Berkshire Family Fun: June 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
June 2017

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.

If you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

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, story hours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing Sales & Marketing Manger, Merricka Breuer at mbreuer@hilltownfamilies.org.


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, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: May 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
May 2017

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, story hours 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, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: April 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 2017

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, story hours 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, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: March 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
March 2017

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, story hours 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, Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, Washington, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Presidents’ Day as a Reflection on the Four Freedoms and Democracy

The Four Freedoms

Presidents’ Day celebrates the life and work of George Washington. It comes every year on the third Monday of February. Although Washington’s birthday is on February 22nd, the holiday is celebrated on the third Monday to allow us to enjoy a three day weekend.

Presidents’ Day is also a chance to explore the tenets of democracy and civil freedoms. As mentioned in the November/December Seasons edition of Learning Ahead, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, as outlined in his 1941 State of the Union address, emphasize the importance of the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Remember that you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge to see Rockwell’s four paintings based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech from 1941.

Throughout the January/February Seasons edition of Learning Ahead, the power of voice has been a strong and present theme. Democracy, as FDR emphasizes in his four freedoms speech, rests on the freedom of speech, the ability to voice your thoughts and speak your mind. At the heart of the freedom of speech and expression is the freedom to use words, story, narrative and voice to share ideas. Some of the greatest literature has been used as a vehicle to voice an ethical philosophy or to act on behalf of social justice. The shared dialogue between author and reader through the written word also depends on the freedom to read. Literature and the power of voice is a shared exchange in which ideas are spoken or written to be heard and read.

[Image credit: Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828), George Washington, 1796–1803. Oil on canvas. The Clark, 1955.16]


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.

Berkshire Family Fun: February 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 2017

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 Pittsfield, Sandisfield, Windsor, and Mt. Washington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for January 28 – February 3, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“[Last year] was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families Events

It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past nine years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again! Deadline to sign-up is Wed. Feb 1st!

Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the Saturday Morning Music Party series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, you can craft handmade Valentines with the Easthampton Parents Center. Then we’ll enjoy special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. We’ll round out the morning with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” This is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. For more information, email info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Bulletin Board

Open House:Jan 28

The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental education – Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 28, from 10am-12noon in Amherst. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Open House: Jan 29

Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool invites new parents to an Open House on Sunday, January 29th, from 2:30-4pm. Cloverdale is located in back of the First Congregational Church on 130 Pine Street in Florence and is a half-day preschool with the option of STEAM focused extended day hours. Come find out about their new expanded hours starting next fall while spending time playing with your children in their engaging learning environment. Meet the teachers and some parents who will answer your questions about their program. For more information, visit www.cloverdalepreschool.com or call 413-586-1106 after 12:30pm.

Open House: Jan 29

Sunday, January 29th: Open House from 2-3:30pm at Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill). Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact forthill@smith.edu for information.

Open House: Feb 4

The Campus School at Smith College. Prospective kindergarten through grade 6 students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, February 4, from 9:30am-11:30 am at the school on Prospect Street. Tour the school. Meet teachers, staff, and parents. For more information, contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or visit their website, www.smith.edu/sccs.

Open House: Feb 5

Sunday, Feb. 5th: The Center School Admissions Open House, 2pm-4pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire and Franklin counties. Prospective families are invited to explore the school on Sunday, Feb. 5th for a Birds-of-Prey themed Admissions Open House. Come early to enjoy a live Birds of Prey presentation with raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi from 1pm-2pm. Then, classrooms will be open and teachers will be offer bird-related activities for kids of all ages. Light refreshments will be available. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net

Feb 20-24

Looking for something fun and creative for your kids during the February break? Check out Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp with Sarah Marcus and Felicia Sloin! This 1-week camp runs Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24 from 9am-3pm and will feature theater games, singing, drumming, movement, and fun times with creative friends for students ages 7-11. Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp takes place at the Northampton Karate Studio, 320 Riverside Drive, in Florence. Cost: $250. Registration Deadline Feb 1. For more information, email sarahlaurenmarcus@gmail.com or visit online at www.facebook.com/valleyperformanceplayground.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 28 – February 3, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: January 2017

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:

January 2017

“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 Pittsfield, Sandisfield, 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 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 2016

Courtesy of Geoffrey Coelho

Courtesy of Geoffrey Coelho

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!


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 »

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2016

Berkshire Family Fun: November 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
November 2016

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!


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 »

Berkshire Family Fun: October 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
October 2016

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!


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 »

Berkshire Family Fun: September 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
September 2016

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 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 »

Berkshire Family Fun: August 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
August 2016

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 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 »

Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

Story Slam at the Clark Art Institute Celebrates a Sense of Place

Stone Hill is a prominent geological formation at the heart of the Clark’s campus.

Celebrating the Clark Art Institute’s current exhibit, Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, a community story slam will coincide on Friday, July 22 at 7pm. Community members are invited to The Clark in Williamstown to hear and tell stories that center around the topic of place.  Stories about the place called home, a particularly meaningful place, or moments of feeling in place, out of place, or displaced are all welcome at this community story slam

On the evening of the event, names of those interested in sharing place-related stories are chosen at random, and those selected are invited to tell their stories up to five minutes in duration. A panel of judges provides feedback and prizes are awarded.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources

Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources

Western Massachusetts is known for a great many things, but sports aren’t generally one of them. Nevertheless, the region is filled with opportunities to learn about (and participate in!) sports of all kinds. Western Massachusetts can claim itself as the birthplace of at least two sports played worldwide, is home to a handful of semi-professional teams, and offers opportunities for youth to explore athletics of all kinds. Local families can even find ways to explore sports and sports history through the arts! From spectator opportunities and museum visits to full-on participation, sports-related learning opportunities exist locally all year round.

In terms of sports fame, the area is probably best known as the official birthplace of both volleyball and basketball. Springfield’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a landmark in the city, and honors the city’s claim to fame as home of basketball and its inventor, James Naismith. Created in 1891 in order to offer athletes an exciting and physically challenging indoor sport, basketball is now internationally known and loved. The Basketball Hall of Fame itself includes thousands of square feet of basketball history exhibits, as well as a 300+ member hall of fame commemorating the contributions and achievements of notable players, coaches, and others who’ve been a part of the sport.

A few years after basketball’s invention, volleyball was created in Holyoke – pitched then as a sport offering excitement similar to that of basketball but slightly less physical intensity. The International Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke spotlights the sport’s history and local roots, as well as exceptional players from the nearly century and a quarter that the sport has existed. Visitors can learn about the 125 people from 21 countries whose accomplishments have been significant within volleyball history, and can also view exhibits that offer a glimpse at the evolution and international growth of the sport.

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Berkshire Family Fun: July 2016

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 2016

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.


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 »

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing Contest Encourages Community Story Sharing

Writing is a hobby which can help kids and adults in many areas of life including academics, careers, and even relationships. In general, being able to write clearly helps people work through their own thoughts and express their emotions. Writing fiction in particular can build a stronger sense of empathy. In 2013, researchers at The New School in New York City found that reading fiction helped people perform better on tests of their ability to understand what others were thinking or feeling. Writing fiction requires a similarly empathetic process of deciding what characters feel and how those feelings lead to actions.  This summer, the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield is encouraging children and young adults to foster their creative and expressive abilities through a short story writing contest this summer!

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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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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