MARCH 2020

7 March – Vision Board Workshop
Pioneer Valley History Network
at Sunderland Public Library, 10:30 am – 1 pm

A creative way to map out your organization’s vision for 2020.

Local historical societies and small cultural institutions are invited to learn how a vision board can help staff, board members, and volunteers creatively think about institutional goals, plans and priorities. A wonderful team exercise that aims to strengthen collaboration, inspire new ideas, and succinctly present an organization’s aspirations through a shared vision brainstormed together. Each group will leave with their own vision board to take back to their site.

For more info or to register email:
Group price includes 3 person maximum. Cost includes some materials & refreshments.  $8/person or $15/organization

1 March – “Taken Away: The Captive Experience in the late 1600s and early 1700s,”
Historic Deerfield Winter Lecture Series
at the Hess Center for the Arts, Deerfield Academy, 2 pm.

Presented by Kevin Sweeney, professor emeritus, Amherst College

This year marks the 316th anniversary of the raid on the English settlement of Deerfield by French soldiers, Canadiens, and their Native allies on February 29, 1704. The 2020 Winter Lecture series shares new scholarship and insights on an event that continues to captivate more than three centuries later. Join us for three afternoon lectures where presenters will share insights into the role of wampum in regional inter-tribal alliances and inter-cultural encounters in the decades preceding the 1704 attack, the captive experience, and the continuing relevance of the Deerfield raid.

Free, Pre-Registration Required.


29 February – “Dreams and Defiance”
Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St., Holyoke, 7 – 9 pm.

A Concert by Pamela Means and Doctora Xingona Diana Alvarez.

On Saturday, February 29 from 7 to 9 pm., Wistariahurst will host Dreams and Defiance, a concert by Pamela Means and Doctora Xingona Diana Alvarez. Dreams and defiance, necessary ingredients for all social change, illuminate the musical renderings of these visionary musician-activist-educators. This powerhouse co-bill performance is sure to warm and inspire!

Tickets are $15 and are available at and at the door. This event takes place on the first floor of the The Main House at Wistariahurst. For accessibility information, please visit:

ABOUT PAMELA MEANS: Pamela Means, singer-songwriter, inimitable guitarist, and versatile vocalist with a penchant for penning political tunes, cannot be musically contained. A conservatory-trained musician, Means also fronts her own jazz quartet, breathing life into classics once sung by Billie Holiday, Chet Baker and the like. Pamela Means, daredevil on the high wire, recently added a new show to her plethora of projects, performing all of The Beatles Abbey Road album, solo acoustic, in celebration of its 50th anniversary and generational influence. Pamela Means has independently released nine albums and her tenth album is slated for 2020 (and more on deck)!

ABOUT DIANA ALVAREZ: Dr. Diana Alvarez’s fierce Xicana Xingona voice creates a gripping atmosphere that audiences call “transcendent.” Alvarez’s soulful, bilingual songs exalt queer love and liberation, and are drawn from her origins in the borderlands of South Texas, where she grew up singing to the Gulf of Mexico. In her music, Alvarez often grapples with her solo migration to the Northeast as a means to shift the tides of oppression in her family and beyond. Her songs are offerings for familia, and honor the “in-between-ness” of culture, identity, and language.

Dr. Alvarez is the composer and filmmaker behind the multimedia performance, Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera. Described by the press as “a visually and acoustically stunning performance meant to honor women, non-binary and genderqueer people of color,” Quiero Volver features Alvarez’s original music, sonic text scores, a poem-script for ensemble performance, and documentary video portraits of Sharon Bridgforth, Magdalena Gómez, Vick Quezada, and Nicole M. Young. In 2018, Quiero Volver was produced at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA by grassroots organizers and Smith College, and raised over $10,000 to support immigrant justice initiatives.

26 February – “History to the Defeated May Say Alas”
2020 Writer-In-Residence Public Lecture
Flavin Family Auditorium, UMass Amherst, 6 pm

with Vijay Prashad

A historian who looks into the ruins in search of the future has to squint, look carefully at the shards of hope, wonder if it would ever be possible to find the pathways outwards and forwards. That historian has to learn the difference between failure and defeat, has to wonder about the contradictions of the human experience, indeed has to wonder about the idea of the “human” itself — we were people, with great difficulty we became human. Join me for a journey into the ruins.

Free and Open to All + Book Signing to Follow + Free Parking Available

26 February – “Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women”
Film Screening & Discussion
Integrated Learning Center, S240, UMass Amherst, 4 – 6 pm.

Followed by moderated Q&A Session with filmmaker Miki Dezaki

Synopsis: “The “comfort women” issue is perhaps Japan’s most contentious present-day diplomatic quandary. Inside Japan, the issue is dividing the country across clear ideological lines. Supporters and detractors of “comfort women” are caught in a relentless battle over empirical evidence, the validity of oral testimony, the number of victims, the meaning of sexual slavery, and the definition of coercive recruitment. Credibility, legitimacy and influence serve as the rallying cry for all those involved in the battle. In addition, this largely domestic battleground has been shifted to the international arena, commanding the participation of various state and non-state actors and institutions from all over the world. This film delves deep into the most contentious debates and uncovers the hidden intentions of the supporters and detractors of comfort women. Most importantly it finds answers to some of the biggest questions for Japanese and Koreans: Were comfort women prostitutes or sex slaves? Were they coercively recruited? And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize to the former comfort women?

This controversial project should be of interest for students and scholars of historical memory, public history, imperialism, and gender and sexuality as well as the broader histories of China, Korea, and Japan. Following the screening, Garrett Washington, Department of History will moderate a Question and Answer session with Mr. Dezaki. In order to most efficiently use our time, questions for the director will be accepted up until the end of the film at: from anyone who will be in attendance. Please include your name and question so that Mr. Dezaki will be able to respond to you directly after the film.

Sponsored by the UMass Amherst History Department, East Asian Languages and Cultures Program, Journalism Department, and the Five College Japan Lecture Series.

20 February – “Maps and Legends”
Department of Conservation & Recreation
Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, noon – 1 pm

You’ve probably seen a map of the world, a map of your country, and a map of a shopping mall where you were trying to find the food court. But have you ever seen a map where California is an island, where Mars has oceans, or where US states have names like Cascade and Cochise? During this brown-bag lunch learning session in the Great Hall, learn why mapmakers don’t always get things right, and to try making some maps of your own. For teenagers and adults.

19 February – “Why Duke Ellington Matters”
Northampton Neighbors & Northampton Senior Center
Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton, 5:30 – 7 pm

Tom Reney, host of “Jazz a la Mode” on WFCR/NEPR and nationally recognized broadcaster and journalist, will present “Why Duke Ellington Matters: My 40 Years in Jazz Radio,” a talk about the significance of Ellington as a jazz artist, cultural icon, and personal hero of Tom’s.

Nearly 50 years after his death, Ellington remains a major influence in jazz as a composer, pianist and bandleader. Drawing inspiration from folk traditions, dance, and the collective memory of joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies of African-American life as expressed in spirituals, work songs, and the blues, he created an enormous body of music – all cohesive and recognizable as Ellingtonia. Reney, who was 13 when he first saw Edward Kennedy Ellington in concert, will discuss how Ellington inspired his decision to pursue a career in jazz radio and journalism, and the ongoing example he has set for the basic principles that guide Reney’s work as a nationally recognized host of jazz on the air.  Tom will share some clips of Ellington’s music and consider why they matter.

The event is free and open to the public. Northampton Neighbors: (413) 341-0160

17 February – “Our Landscape and Global Climate Change”
Plainfield Historical Society, et al
at the Plainfield Public Safety Complex, 38 N. Central St., Plainfield, 7 pm

with Brittany Laginhas, UMass Amherst

Our series  will continue Monday night at 7 pm, at the Plainfield Public Safety Complex, 38 N. Central St., Plainfield, MA. Parking is limited. Please carpool if you can . If the parking lot is full, park on one side of the road only.

For more information, contact  Anne Williamson (413) 634- 5695, Find more information about the events on facebook:

This program is funded in part by the Plainfield Cultural Council.

15 February – “Sweethearts at Sea: Love & Marriage in the Age of Sail”
Springfield Armory National Historic Site
at Springfield Technical Community College, Scibelli Hall, Rm 112, 2 pm

Join Amanda Goodheart Parks for her presentation, Sweethearts at Sea: Love & Marriage in the Age of Sail on Saturday, February 15 at 2 pm. Presentation will take place at Springfield Technical Community College, building 2 (Scibelli Hall), café room 112. Admission is free.

During the nineteenth century, when Yankee whale oil lit the world, men from more than thirty New England communities sailed the seven seas in the pursuit of whales, leaving their families behind for up to five years at a time. Meanwhile, new philosophies encouraging love match marriages became popular in New England society.

In the 1840’s, a small group of married couples defied social and industrial tradition by going to sea together aboard whaleships. This presentation will focus on one of these remarkable couples – Captain John and Elizabeth Marble of Fall River, Massachusetts, using the letters and journals they left behind to tell a story of love, life, and loss at sea.

Susan Ashman
Park Ranger, Historic Weapons Supervisor
Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Ph: (413) 734-8551 ext 233
Fax: (413) 747-8062

15 February – Basil Dorsey Day
David Ruggles Center
at the Florence Civic Center, 90 Park St., Florence, 2 pm.

Celebrate Black History Month on Basil Dorsey Day in Florence!

Join Leveller’s Press, the David Ruggles Center, and author Bob Drinkwater to mark the publication of his new book, In Memory of Susan Freedom. His remarkable photographs will be featured in a carefully prepared slideshow presentation.

14 February – “I Love Wine!”
Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot St., Holyoke, 6 – 8 pm

On Friday, February 14, 2020 from 6 to 8 pm, “I Love Wine!” will return to Wistariahurst for a special Valentine’s Day wine tasting. Join us as we sample fine wines from around the world in the historic Skinner family mansion. Keep track of the vineyards and vintages, aromas and finishes of the wines you love on the guest sampling menu.

Fine wines are courtesy of Liquors44. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tickets are limited and advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Tickets are available for $30. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Wistariahurst is an educational and cultural center owned and operated by the City of Holyoke and supported by The Wistariahurst Foundation. Wistariahurst is dedicated to preserving Holyoke’s history and inspiring an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wistariahurst is the former home of William Skinner, a prominent silk manufacturer and was built in 1874.

Today, Wistariahurst offers a wide variety of public programs and events including: workshops, concerts, lectures and demonstrations and serves the community through educational programs, community partnerships, history projects, and outreach activities. More information is available at

12 February – “Organizing your Family History Research
Holyoke History Room & Archives
Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke, 4 – 5:30 pm

with Hillary Schau, by pre-registration only: (413) 420-8107

Whether you work solely with paper to manage your genealogy findings, or strive to digitize everything you discover, it can be a struggle to locate that one piece of information that you know is there somewhere.

This workshop will help participants develop strategies for controlling the vast collection of materials that accumulate in the course of family history research. Hillary Schau’s tips and tricks will be useful for both paper-based and digital genealogists.  In the Computer Classroom. Free, but please pre-register by calling (413) 420-8107.

Hillary Schau is a professional genealogist from western Massachusetts who has been helping people with their research and individual brick walls for many years.  She is a 2015 graduate of Boston University’s “Genealogical Research Certificate Program,” a volunteer at the Family Search Affiliate Library (Chicopee Library), and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society.

12 February – “Your Town, The Musical”
Piti Theater Company
Hawlemont Elementary School, 10 School St., Charlemont, 10 am

Two third-grade classes are putting on a musical about Charlemont, Hawley and Heath’s local history at Hawlemont Elementary School on Wed., Feb. 12 at 10 am. We are grateful to Mass Humanities and the Mass Cultural Council for providing the seed funds for “Olde Coleraine” which kick started this program in 2013. The Hawlemont residency was funded by Massachusetts Cultural Council’s STARS program.

11 February – Film: “Ida B. Wells – A Passion for Justice”
Jones Library, Amherst, 7 pm

Though virtually forgotten today, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a household name in Black America during much of her lifetime (1863-1931) and was considered the equal of her well-known African American contemporaries such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

“Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice” documents the dramatic life and turbulent times of the pioneering African American journalist, activist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader of the post-Reconstruction period. Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison reads selections from Wells’ memoirs and other writings in this winner of more than 20 film festival awards.

For Black History Month – this video teaches a key part of Black history that can inspire and inform all of us.

All members of the community are warmly invited. Looking at racism together makes new things possible. Please join us.

8 February – “Burial Grounds of Holyoke”
Holyoke History Room & Archives
in the Community Rm., Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St., Holyoke, 11 am

with Robert Comeau

If a person died in Holyoke in times past, where would that person have been buried? It depends!  Robert Comeau draws on his extensive research into burial ground, cemetery, and church history to answer this question, exploring the many factors that determined burial places at different points in Holyoke’s history. The talk will focus on cemeteries and burial grounds established before 1900, including lesser-known graveyards that pre-date the founding of Holyoke.

While the talk is aimed at a general audience, genealogists will find Comeau’s case examples particularly useful. Free and open to the public.

Bob Comeau has been researching family history for over two decades and specializes in French-Canadian genealogy.  He has led numerous historic walking tours of Holyoke’s cemeteries, canals, and reservoirs. His current project involves genealogical identification of 70 known victims of the Precious Blood Church fire in Holyoke in 1875.


26 January – “Before 1704: Wampum Traditions and Landscapes of Memory,”
Historic Deerfield Winter Lecture Series
at Garonzik Auditorium, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, 2 pm

Margaret Bruchac will present the first lecture of Historic Deerfield’s 2020 Winter Lecture Series, Captivated: Histories and Legacies of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield. “Before 1704: Wampum Traditions and Landscapes of Memory” revisits histories of regional inter-tribal alliances and intercultural encounters in the decades leading up to the 1704 attack on Deerfield, and focuses in on one of the most valuable materials in circulation: wampum. Marine shell whelk and quahog wampum among Native nations and, by the 1600s, between Native and colonial settler nations. For a short time, wampum beads also served as a substitute for English currency. Dr. Bruchac will share insights on historical wampum construction, use, exchange, iconography, and interpretation, including new research into an evocative 17th-century war club embedded with both iron inlays and re-purposed wampum beads.

We recommend that attendees plan to arrive early to the lecture. This is an event that is open to the public, with general admission seating.

25 January – “Shays’ Rebellion: Perspectives on History”
Springfield Armory, PVHN, & other orgs.
at Theater, Building 2, Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, 9 am – 4 pm.

(snow date, January 26)

Presenters include:
* Tim Abbott — “The Final Fight at Sheffield”
* Daniel Bullen — “Shays’ Kerfuffle — A People’s Perspective”
* Steve Butz — “Archaeology of the Shays’ Settlement”
* Tom Goldscheider — “Three Men in Debt”
* Barbara Mathews — “More Than a Little Rebellion”
* Adam Tomasi — “The Contested Meanings of ‘Shays’ Rebellion Day’ 1986”

Doors open at 8 am. Program begins at 9 am.

Tickets: $6, Box Lunch $10 Purchase Tickets and Box Lunches at:

24 January – “The Victorian Lady”
Storrowton Village Museum
at Union Meeting House, Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, 7 pm

On Friday, January 24th, Storrowton Village Museum features Connecticut historian Kandie Carle’s presentation “The Victorian Lady,” highlighting fashion in the 1890s Gilded Age.  The performance is not a fashion show; rather, Kandie takes the audience on a journey of discovery by using actual vintage and authentically reproduced undergarments, clothing and accessories as tools and explains how, when, and where they were appropriately worn.  Ms. Carle will also share insights into the lifestyle, manners, etiquette and customs of men, women and children of the era.  The performance is designed for audience interaction and questions will be encouraged throughout the show.

Friday, January 24th at 7 pm in the Union Meeting House; doors open at 6:45 pm.

Tickets are $8.00 in advance, online only / $10 at the door day of event. Purchase online tickets here

Storrowton Village Museum
at Eastern States Exposition
1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield MA  01089

15 January – ““Getting It Together”
Northampton Neighbors & Northampton Senior Center
at Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton, 5:30-7 pm

a how-to talk and workshop to help people gather and organize their personal records by Cheri Cross

Talk in brief: Where’s your birth certificate? Car title? Safe-deposit box key? Deed?

­Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of gathering and organizing your personal records?You’re not alone! Cheri will offer guidance and resources for how to tackle this important task. She actually enjoys creating systems and organizing material, and she’s eager to help people get control of their personal records.

Speaker bio: Cheri Cross is a communications professional whose career has included stints as national director of publications at Price Waterhouse (now PwC), director of communications at Mount Holyoke College and Northfield Mount Hermon School, and as principal of Slate Roof Studio — a multimedia company where her clients included The Art Institute of Chicago, The Culinary Institute of America, The Smith College Art Museum, Stanford University, and Middlebury College.

5 January – “Polish Christmas Carol Sing Along”
Polish Heritage Committee  of Northampton
at St. Valentine’s Church, 127 King St., Northampton, 2 pm

The Polish Heritage Committee  of Northampton  is sponsoring a Polish Christmas Carol Sing Along, Sunday, January 5, 2020, 2:00 p.m. at St. Valentine’s Church, 127 King Street, Northampton.  All friends of Polonia are cordially invited to attend.  The carols will be led by singers from area church choirs.  An afternoon of music and fellowship is surely to be enjoyed by all.  Refreshments will follow the event (in the parish hall of the church).  If anyone has any questions, please call Chris Newman at 413-584-4531 or Bob Gibowicz at 413-224-1309.  We hope you will join us.