Berkshire Family Fun: June 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
June 2016

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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Native American Culture in the Berkshires

Experience Mohican Culture in the Berkshires

United States history is a story that intertwines many cultures and peoples. To fully understand U.S. history and American culture, you must first understanding the impact which Native Americans and European colonists had on each other. The best way to gain insight into any culture is to fully immerse yourself, not only by listening but also by engaging in meals, rituals, musical performances, dances and more. You’re invited to get a glimpse of modern day Mohican culture at the Native American Festival at Mount Greylock.

When Europeans first came to what is now the United States, the area was home to over 300 different languages. Now, due to past U.S. government policies which forced assimilation on Native Americans, only 175 of these languages remain, and many are endangered languages.

The last known fluent speaker of the Mohican language was a Stockbridge resident who died in 1933. As part of a wide movement towards preservation of Native American languages, some Mohican words have been recovered from old dictionaries, letters, books and other written texts. The word Mohican itself comes from the original, “Muhheakanneuw,” which has many translations related to the Hudson river along which this group once resided. One such translation reads: “the people of the waters that are never still.” An interesting difference between English and the Mohican language is that there is no gender distinction between third person pronouns in Mohican. “Pumisoo” is the word for both “he” or “she,” and could be roughly translated to: “that person.” Read the rest of this entry »

Family Life of the Dinosaur Supports Lessons in Paleontology

Rare Look at the Life of Dinosaurs Through the Lens of their Eggs, Nests & Young

Young paleontologists unite! Resources for learning about dinosaurs abound here in western Massachusetts. From museum exhibits to hands-on paleontology activities to natural wonders, our region is rich with experiential and place-based opportunities for learning about the prehistoric creatures of the past.

Trends come and go, but there are some topics which fascinate children across generations. One such topic is dinosaurs! Extinct species tell us a lot about evolution, biology, and the history of the Earth. Dinosaurs are particularly interesting because of their, in some cases, massive size. While birds are modern day descendants of dinosaurs, it is a challenging and fun exercise to try to imagine bird-like creatures being much bigger than humans, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which stood up to twenty feet tall! See a life-sized replica at the Springfield Museums and an actual skull at the Beneski Museum at Amherst College (both in their permanent collections) for an exciting comparison of just HOW much bigger these creatures were! Read the rest of this entry »

The Empathic Impact of Art Celebrated in a Community Comic Jam!

Comic Jam: An Intergenerational Spontaneous Cartooning Event in the Berkshires

What is a Comic Jam? It is a collaborative storytelling adventure for cartoonists of all ages and abilities. Each artist will contribute to one another’s comics, creating unexpected and exciting stories! This project encourages creativity, working together, critical thinking and storytelling.

Various scientific research studies in the last several years have explored the neurological impact of reading in general and reading fiction in particular. A psychologist from York University in Canada found a connection between reading fiction and the ability to empathize.

Fictional stories are highly focused around people, describing their feelings, desires, and actions. When narration includes a character’s thoughts, the reader knows exactly how that character feels, and the reader sympathizes with these emotions. When characters thoughts are not revealed, readers have to think about the possible emotions and thoughts which lead to the character’s actions. This is the same kind of skill we use every day when interacting with people in our lives.

Storytelling is an even more involved empathetic process. When you combine the creative empathy involved in storytelling, with the therapeutic effects of expressing yourself through pictures, the activity has a profound impact. Comic books and graphic novels do just this- they encourage artists and writers to think about people’s emotions, and the social impact of character’s actions on each other. Plus, when a shared interest brings together community through the lens of creativity, it establishes a shared history that ties neighbors across generations, strengthening their sense of place.  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: May 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2016

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lenox Fix-It Fair: Supporting Skillsharing and Sustainable Living

Lenox Fix-It Fair Pools Skills to Reduce Community Impact on Waste Stream

Have a toaster that just won’t toast? Favorite wool socks whose heels have worn through? A lamp whose cord has frayed? Bring fixable items to the Lenox Fix-It Fair, an event pooling community fixing knowledge in order to give life to repairable items. From appliances to toys and everything in between, the Fix-It Fair aims to reduce consumption and waste!

What happens when your toaster breaks, and the cost to have it repaired is more than you paid for it in the first place? In the interest of the earth, it would make sense to have it repaired rather than dumping it and purchasing a new one. However, when repair doesn’t make financial sense, we often end up wasting still-useful items in order to make the most financially sound decision for ourselves. It’s no secret that we are a consumerist society, and even those of us who intend to reduce, reuse, recycle, and extend the life of the things that we own sometimes end up making the choice to trash rather than treasure when we lack the skills or financial resources to maintain or repair.

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Learning Through the Lens of Shakespeare and His World

Williams College Chapin Library Displays Exhibition on William Shakespeare

From now until Oct. 11, Williams College’s Chapin Library will host an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare: “‘While Thy Booke Doth Live’: Shakespeare and His World.”

Amazingly, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays from the 16th and 17th century are still read and analyzed regularly, and appear on required reading lists in high school and beyond. The world seems to agree that he is one of the greatest writers of all time. What makes Shakespeare so universally popular?

Teaching Shakespeare in literature classes opens up possibilities for discussing several other topics. From a literary standpoint, Shakespeare’s plays are narrative and poetic, therefore allowing for analysis of both theater and poetry. The topic can be approached biographically, exploring Shakespeare’s mysterious life and his marriage to a woman eight years his senior. His plays also teach us about history. The plot lines and character’s behaviors represent renaissance values, raising issues of gender, sexuality and family obligation.

In spite of the rigid gender roles of the time, Shakespeare wrote many complex, powerful female characters. A number of those female characters cross-dressed as men in order to usurp power or gather information. In Shakespeare’s time, all parts were played by young boys. This adds another interesting layer, since some of these young boys were playing the parts of adult women dressing as men.

You can learn more about Shakespeare’s life and work at the exhibition, “‘While Thy Booke Doth Live’: Shakespeare and His World.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: April 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2016

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rock Poster Retrospective: Merging Music & Visual Art Studies

DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective
Bingo! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary
April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016

For 21 years Dan Blakeslee‘s mysterious rock posters have been hanging on record store windows, telephone poles and cafe walls. Every bulletin board becomes a gallery, transporting the viewer into his wondrous, strange landscape. He is also the artist behind “Heady Topper” and “Focal Banger” beer labels for The Alchemist Brewing Company.

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This groundbreaking exhibit, DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective at the Shire City Sanctuary, will showcase 100 of Dan Blakeslee’s work spanning two decades. Off kilter and whimsical, his pen becomes an acrobat, bombarding each page with expressive line and type. The artwork can be iconic, conjuring up new, bizarre creatures of the old forms, with a nod to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Fillmore poster artists. Viewers will delight in the masterful blending of art and music woven throughout the work of a brilliant local artist.

The exhibit runs April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016 in the Bingo! Gallery. An art opening and concert on Friday, April 1 with thee gallery opening at 5pm and the concert beginning at 7pm.

Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary. 413-236-9600. 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Geography Expo Invites Self-Directed Studies of World History and Culture

Geography Expo Invites Self-Directed Studies of World History and Culture

The 8th 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 Thursday, May 5th, 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.

Where in western Massachusetts can families sample international cuisine, learn about world history, examine foreign landmarks, and collect passport stamps? The annual Geography Expo offers all this and more – and now is the time to become a part of this unique educational celebration!

Held on Thursday, May 5th, 2016 at the Berkshire Athenaeum from 6-8pm, the Geography Expo showcases the work of self-directed learners from all over western Massachusetts. Participants spend weeks (or even months!) independently researching a country, culture, region, or moment in history, and create museum-like displays to share what they have learned and to educate visitors to the event about their chosen topic. Displays can teach visitors about a topic through text, images, and/or models, and can also include experiential components – giving young learners the opportunity to imagine the best way in which to teach others about what they’ve learned. Common experiential learning elements to expo displays include samples of traditional foods and crafts or games derived from a specific culture.  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2016

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Community Film House Celebrates 100 Years in Berkshires

Images Cinema Celebrates 100th Anniversary of its Theater and 100 Years of Movies in the Berkshires

Images Cinema celebrates 100 years as a continuously operating theater this year! To mark this momentous occasion, this nonprofit independent movie theater will host a number of special events and screenings throughout the year, culminating with a special cinematic celebration at the theater on November 30, 2016—100 years to the day that the first film screened in Williamstown.

In November 1916, Hiram C. Walden converted a former Williams College fraternity house into a movie theater, promising to screen only “high class” fare with live musical accompaniment. One hundred years later, movies are still screening, making it one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the world.

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Community-Based Resource Support Art History: The Clark

Little-known Work by Eugène Delacroix on View at Clark Art Institute

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863), The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius, c. 1847-50. Private Collection. Photo courtesy Clark Art Institute.

The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius (c. 1847-50) is a little-known but magnificent oil study by French artist Eugène Delacroix, which was displayed only once in 1930.

“One of the great things about being a curator is having the opportunity to encounter and study works of art that haven’t been widely known or exhibited to the public, and in turn to be able to share this knowledge with a larger audience. Delacroix’s The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius is one of those wonderful opportunities. There is a great deal to be learned and shared about a work like this that is quite exciting, and gives you the sense that you are unraveling a mystery of sorts,” said Lara Yeager-Crasselt, the Clark’s interim curator of paintings and sculpture.

“Art history is often thought of as being a static discipline—learning the dates of paintings and recognizing artists—but it is extraordinary in the way that it remains a living, breathing discipline that engages the objects themselves as much as the historical and cultural contexts that shaped them, in their own time and in their history thereafter. There are always challenges inherent in that pursuit and this painting is a wonderful example of that kind of challenge.”

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Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

Norman Rockwell Museum Shares Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

“Most people view Norman Rockwell as synonymous with American ideals, yet few are aware of his later career shift to illustrate human rights issues,” says Norman Rockwell Museum’s Director of Digital Engagement and Learning, Rich Bradway.

In celebration of Black History Month, Norman Rockwell Museum has partnered with Google to share artworks and artifacts from its permanent collection, that illustrate Norman Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights. Available through the Google Cultural Institute website, “Norman Rockwell In The Age of the Civil Rights Movement” presents Rockwell’s paintings, rarely seen studies, reference photos, and correspondence relating to his important works created during the period; the online exhibition joins over 4000 new items –including 80 exhibits and three expeditions—that document different moments throughout African American history.

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Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

Presidents’ Day Invites Studies of Democracy and Freedom

From the birth of George Washington to the four freedoms outlined by FDR, upcoming opportunities for community-based learning offer Presidents’ Day-inspired ways to explore democracy, freedom, and American history.

Officially known as Washington’s Birthday by the federal government, Presidents’ Day comes every year on the third Monday of February. Once upon a time, Presidents’ Day was celebrated every February 22nd – the true birthday of George Washington. However, thanks to Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, Presidents’ Day is celebrated on a Monday (along with a handful of other holidays) so as to allow workers more three-day weekends. In addition to an extra day off, Presidents’ Day offers families opportunities to explore democracy and the freedoms that it allows us to enjoy.

At The Clark Art Institute , families can enjoy five days’ worth of celebration, presidential portraits, and hands-on art-making in honor of Presidents’ Day. From Monday, February 15th through Friday, February 19th, The Clark will have Washington-themed art and activities from 1-4pm. Families can visit to see an iconic portrait of George Washington, and can try their hand at re-designing a dollar bill, taking patriotic photos in a photo booth, and taking the first steps to plan their very own presidential campaign. Through the activities offered, families can explore George Washington as an American icon and can use art-making as a means of reflecting their understanding of his impact and importance within American history.

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Art, Music, Engineering & Science Through the Lens of Creative Free Play

10 Days of Play Blends Art, Music, Engineering, and Science Through Creative Free Play

Play in any form is good for the human brain, and the Berkshire Museum is offering a week and a half of play-based learning during the 4th annual Ten Days of Play event! Blending hands-on activities and play-based learning with musical performances, gallery shows, zoology, engineering, architecture, and fine art, this exciting event offers a myriad of exciting opportunities to engage in creative free play and the meaningful learning that such activities promote.  Read the rest of this entry »

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Silent Film-and-Music Pairings Highlight Art of Filmmaking

Pairing original music with decades-old films, two upcoming events spotlight the true art of filmmaking. Screenings of two vastly different silent films will be accompanied by original scores created by Alloy Orchestra – offering two unique opportunities for older learners to explore the art of filmmaking.

A winter of community-based opportunities for film studies continues here in western Massachusetts, with opportunities to enjoy and learn about the art of silent film coming to the Pioneer Valley and Berkshires. Adding to an already healthy dose of local opportunities for film studies, two more upcoming events spotlight the true artistry of film and highlight the intersection of music and film, allowing original scores to accompany silent films.

The first of these two such events is a special screening of classic film, The Son of the Sheik. Shown with live accompaniment from the Alloy Orchestra, the screening will feature the recently digitally remastered version of the 1926 original classic. Starring Rudolph Valentino, known as the first great lover of the silver screen, the movie is touted as one of the best love stories in film (and is, appropriately, going to be shown on Valentine’s Day!). Alloy Orchestra’s original score will add to the grandeur of the film, blending the sounds of a collection of surprising instruments to create a score created just for the film. After the screening, audience members can choose to stay for a Five College film and music master class, in which Alloy Orchestra will outline their compositional process. The screening is part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’ Four Sundays in February series, and will take place at 2pm on Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music.

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Word Up Family Day Explores Intersection of Visual Art and Storytelling

Word Up Family Day Explores Intersection of Visual Art and Storytelling

All art tells a story, and families are invited to explore the intersection of art and storytelling at The Clark Art Institute’s Word Up Family Day. Held on Sunday, February 7th from 1-4pm in Williamstown, MA, this free event spotlights artists’ books, artistic pieces that challenge the traditional notion of a book by telling stories through nontraditional structures and symbols (both linguistic and visual). Including a variety of storytelling and story-making activities, the event can add a community-based element to studies of the art of sharing stories.

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Berkshire Family Fun: February 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2016

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pittsfield Farmers’ Market’s “Kid 10” to Showcase Local Youth Vendors

Pittsfield Farmers’ Market’s “Kid 10” to Showcase Local Youth Vendors

In preparation for the city’s annual 10×10 Upstreet Arts Festival, the Pittsfield Farmers’ Market is accepting vendor applications for Kid 10: A Kid-Run Farmers’ Market. Showcasing the talents and creativity of local youth, the special kid-centric edition of the Pittsfield Farmers’ Market will feature foods and crafts created and produced by local youth – presenting a unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs and market-goers alike.

Providing an opportunity to include young community members in the ongoing conversation and community surrounding the consumption and use of local foods and goods, Kid 10 is a unique event within the landscape of Berkshire farmers’ markets. Held on Saturday, February 13, 2016, from 1-6pm at the Boys and Girls Club at The Lighthouse, this special market event broadens the market for local foods and goods, and welcomes youth into the local economy. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Western MA Cross-Country Ski Resources

Nordic Skiing Connects Families to the Outdoors through Local Resources

With winter truly upon us here in western Massachusetts, families are gearing up for ski season! Take advantage of the many properties and trail systems catering to cross-country skiing during the winter months, including Notchview in Windsor. Families can find lessons, equipment rentals, and opportunities to explore the wintry landscape by tapping into local resources for cross-country skiing!

With its roots lying in the snowy winters of Scandinavia, cross-country skiing has been a competitive sport since as early as the 18th century. Though cross-country techniques certainly have changed over the past two and a half centuries, the sport itself has become a winter standard all around the world. Here in western Massachusetts, cross-country skiers enjoy numerous trail systems and, generally, snow-filled winters that offer a long season of skiing within a beautiful landscape.

Distinctly different from downhill skiing in both structure and purpose, cross-country skiing utilizes much narrower skis than downhill, and uses boots that attach to skis only at the toe – thus creating a piece of equipment that is the skiing equivalent of speed skating’s clap skate. Cross country skiers strive sometimes for speed, but aim more to cover great distances than to zip through courses. Of course, competitive cross-country skiing combines both of these elements (top speeds and long trails), but recreational skiing emphasizes distance rather than speed.

Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity locally. Skiers young, old, inexperienced, and expert can take advantage of local trail systems, equipment rentals, classes, and special community events in order to experience the magic that cross-country skiing adds to a western Massachusetts winter!  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: January 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 2016

“I like the ability to see what is happening in the area. We have experienced many different and delightful events that I would not known of if I did not know about the [Hilltown Families] eNewsletter.” – Kathy Couch (East Otis, MA)

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:

Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: December 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2015

“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)

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 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2015

Berkshire Family Fun: November 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
November 2015

“What we enjoy most about Hilltown Families is… Great articles, plus you keep us in the know about fun things happening for kids in the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley. It’s been a super ten years and I wish you all the best in the next 10.” – Shana Levine (Pittsfield, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November.

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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2015

“I love receiving Hilltown Families (eNewsletter) as it give me ideas to share with my family and others around me.  We should all support Hilltown Families so they can continue and be an asset to our community.” – Susan Robert (Cheshire, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of October.

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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

High Tech Planetarium Takes Us to the Stars

Williams College Host Planetarium Show this Fall

Williams College in Williamstown, MA, invites families to experience the wonders of our universe at their Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. Astronomy students at the college will host free shows for the public on Friday evenings at 8pm, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20; and December 4, 2015

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States.

Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in April 2005.

The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the southern hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.

Fall 2015 shows will be hosted by Williams College students Rebecca Durst ’17, Sarah Stevenson ’17,  Brett Bidstrup ’17, and Glen Gallik ’18. Jay Pasachoff, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, is the Director of the Hopkins Observatory.

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes.

For reservations (recommended) contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or email mcr4@williams.edu. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.

The Hopkins Observatory is on a small hill on the south side of Main Street east of Spring Street in Williamstown and just east of Lawrence Hall Drive, on which planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art.  A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory’s location can be found on the www.williams.edu/map or at 829 Main Street, Williamstown, Mass., in http://maps.google.com.

– Submitted by Noelle Lemoine


Berkshire Family Fun: September 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2015

“Hilltown Families is a great resource in planning family activities! Without fail, I can always find a listing for a great family event!” – Carol Crosier (Pittsfield, MA)

Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of September. 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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

DownStreet Art Promotes Community Engagement in the Arts in the Northern Berkshires

DownStreet Art Promotes Community Engagement in the Arts in the Northern Berkshires

Previously in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+ , Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays, Turners Falls RiverCulture, and Holyoke’s Gateway City Arts, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, many communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, we feature DownStreet Art, an arts organization in North Adams that works to facilitate dialog between the local community and the arts, with the goal of creating social and economic capital as a result. A town formerly dependent on industry, North Adams has seen a rise in the role of the arts in the city community – a change that has helped the city to increase in both tourism and resident participation in community events. Following, largely, the establishment of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), the northern Berkshires have seen a rise in the role of the arts in the local community, and since its founding in 2008, DownStreet Art has connected over 100,000 people with arts-based events in North Adams’ downtown district, helping to fuel the cultural resurgence that brings the city to life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2015

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2015

“Hilltown Families helps me keep my family engaged in our community by keeping me up to date on community events. Thank you!” – Brittany Handfield (Hancock, MA)

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.


Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Monterey, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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