Mass Moments Presents a Day-by-Day Calendar of State History
On this day in a time long ago, something important happened in Massachusetts! A full year’s worth of monumental Massachusetts happenings is offered through Mass Moments, a web-based project made possible by Mass Humanities. Featuring an important moment in history for every day of the year (366 of them, to be exact!), Mass Moments spotlights all facets of the state’s long history. Families can use the program, which updates daily, for a daily dose of state history, and can use the program’s archived moments to dig deep into specific themes, regions, or people of significance.
Every day, the Mass Moments homepage changes to spotlight an event linked to the date. Along with a photograph and brief description of the moment are an informational essay and a radio spot that share background information on the moment of the day. Some moments are even paired with useful primary sources, links to web-based resources for further learning, and even suggestions of places to visit that relate to the historic event. May 7th’s moment, for example, pairs the 1958 announcement of the upcoming closing of the Berkshire-Hathaway mill with a newspaper article from the Library’s of Congress’ online archive, as well as an old photograph of the mill that can be examined before or after a visit to the mill site in North Adams. Similarly, the moment for August 22nd spotlights the 1781 jury decision that granted Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman her freedom, and pairs the event with a 1920 essay and an online map detailing historic landmarks in Freeman’s life, and suggests that interested families visit the Ashley House in Sheffield or explore the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Trail.
In addition to exploring the events included in Mass Moments singularly, the website offers users the opportunity to explore the relevance of each moment within a national context. For each moment, users can choose to see it as a moment (the normal means of viewing), or can elect to view it as a part of a national timeline or within the geographic context of its region and the other events that have taken place there. By putting moments into regional and national context, Mass Moments allows users to utilize moments as catalysts for exploration of specific cultural and historic eras within state and national history. A keyword search tool opens even further possibilities, allowing users to take advantage of the rich information and connections included within each of the moments. Users can search for topics, people, locations, and/or themes in order to dig deep into specific ideas.
Local families can make the resources offered by Mass Moments into an ongoing community-based history project by using the project’s list of Western Mass Moments to inspire locally-based experiential learning and history-themed educational expeditions.