Community Room with sights, sounds and culinary scents from around the globe.

We asked Teresa O’Brient of Stockbridge, and Elaine Caligiuri of Lee, organizers of The Expo, to share with our readers information on this great opportunity for students from all educational backgrounds (homeschool, public/private school, exchange students, etc.) to participate in a self-directed, community-based learning opportunity that explores cultures both near and far… Click here to find out what they shared and how youth around the region can participate in this free event!

Cinema of Law: Screenings at the Berkshire Athenaeum

Criminal Justice Review in Film, 2014

There’s a lot more to law than just Law and Order!  The legal system is not all arrests and gavels – it’s a complicated system to navigate, and its intricacies can be fascinating.  The Berkshire Bar Association (BBA)and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, along with the Berkshire Law Library, are offering a film series filled with popular films following a law theme.  The four-part series is a mix of both documentary and fiction, both new and old!

Best for older high school and college students interested in criminal justice, the film series brings to light the reality of working in the legal system, whether as a lawyer, judge, or officer.  Students can learn about a branch of government not often examined in-depth, and will be able to enjoy some great cinema at the same time!  The films also help to promote the importance of understanding and engaging with government.

All films are free, and will take place at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Each film comes a legal subject and will be introduced by a member of the BBA. Screenings will be on Tuesday evenings at 6pm, beginning on March 4th and include… Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of March. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Human Library Project at Williams College Promotes Dialogue and Reduces Prejudice

Human Library Project at Williams College
Promoting Dialogue, Reducing Prejudice
February 28 & March 1, 2014

Founded in 2001 in Denmark to promote human rights and social cohesion, the human library project seeks to create greater understanding between people and provide a safe space where we can learn more about each other and work through stereotypes and discrimination present in our community in order to ultimately to forge new connections between people. Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Mar. 1 from 1-4pm  at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required.

The best kind of learning takes place experientially, when we get to interact with materials and navigate situations in a way that allows us to make discoveries. However, we can’t learn everything experientially – sometimes, we have to simply take someone’s word to be true when it’s not possible to have a lesson for ourselves. And what do we do when an experience isn’t accessible and nobody around us has any useful input? We head to the library, and find a book to provide us with the information that we desire. There’s just one problem with books, though – as information-filled as they are, they can’t answer your questions!

This Friday and Saturday, Williams College in Williamstown, MA, presents a unique (and very rare!) opportunity to not only learn from books, but to have them answer your questions, too! The 2014 Human Library is, as its name implies, made up not of actual books but of human books – human beings whose unique life experiences make up volumes and volumes of information, stored amongst a network of brain cells and synapses instead of a stack of bound pages. Open from 1-4pm on Friday, February 28th and Saturday, March 1st, the Human Library offers more than sixty different human books who can be checked out for periods of up to half an hour. Each human book will begin by answering a few (3-5) predetermined questions before allowing their borrower to ask their own questions… Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to DiNO-Light at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

DiNO-Light
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, February 21st at 2pm

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a DiNO-Light, at The Colonial Theatre on Friday, February 21st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 2/18/14 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

About DiNO-Light

Lightwire Theater presents the Corbian Visual Arts and Dance hit, Darwin the Dinosaur. This heart-warming original story, also known as Dino-Light, features a friendly dinosaur who wanders away from home and discovers a world of creatures who light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. Unique and visually dazzling, Darwin has been praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology, and dance by audiences all over the world.

“An eye-popping display of storytelling that’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen.” “Corbian Visual Arts and Dance is a force to be reckoned with” – Broadwayworld.Com

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Berkshire Family Fun: February 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of February. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Celebrations Warm Up Western MA!

During this part of the year, the cold and dark make it difficult to truly enjoy the outdoors. For the past month, temperatures in the single digits have kept kids and adults alike on the couch instead of in the snow… and we’re all starting to get cabin fever! Luckily, mid-winter ’tis the season for winter festivals, and the coming weeks bring a deluge of indoor and outdoor community celebrations happening in all four counties of Western MA!  Find out about winter celebrations happening in Amherst, Easthampton, Greenfield, Holyoke and North Adams…

Berkshire Family Fun: January 2014

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 2014

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of January. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!

List of Weekly Suggested Events

Read the rest of this entry »

The Popover: Featured Holiday Recipe from The Red Lion Inn

Download recipe (pdf)

Rosemary Popovers
From The Red Lion Inn

The popover has been popular for centuries. Well, at least Yorkshire pudding, its predecessor from England, has. Yorkshire pudding has been around since the 17th Century, although it has evolved considerably.

The first ever recorded recipe for Yorkshire Pudding appears in a book, The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737 and listed as ‘A Dripping Pudding’ –  the dripping coming from spit-roast meat. “Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.”

Most American popovers today are not flavored with meat or herbs. Instead, they have a buttery taste. Chef James Beard, anointed the “dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, has argued that the resemblance between Yorkshire pudding and popovers is purely coincidental and that the popover recipe has changed several times before becoming the recipe that it is currently used by today’s cooks.

Popovers have been called puff pops, Portland popover pudding and Laplanders – from the name of nomadic Swedish reindeer herders. Also called the Dutch Baby and Hootenanny Pancakes, these delicious dough puffs are appropriate to eat with any meal.

This light and hollow pastry made from egg batter is typically baked in muffin tins. When cooked, the batter “pops” over the top of the muffin tin, which is how the popover got its name. Usually served alongside meat dishes at lunch or dinner, popovers may be served as a sweet, topped with fruit and cream for breakfast or with afternoon tea.

The following Red Lion Inn recipe of Rosemary Popovers is rooted in the British tradition using animal drippings as a base to create depth of flavor. The piney distinctive aroma of rosemary provides a delicious accompaniment to any roasted meat. Enjoy during the holidays or at any time of the year when a crispy, soft, flavorful roll hot out of the oven will do.


ABOUT THE CHEF

Brian Alberg

Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA, Brian is a staunch supporter of the local food movement in the region, establishing strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers. Brian is the founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table and serves on the board of the Railroad Street Youth Project.

Berkshire Family Fun: December 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2013

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of December. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2013

“Backstairs” Tour to Illuminate the Lives of Early 20th-Century Servants in the Berkshires

The Mount Creates “Backstairs” Tour to Illuminate the Lives of Early 20th-Century Servants

Taking a Backstairs Tour will allow families to learn about the story of the home and Edith Wharton’s place in literary history; more importantly, however, it will shed light on the class divisions that existed during the Gilded Age in the United States. Students can ponder the ethics of keeping servants, and can think about fair working conditions and wages when they consider the servants’ employment. Older students can also consider the current debate over raising minimum wage in our state when they think about the servants’ working conditions – how does the service industry today compare to its early 20th century equivalent?

The Mount, former summer home of Edith Wharton, is one of the Berkshires’ many beautiful, historic homes. From the sculpture garden and woodlands to the ornately decorated interior, the house embodies all that was high society during the early part of the 20th century. But how was Wharton’s lavish lifestyle sustainable? Who kept the house clean, cooked meals, and orchestrated parties and other social gatherings?

Families can learn about the “behind the scenes” workers of The Mount on a special new tour. Titled the Backstairs Tour, the new addition to the estate’s regularly scheduled tours and events is exactly what the name implies. The Backstairs Tour takes visitors to the otherwise unseen parts of the home – literally to the backstairs, as well as the servants’ quarters in the main house, stable, and gatehouse. Visitors will learn about the role of Wharton’s staff who, in addition to cooking and cleaning, were responsible for driving, extensive gardening, secretary tasks, and other household jobs… Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to “A Christmas Carol” at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

A Christmas Carol
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Sunday, December 15th at 2pm

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to see A Christmas Carol at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $120) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a theater production of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 12/10/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music. Shows run: Saturday, Dec 14, 21, & 28 at 7pm; Sunday, Dec 15, 22, & 29 at 2pm; and Friday, Dec 20 & 27 at 7pm.

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Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi

Mary Verdi Opens the Holiday Season
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Thanksgiving Weekend

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $60) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 11/26/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT MARY VERDI

Mary Verdi and special guests Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey will ring in the Holiday Season on Thanksgiving Weekend at The Colonial Theatre on November 30 at 7pm and December 1 at 2pm. Every year, Mary Verdi’s Christmas at the Colonial show invites families from across the Berkshires to a very special holiday celebration. Mary created this show for all to enjoy an unforgettable performance that includes a sing-along of old favorites, dancing, a children’s choir, bell choir, and a full band with strings and horns featuring area performers.

In its 4th year at The Colonial, this year’s show will feature Mary Verdi and her band, guest artists Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey, A Children’s Chorus, Dalton Ballet, Berkshire Music School Violins, St. Ann Children’s Chorus, Berkshire Pulse Drum Core, Neighborhood Gang, and of course, Santa!

Mary will be performing selections from her Christmas in the Berkshires CD as well as holiday favorites like “Silver Bells,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!” — www.maryverdi.com

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