Learning Ahead: June 8th-12th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens


Berkshire County

Monday, June 8, 1:30pm & 7pm – FILM/FASHION: The Berkshire Museum is screening Iris (2014; rated PG-13) on this weekend. The film is about New York fashion icon Iris Apfel, and older students interested in fashion will enjoy the film and seeing Iris’ quirky fashion on screen. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Tuesday, June 9, 4pm-6pm – HISTORY/FASHION: Kandie Carle will present “Fashion in Fiction: Dressing Jane Austen” at Ventfort Hall‘s Tea and Talk. Carle will be in costume and will discuss early 1800s fashions for men and women, like those in Pride and Prejudice. Older students interested in history, literature, or fashion would enjoy this talk. Tickets available in advance. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, June 9, 6pm – MUSIC/WEST AFRICAN & CARIBBEAN: Gaia Roots World Music and Drum Ensemble will perform at Farmington River Regional Elementary School. The group blends drumming, vocals, dance, harmonies, and stories to create an exciting performance inspired by the music of West African and the Caribbean. 555 North Main Road. Otis, MA.

Franklin County

Thursday, June 11, 7:30pm – LOCAL HISTORY: The Colrain Historical Society presents a program on William Apess, a Native American activist born in Colrain in 1798. Older students interested in local history can learn about Apess’ life – he fought in the War of 1812, became a preacher, and wrote the first book-length autobiography by a Native American. 413-624-3453. 8 Main Road. Colrain, MA.

Hampshire County

Monday, June 8, 6pm – SUSTAINABILITY: How sustainable do you think most modern-day homes are? Do you think it’s possible to build a fully sustainable home? What would that even mean? This month’s Sci.Tech.Cafe at the Amherst Brewing Company (10 University Drive, Amherst, MA) tackles this question and delves deeper into the world of sustainable homes. Mount Holyoke College Professor Alexi Arango will talk about his attempt to build the first certified passive solar house in the Pioneer Valley. His goal is to build a home that uses eight times less energy than the average Massachusetts home and doesn’t use any fossil fuels. Professor Arango will talk about how this is possible, how it works, how it differs from a “regular house,” and more. Older students interested in sustainability, green building design, and alternative energy sources would enjoy this exciting talk, which is designed for community members without science backgrounds. 10 University Drive. Amherst, MA.

Wednesday, June 10, 5:30pm – CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Northampton community members can join neighbors and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for a walk audit for the Pleasant Street Health Impact Assessment. Meet at the Department of Public Health office to walk along Pleasant Street and share how it affects your health. Share what you would like to see change about Pleasant Street – your input counts towards future improvements! Participate in this walk and make a change in your community. All are welcome. 23 Service Center Road. Northampton, MA.

Wednesday, June 10. 6:30pm — MUSIC/FOLK MUSIC: Enjoy an evening of folk music at one of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum‘s Wednesday Folk Traditions concerts. This week features string quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, whose music reflects a range of American folk music influences and inspiration. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley, MA. ($)

Thursday, June 11, 7pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/MENTAL ILLNESS: As part of a series of films focusing on issues of race, the Jones Library and The Coming Together Project present a screening of Can, a documentary film by Pearl J. Park. One of the first documentaries that focuses on an Asian American family dealing with a mental illness. There will be a discussion after the film. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 12, 5pm-8pm – ART WALK: Check out Northampton’s local art scene at this month’s Arts Night Out. Visit galleries, do activities, see exhibitions, and more at this monthly event. Downtown. There will also be hands-on art-making activities at the Smith College Museum of Art (Elm Street & Bedford Terrace) from 4pm-6pm, as well as a guided gallery talk at 6pm. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

Monday, June 8, 6:30pm – HISTORY/FASHION: Kandie Carle will present “Fashion in Fiction: Jane Austen” at the Storrs Library on June 8. Carle will be in costume and will discuss early 1800s fashions for men and women, like those in Pride and Prejudice. She will also share excerpts from Jane Austen’s letters and passages from her novels that highlight the use of clothing to define character and class and develop plot points. Older students interested in history, literature, or fashion would enjoy this talk. Please register in advance. 413-565-4181 x1620. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, June 9, 7pm – LOCAL HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE: The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center is hosting a talk on Union Station and Olmsted Park in Palmer, presented by Blake and Robin Lamothe. They will talk about Union Station architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and their work in Palmer. They will also discuss what the station was like in its heyday and what’s in store for the future. Older students interested in local history would enjoy this talk. 413-289-9295. 2072 Main Street. Palmer, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Thursday, June 11, 12:15pm – LOCAL HISTORY: This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “Everett Barney: A Tale of Steel and Ice” with Robert M. Girard. Learn about this prominent Springfield inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist at this talk. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

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