Rediscovering the Past: Local History & Hauntings

Local Hauntings

Hauntings at the Deerfield Inn? Some claim to have seen a ghost of Cora Carlisle, the Inn’s owner from the 1930’s. Others say to have witnessed a ghost known as Hershel in Room 148.

Hauntings and history go together because ghosts are often traditionally seen as apparitions that once lived and therefore represent a past not entirely forgotten because it crosses realms and lingers in the present and future.

Many historic tales of hauntings are passed down through oral histories of places.  Through word of mouth, legends and ghost stories are passed down from generation to generation and become a part of a town or city’s character. Curious to explore some of Western Massachusetts’ haunted places? Head out and visit some of these intriguing places:

Deerfield Inn at Historic in Deerfield
Some claim to have seen a ghost of Cora Carlisle, the Inn’s owner from the 1930’s. Others say to have witnessed a ghost known as Hershel in Room 148.

Theodores’ Tavern in Springfield
Investigators from the SciFi Channel’s Ghost Hunters came to Theodores’ Tavern to see whether the historic building was haunted or not. Many say they have heard whispering, balls rolling, footsteps and apparitions!

Smith College’s Sessions House in Northampton
There’s a Revolutionary War legend that Lucy Hunt died of a broken heart after being separated from the man she loved, General Burgoyne. The Sessions House was the 18th century home of Lucy’s family. The two lovers used to secretly escape to a hidden staircase in the house to spend time together.  It is said that Lucy Hunt still haunts that staircase today!

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Ancestors Come Alive in Local Cemeteries and Tours

Cemetery Tours

An experiential way to learn about local history while satisfying an intrigue for ghost stories is to participate in a guided cemetery tour. With some local cemeteries pushing their 400th birthday, Western Massachusetts’ burying grounds are community-based resources filled with primary source artifacts that support an interest in history.

Through facilitated tours, often hosted by local historical societies, self-directed teens and lifelong learners can explore local graveyards together in order to deepen their understanding of community history.

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Featured Events: Graveyards & Cemetery Tours

Graveyard Tours Support an Interest in Local History and Cultural Studies

Graveyards are filled with stone markers that chronicle a community’s history. Everything from the names of buried people to the style of the stone can tell visitors something about the time period to which a headstone dates back. Photographing and sketching gravestones is a creative way to explore local cemeteries, alongside a self-guided or facilitated tour. Here are three featured guided tours for this haunted season: Read the rest of this entry »

Featured Events: Haunted Historic Buildings & Tours

Haunted Building and Tours Support Curiosity, and Learning!

Hunt for ghosts at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA.

Towns across Western Massachusetts have tales of haunted historic buildings, ghost sightings, and supernatural suspicions that lead people to wonder whether a place is haunted or not.  Haunted tales are sometimes rooted in actual events or historical accounts from people of the past, and can add to the mystery and curiosity of a place. In the Berkshires this haunted season, three events support learning about local history through the lens of hauntings and paranormal tours: Read the rest of this entry »

From 19th Century Brooms to Colonial Doorways

From 19th Century Brooms to Colonial Doorways

Broom corn drying

This year at Hatfield’s Fall Festival (Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016), you can learn about two livelihoods: How local people grew broom corn and made brooms to sell in the early to mid-1800s, and how local carpenters (or joiners) likely carved their fancy Connecticut Valley doorways in the mid-1700s. The Hatfield Historical Society, which sponsors and puts on the event, hopes to inspire others to join these artisans in learning about industries from our past by recreating them today.  Read the rest of this entry »

One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

One-Room Schoolhouse: Connecting to Place through Literature & History

In the 1800’s, the traditional academic year was quite different in New England. An element of seasonality was incorporated into how the school term was determined. In rural areas, children who helped out on the family farm attended school during the winter and stayed home to assist with the harvest during the summer and fall. In a one-room schoolhouse, grade levels were often mixed and one teacher was responsible for all of the students’ learning. A man or woman, the school teacher assigned tasks to each student depending on the pupil’s age, grade, and level of advancement.

19th century poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote a poem that describes well a typical country schoolhouse in New England. A Quaker, abolitionist, and native of Haverhill, MA, Whittier is part of a group of poets also known as the schoolroom poets. Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. were considered the first American poets to bring forth an authentic American voice and rival the British poets. They were referred to as the Schoolroom Poets, Fireside Poets, or Household Poets given their popularity and widely read works. One of Whittier’s poems, “In School-days,” read here in this video by Tom O’Bedlam, describes the memory of an old man as he recalls a fellow student and the life lesson she taught him.

When listening to (or reading) this poem, notice the description of the schoolhouse: the warped floors, the schoolmaster’s worn desk, and the battered seats of the students – all characteristics that point to a typical 19th century schoolhouse in New England.  Read the rest of this entry »

Community-Based Education Resources: One-Room Schoolhouses

Community-Based Education Resources: One-Room Schoolhouses in Western MA

Here in Western Massachusetts there are many preserved historic school houses people can visit to learn more about schooling and education before the 20th century.

Print out and take John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem, “In School-Days,” with you to read as you explore these six historic schoolhouses in Western Massachusetts:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning through the Lens of One-Room Schoolhouses: Featured Events

History of Education: A Lesson

Guided Tours for Learning about Architecture & Local History in Western MA

Guided Tours for Learning about Architecture and Local History

Take a tour of the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield during the annual Housatonic Heritage Walks on Sept 24. Hear the story and history behind this historic theatre and movie house from the guilded age.

Buildings are designed with both form and function in mind, therefore, architecture can teach us about artistic, as well as practical trends. Changes in architectural styles of homes can reflect changes in lifestyle. Similarly, some historic structures fall out of use due to changes in economics and industrial trends. Architectural learning can also support placemaking as individuals gain a greater understanding of how their communities have developed over time. Several upcoming events in September and October will provide opportunities for individuals and families to learn about history through the lens of architectural structures.  Read the rest of this entry »

History Through the Lens of “What If?”

AlternateHistoryHub Promotes Consideration of Context in Studies of Human History

Every event in our own lives directly influences the next – and similarly, everything that we do as a country, a culture, and as humans influences all that comes after. Every major historical event – from battles and assassinations to natural disasters and deadly diseases – has shaped the events that follow it, making our timeline of human history not just a series of events, but a gradual and (so far) endless chain reaction of events.

So what if some of the major events that are part of our human timeline had never happened, or had happened differently?

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Historical Learning through Swordfighting

Swords Opens Up Opportunities for Historical Learning

Are your children or teens interested in history? What about swordfighting? Learning about history can be extra engaging with an intersecting interest, especially one which can be active and participatory. Here are community-based resources to learn about history through an interest in sword-fighting, along with fencing classes, theater and film: Read the rest of this entry »

Springfield Armory Reunion Offers Historical Learning Through Collective Memory

Springfield Armory Reunion Offers Historical Learning Through Collective Memory

Opened as an arsenal to support George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory served as a major arms manufacturing center for over two centuries. The Armory closed in 1968, becoming a National Historic Site which now provides families with opportunities to explore the intersection of local and national history.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Ruins Reveals Local History and Culture

Exploring Ruins Reveals Local History and Culture

Eyrie House Hotel

Scattered throughout western Massachusetts are remnants of the homes, industries, and culture of the past. Historic buildings line our downtown neighborhoods, stone walls crisscross the now forested hills, and old mill buildings have found new, modern uses. In addition to the still-visible, preserved and/or re-purposed signs of the past are a handful of ruins, speaking volumes about the human history surrounding both their creation and their eventual demise. By safely exploring the ruins of local fame, families can explore local history and culture as a microcosm of national history and culture. Additionally, explorations of such areas can illuminate the ways in which nature eventually reclaims land, no matter what has been placed in its way.  Read the rest of this entry »

Urban And Rural River Walks and Trails Highlight Natural and Human History

Urban And Rural River Walks & Trails Highlight Natural and Human History

Housatonic River in Great Barrington, MA.

Western Massachusetts’ landscape is filled with rivers. They run like veins between our ancient hills, and give life to human and non-human communities alike as they flow constantly onward. The warm months of the year are the best time to engage in experiential learning about local rivers, a task made more inviting through a handful of riverwalks and river-following paths found locally. Through explorations of a variety of local rivers, families can explore local ecology, connect with local history, and deepen their sense of place. In particular, comparisons of urban rivers and rural rivers can illuminate the ways in which humans past and present have depended upon our rivers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Freedom on Juneteenth

Community-Based Events & Resources Invite Families to Learn, Celebrate & Reflect on Freedom

These days, when a monumental government decision is made, technology allows the news to travel quickly and we are able to find out almost immediately. However, before the internet and telephones and even motorized vehicles were invented, information took a lot longer to travel. News could take days, weeks, even months to spread, and the further information had to travel, the longer it took for it to get there. In the case of the Emancipation Proclamation, for example, word of Lincoln’s granting of freedom to slaves in Confederate states took nearly six months to reach some parts of the country! While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st, 1863, word of emancipation took until June 19th to travel from Washington, DC to Galveston, Texas!

The day upon which Texas slaves learned of the Emancipation Proclamation is celebrated today as Juneteenth. Originally celebrated only in Texas, the day has served as a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States since 1865. Across the country – and even around the world – Juneteenth is celebrated in order to honor the struggles of those who endured slavery, and to remind us of the ways in which our country’s history has affected (and continues to affect) our current society. Find out about celebrations in Western MA!

Interpretive Trail Marking the History of the Mill River Flood to Offer Service-Based Learning

Interpretive Trail Marking the History of the Mill River Flood to Offer Service-Based Learning

The Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee is about to begin construction of a new trail that will provide public access to the ruins of the dam that caused the disastrous flood on May 16, 1874. The dam was built by a group of local factory owners to provide dependable water power to their mills. The design and construction of the 600′ long dam, however, proved to be inadequate and the dam burst. The resulting 600 million-gallon flood claimed 139 lives and destroyed much of the villages of Williamsburg, Skinnerville, Haydenville, and Leeds before depositing most of its debris in the meadows of Florence. At the time, it was the worst public works disaster in the history of the nation.

Now, adjacent landowners are collaborating with the Trails Committee on the construction of a new mile-long trail that will allow the public to hike to the ruins of the dam. The trail will traverse land that is part of a 250-year-old farm, and will also be used to tell the story of that farm and of local agriculture and forest management. The trail will include several footbridges, kiosks, interpretive signage, benches, and striking views of the gorge that the river follows below the failed reservoir. There will be extensive technical trail construction needed to make this a safe, enjoyable trail experience for users.

The community is invited to help and to be an exciting part of the creating of a community-based resource that will support the interests and education of residents and visitors to the area.  Read the rest of this entry »

Explore Local History and Culture with a Downtown Springfield Walking Tour!

Explore Local History and Culture with a Downtown Springfield Walking Tour!

Joining the host of local communities offering educational opportunities through walking tours, Springfield’s downtown has been given new life and new educational possibilities through a walking tour. Provided by the Springfield Central Cultural District, the tour spotlights over 200 years of the city’s history, and includes entry points for learning about everything from art and architecture to local government and the first gas-powered automobile.

Just in time for a season’s worth of great walking weather, the Springfield Central Cultural District presents a walking tour of downtown Springfield! By following the new walking tour, families can explore Springfield’s past and present, visiting landmarks whose significance remains relevant today but stretches back as far as the 1700’s. Through observational visits to parks, government buildings, businesses, and museums, families can explore local and national history, government, the evolution of local businesses, and all kinds of art, including sculpture, painted murals, and stained glass.

The walking tour is unlike most others in that while it includes a numbered list of locations, the tour does need to be followed according to the assigned numbers. The detailed map provided by the Springfield Central Cultural District features 25 notable locations which, thanks to their urban location, are all in very close proximity to one another and can be easily reached through many different routes. Families can explore all 25 of the central district’s significant landmarks, or easily navigate through the places and spaces that most interest them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring the History of Fashion through Bicycling

Tweed Run Helps Support A Thriving Community of Cyclists

Local bike ride modeled after rides across the pond, bring placemaking to the streets while raising funds and learning through the lens of history!

Typically, bicycling attire for a modern American involves flexible athletic clothing and sneakers. But at the beginning of cycling history, during the early 19th century, cyclists wore their typical, everyday clothing even when using bicycles for transport. In fact, women’s fashion of the time was a hindrance to their ability to ride, and this was a catalyst for change in women’s style of dress and in the design of the bicycle as manufactures began marketing towards women.  Read the rest of this entry »

Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows

The Great Meadow: Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows
Historic Northampton
May 13, 2016 through June 5, 2016

Once the heart of agricultural settlement in Northampton, today the Meadows is a wild space of parties and encampments, a wasteland where the bomb squad detonates suspicious packages, a nature preserve where birds migrate and birdsong predominates, and a vast farmland where corn is cultivated as it has been for hundreds of years.

The Great Meadow: Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows at Historic Northampton features the work of three local artists as they represent their unique artistic perspective on the Meadows and its many facets.

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Mass Moments Presents a Day-by-Day Calendar of State History

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.  Read the rest of this entry »

Community Renaissance Festival Makes History Come Alive!

Community Renaissance Festival Makes History Come Alive!

The 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies brings history to life! There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing and music!

Living history and open-air museums and events provide interesting insight into the ways in which we engage with historical information. Renaissance fairs first emerged in the United States in the 1950s, as part of a larger interest in medieval culture and music, resulting is placemaking events that support learning through engagement.

Living history challenges actors and attendees to think about history beyond events, learning about customs, dress, accents and behaviors. Vendors sometimes sell foods and items traditional for the time period. Living history, unlike historical texts or documentaries, is hands-on and interactive. Some renaissance and other living history events provide demonstrations of skills such as blacksmithing, and early printing methods. People of all ages who enjoy dressing up can feel like a more active participant by donning their renaissance wear along with the actors.

The 14th Annual Community Renaissance Festival hosted by The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies will be highly entertaining and educational. This event will take place on Saturday, May 1, 2016 from 11am-4pm. Attendees of all ages will have the chance to witness and learn about jewelry making, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. There will be sword demonstrations, juggling, Tarot reading, dancing and music. Plus, a book sale will allow for continued historical learning after the event.  Read the rest of this entry »

It is Your Right to Remain Silent!

Celebrate Law Day in Franklin County at GCC
Law Day 2016 Explores the Right to Remain Silent

On May 1 the United States officially recognizes Law Day. It is meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society. Before President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared May 1 to be Law Day, U.S.A., the first day of May was known in some parts of the world as May Day: a day to remember the struggles of workers in their fight for better wages and working conditions. Celebrate on May 4th in Greenfield!

Why do the police “read citizens their rights” when arresting them? The practice of informing citizens of their right to remain silent stems from a U.S. Supreme court decision, the case Miranda vs. Arizona, in 1966. This court decision is in accordance with the idea that your rights are of no use to you if you don’t know what they are. Once informed of your right to remain silent, if you willingly choose to speak, you are waiving this right by choice. In doing so, you consent to the fact that your words may be used against you in court.

In the case of Ernesto Mirando’s arrest and interrogation, he provided a written confession without being informed of his right to counsel or the fact that the confession would be used against him in court. When prosecutors tried to use the confession in court, the defense argued that his confession was not truly “voluntary.” Miranda’s case was overturned and today, the recitation of rights which most of us are familiar with from the media, is known as a “Miranda warning.”

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The Bicycle: Social Impacts, Past & Present

The Surprising Social Impact of Bicycles
and Local Learning Opportunities

Did you know that before inventing the world’s first successful airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop? They repaired and rented out bicycles and eventually went on to build their own bicycles and invent small improvements to the machines. In addition to gaining practice in engineering skills, this business funded their aviation experiments.

Simpler and less expensive than cars, bicycles can be a fun tool for tinkering. The fact that the parts of a bicycle are exposed can help people understand the physics driving the machine. Plus, owning a bicycle can give you an immense sense of freedom. Bicycles obviously do not travel as fast as cars (depending on traffic flow!) and can’t take you as far, but at the same time they are affordable to more people and they are driven by human energy. Biking allows you to take a closer look at the world around you and get exercise in a fun way.
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Local History: A Meditation on the Mill River Flood

Debris Flow: A Meditation on the Mill River Reservoir Disaster in 1874
Historic Northampton
March 11, 2016 through April 3, 2016

On May 16, 1874, an earthen reservoir dam in Williamsburg, Massachusetts broke, thanks to hubris and human error. One hundred thirty nine people died, and some 600 million gallons of water and debris destroyed factories, homes, and bridges along an 11-mile path, ending in a broad plain in Florence. The tragedy, the first major dam disaster in the United States, was a big story nationwide, and photographers flocked to document it.

The Debris Flow: A Meditation on the Mill River Reservoir Disaster in 1874 by Rebecca Muller at Historic Northampton is a mixed-media exhibition based on stereopticon images of this historic disaster. Through this exhibit, Muller showcases her artistic explorations, which often revolve around found material, scattered fragments of things lost, abandoned, eroded, or wrecked. Her showcase brings to life the symbolism of debris – physical, emotional, spiritual and energetic – and how it impacts our lives.

Through her art, Muller also shows us that there is beauty in debris, as it serves to mark time passing, the impact of weather, and its historic aftermath of events. This display features the masterful work of this talented Massachusetts artist while also educating viewers about the 1874 flood that held local and national significance. The exhibit runs March 11, 2016 through April 3, 2016 at Historic Northampton. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION $3)

Local History Through the Lens of Food: Nutritional Anthropology in the Pioneer Valley

Exhibit Chronicles Northampton History Through Food

Interested in the history of food? Take a peak at the new exhibit in Northampton. Come see how people produced and sold food and how people cooked and ate it, through the years. The exhibition is curated by Barbara B. Blumenthal, a member of Historic Northampton’s Board of Trustees. Barbara was a museum guide and hearth cook at Historic Northampton in the 1980s and early 1990s. Her passion for local history and food history led her to poke around in our collections looking for tasty tidbits to share with the public.

Historic Northampton offers a food-centric take on the city’s history through Table Talk: Food, Cooking, and Eating in Northampton Then and Now, an exhibit chronicling the production, purchase, and preparation of the foods enjoyed throughout two and a half centuries of Northampton’s history. With its focus lying on the city’s food-filled downtown, the exhibit offers a new take on the history of local food : rather than sharing the history of farming in Northampton, the exhibit emphasizes the role that local businesses – especially restaurants – have played in the local food chain.

On view from now until May 1, 2016, Table Talk: Food, Cooking, and Eating in Northampton Then and Now has much to offer. Made up of a collection of photographs, food-related objects and tools, and historical information and anecdotes, the exhibit speaks to more than just food history.

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HFVS Insect Episode with Jeff & Paige (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety ShowListen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Insect Episode with Jeff & Paige

Go on a musical hike with guest DJs Jeff and Paige to explore insects. Through music and story you’ll learn: how to identify an insect, how insects connect with animals, how insects help humans, and how humans can help insects! Jeff and Paige will play some of their favorite songs as well as fun tunes from other children’s musicians and from a few adult acts. Make sure you have room to dance as you explore nature and science with Jeff and Paige. –

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 30th & 31st, 2016

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “A Conversation Between an Entomologist and an Insect”


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  • Jeff and Paige – “A Conversation Between an Entomologist and an Insect” [Get Outdoors]
  • Ayla Nereo – “Eastern Sun” [Hollow Bone]
  • They Might Be Giants – “Why Does the Sun Shine?” [Here Comes Science]
  • The Smurfs – “Poor Little Silly Shy Smurf” [The Smurfs All Star Show]
  • Banana Slug String Band -“Decomposition” [Singing in our Garden]
  • Jeff and Paige – “New Tree Grows” [21st Century Energy Superheroes]
  • Justin Roberts – “Pop Fly” [Pop Fly]
  • The Bell Hours – “Farther Apart [The Bell Hours]
  • Sarah Jarosz – “Little Song” [Song Up In Her Head]
  • Jeff and Paige – “Bats” [Get Outdoors]
  • Mikey Mike -“Likin’ the Lichen” [Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist]
  • Jeff and Paige – “Thank You Honeybee” [Songs from the Trail]
  • Blitzen Trapper – “Fur” [Fur] 4:08
  • Jeff and Paige “The Great Monarch Migration” [Mighty Wolf]

HFVS Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety ShowListen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 16th & 17th, 2016
Original broadcast: 2008

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


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HFVS History Through Stories & Songs Episode with Guest DJ, David Grover (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
History Through Stories & Songs Episode
Guest DJ, David Grover

David Grover is our Guest DJ with a History through Stories & Songs Episode. David puts together an eclectic mix of favorite folk songwriters and singers that highlights the history of our country. –

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
January 9th & 10th, 2016

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Pete Seeger – “Forever Young”

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Listen to Podcast:


  • Where am I Going A.A. Milne/music Bob Reid
  • God’s Counting on You Pete Seeger/Lorre Wyatt
  • English is Crazy/Pete Seeger
  • If I Only Had a Brain/Liv Taylor
  • John Henry/David Grover
  • Ragtime Cowboy /Joe Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks
  • 4 Little Sailors/Bill Staines
  • The Declaration of Independence/Pete Seeger
  • To the South Pole/Bill Harley
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Civil War Music/David Grover
  • America the Beautiful/David Grover

Graphite-Inspired Exhibit Sparks Studies of Local Connections to Pencil and Paper

Graphite-Inspired Exhibit Sparks Studies of Local Connections to Pencil and Paper

Lead by a visit to the Springfield Museums’ new exhibit, Leaving Our Mark: In Celebration of the Pencil, families can explore not only the role of pencils and paper in art-making, but their ties to the history of western Massachusetts!

Honoring one of the most well-known, well-loved, and well-used art-making materials known to man, the Springfield Museums’ exhibit Leaving Our Mark: In Celebration of the Pencil spotlights the graphite-based tool with which most great artworks begin. Filled with numerous works created with graphite on paper, the exhibit brings to light the role that graphite plays (and has played) in the art world, paying homage to this basic yet incredibly versatile utensil. By visiting the exhibit, families can learn about the use of graphite as an artistic medium and view works that explore its potential. Families can also explore the history of western Massachusetts by using pencil and paper as a catalyst for learning!

On view from now through March 27th of 2016, Leaving Our Mark is made up of 62 pieces of artwork, carefully curated by local artist Steve Wilda. Though made using what can sometimes be thought of as the most basic of materials, the works included in the exhibit speak to the true potential of graphite in art-making and include rich detail within complex images. Visitors to the exhibit can even leave their own mark with graphite, adding their own graphite-based works to the exhibit’s Community Drawing Wall.

Originally used for marking sheep to show ownership, graphite became a material for drawing and writing during the 1500’s, when a large deposit was discovered in England. Following this discovery, graphite evolved in its use (and its manufacture into more sophisticated drawing tools) – evidence of which can be seen within the exhibit.

In addition to exploring the artistic potential afforded to artists by graphite, families can explore the role that pencils and paper have played in local history – beginning with one of the country’s earliest mining operations. Read the rest of this entry »

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