From Neighborhood Grocer to the Modern Supermarket

The Big Y: From Neighborhood Grocer to the Modern Supermarket

This exhibit tells the story of community development and business innovation and how this local grocery store impacted the food industry. Through photos and memorabilia, the story of its evolution unfolds and connects visitors to a piece of western MA history.

When you think about shopping local, do you think of Friendly’s Ice Cream? Yankee Candle? The Big Y?  All three of these successful businesses had their beginnings here in Western MA!

A new exhibit at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History traces the journey of Big Y Supermarkets from a small neighborhood grocery store to one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England. The exhibit, entitled The Big Y: From Neighborhood Grocer to the Modern Supermarket, is now on permanent view at the Wood Museum. In close proximity are displays honoring other local success stories like Friendly’s Ice Cream and Smith & Wesson. Read the rest of this entry »

Industry of the Past & Natural History Explored this Weekend

History of Logging & Hawley Bog
Pioneer Valley Institute Features Local Industry & Natural History Events This Weekend

Submitted image.

Western Massachusetts is rich with both local and natural history – both of which are topics that Greenfield Community College’s Pioneer Valley Institute highlights in its educational programs. Blending topics like geology and natural biodiversity with the study of local agriculture, industry, and culture, the Pioneer Valley Institute offers intriguing programs that allow community members to explore their surroundings while also learning about their natural and cultural significance. Read the rest of this entry »

History Exhibition Recalls Holyoke’s Industrial Past

Echoes of Industry:
The Death and Rebirth of Holyoke’s Mills
Jan – Feb, 2014

With 25 mills near the end of the 19th century, Holyoke was the largest paper manufacturer. Today these mills are reminders of another age – victims of fire, demolition or a new purpose. What remains offers a silent dignity that demands to be recorded.

This January and February, Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke remembers the city’s past through a display of artwork by Eric Broudy. “Echoes of Industry: The Death and Rebirth of Holyoke’s Mills” contains photographs Broudy took of the old, run-down mills – their exteriors and vast interiors, the “architectural details with rubble and shattered windows” – and a video installation featuring footage of Holyoke mills being given new life, through the development of creative spaces like art galleries, dance and yoga studios, offices, restaurants, even homes, in these once-mighty industrial structures…

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Museum of Our Industrial Heritage Wants Franklin County Stories

Museum of Our Industrial Heritage

The Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield is growing!  Last summer, the museum opened a new exhibit on the industrial history of Franklin County and added weekly hours.  This summer, there will be another new exhibit – and you can help to create it!  The focus of the new exhibit is “Change: Transportation, Trade, and Technology,” and focuses on how these three things have changed communities within Franklin County (and Athol, whose history is also included in the museum).

Community members are encouraged to submit material to the museum for possible inclusion in the exhibit.  Among the accepted forms of information are images (digital, preferably), stories, and artifacts, but anything of historical significance is helpful!

Families can use the solicitation of exhibit material as a learning opportunity – if you don’t have any family stories or preexisting knowledge about Franklin County history, take a trip to your local historical society and do some research!  It can also be used as an intergenerational learning activityinterviewing older community members can be a great way to unearth important information, photos, and stories, too.  Information ready for submission can be sent to, or mailed to the museum at 2 Mead Street, Greenfield, MA, 01302.

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