Ice Harvesting: Community Events & Resource

Ice Harvesting: Community Events & Resource

Throughout the winter, check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for community events and demonstrations of ice harvesting. Here are three featured resources in Western MA to add to your itinerary:

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge.

Fire & Ice Days is an annual celebration with ice harvesting demonstrations showing how 19th century Americans adapted their lifestyles to the cold New England winters.

Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield.

At Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA, families can explore the ins and outs of harvested ice storage by visiting a 19th century ice house. The existing ice house was built in 1894, but the village had an ice house as long ago as 1844, and used the cold storage space to preserve food – especially dairy. Designed to utilize the natural insulation provided by the earth, the building allows warm air to escape out of a cupola in its roof, while allowing ice-cooled air to flow over stored food. Images and an excerpt from the village’s manifesto are available for further learning online. Currently closed for the season, Hancock Shaker Village is open to visitors from April-October.

Noble and Cooley Center for Historic Preservation in Granville.

Annual ice harvest. Visitors can walk out onto the pond and try out ice harvesting tools  for themselves. It is a learning experience to witness firsthand how this task was done.


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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