Hatfield Historical Museum

Hatfield Historical Museum The museum showcases the history of this Connecticut River Valley farming town since its founding in 1670. We are fortunate to have some treasures from the early days of its settlement in addition to early 19th and 20th century artifacts.
We are open Tuesday mornings from 10 am to noon, and the first Saturday of every month, from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Closed in December.
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SAVE THE DATE, MAY 21, 2020! Part 2 of our Hatfield Vietnam Vets Oral History Project will be a web page that includes a...
12/03/2019

SAVE THE DATE, MAY 21, 2020! Part 2 of our Hatfield Vietnam Vets Oral History Project will be a web page that includes all 11 audio interviews (between 30 and 90 minutes each), an excerpt for each, and photos. The fruits of this project will be introduced Thursday, May 21, immediately after the Hatfield Historical Society’s Annual Meeting, as part of our town’s 350th anniversary celebrations. The event will take place at the Hatfield American Legion, followed by refreshments. Come hear moving and entertaining stories and meet and thank our Vietnam veteran participants for their service. Check out the photos below from their interviews – and mark May 21, 2020 on your calendar!

HATFIELD VIETNAM VETS GO TO WASHINGTON! This afternoon, we mailed off 11 audio interviews to the Veterans History Projec...
11/29/2019

HATFIELD VIETNAM VETS GO TO WASHINGTON! This afternoon, we mailed off 11 audio interviews to the Veterans History Project at the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, DC – 10 of them from Hatfield Vietnam War veterans who were in-country and one from a Vietnam War nurse stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Thanks first to our VETERANS, for sharing their stories, to our volunteer interviewers, to the Hatfield Historical Society for sponsoring the grant, to the Hatfield American Legion for providing interview space, and to Mass. SHRAB (the State Historical Records Advisory Board) for approving and funding this oral history project as part of their Preservation Grants for Veterans Program.

Now these veterans’ stories – many of them never before shared outside veterans’ circles – will not only be saved and preserved in our town (at the Hatfield Historical Museum), but also at the Library of Congress, where they will be available to ALL. Now that’s something to give thanks about!

Participating veterans: Bob Bartlett Jr., Gerry Clark, Tom Doktor, Paul Dostal, Pat Douglas, Paul Jagodzinski, Joe Mulherin, Bryan Nicholas, Brock Schmalz, Tom Tataro and Ed Wroblewski.

Interviewers: Hannah Zahn, Audrey Weston, Bonnie Zima Dowd and Kathie Gow.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE HATFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY! While nothing is ever perfect, we have a lot to be thankful for...
11/27/2019

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE HATFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY! While nothing is ever perfect, we have a lot to be thankful for, and one of those things is this small town with a big impact on so many lives. It is a history worth saving, and we hope to continue doing just that.

If you like what we’re doing and want to help us keep doing it, please consider adding us to your year-end or GIVING TUESDAY (Dec. 3) donations list, plus voting for us in Florence Bank’s “Customer Choice Community Grants” (if you’re a customer). Links for donating and for voting can be found on the front page of our website. We thank you for your contributions, large and small, as each one helps us save and share more Hatfield history.

https://hatfieldhistory.weebly.com/

WEIRD LIQUOR PRACTICES FROM THE PAST. Apparently, Hatfield forefathers thought serving alcohol to minors was a good idea...
11/25/2019

WEIRD LIQUOR PRACTICES FROM THE PAST. Apparently, Hatfield forefathers thought serving alcohol to minors was a good idea – at least one day of the year. And how about mixing your ale and rum together? Seems like a weird taste? Just add eggs, sugar and nutmeg, and you’re good to go! (called “flip”).

For details on the drinking practices and establishments of Hatfield’s past (including the Congregational Church minister making an economic case for temperance in Hatfield, and a link to a “flip” demo), check out Rob Wilson’s great blog post on the Historical Society website. It’s called: “Raising a Glass in Hatfield: From Flip, Toddies and Egg Pop Day to Temperance and Prohibition.”

https://hatfieldhistory.weebly.com/blog

Reminder: come join us for the opening of “Booze, Schmooze and News: Remembering Hatfield Taverns and Clubs” on Sat., Dec. 21, in the Hatfield Historical Museum (2nd floor of library), where we’ll be featuring a lot of places you likely remember!

Why all the drinking-related stuff? We’re marking the upcoming 100th anniversary of the enactment of Prohibition – the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

ANOTHER MULTI-SENSORY PROGRAM at the Legion. Last night we were treated to an entertaining talk on the history of the wo...
11/15/2019

ANOTHER MULTI-SENSORY PROGRAM at the Legion. Last night we were treated to an entertaining talk on the history of the world by local entrepreneur Jonni Benson, where the impetus for most scientific, medical and social advances was, surprisingly – BEER! Jonni was accompanied by Sean Barry, whom he taught to make beer about 15 years ago, and Sean described the process as both of them demonstrated the stages and passed around bags of ingredients to smell. Followed by a smorgasbord of sweet and savory treats provided by Historical Society members. A great way to spend a cold November evening. Thanks Jonni, Sean and the Legion!

Have you or your family ever brewed beer, or made wine or cider? If so, what do you remember most about it?

MAKING LIQUOR. Don’t miss our program this Thursday evening on “The History of Making Liquor and Stories of Prohibition....
11/13/2019

MAKING LIQUOR. Don’t miss our program this Thursday evening on “The History of Making Liquor and Stories of Prohibition.” It will be presented by Jonni Benson, owner of Ottertale Winery and the manufacturer of a host of other alcoholic beverages.

6:30 pm at the Hatfield American Legion, 1 Prospect St. Refreshments provided by the Hatfield Historical Society, with beer and wine available for purchase from the Legion. Come get WARMED UP on a cold night!

Check out some of our collection items below related to making liquor.

OPEN SATURDAY, CLOSED TUESDAY. Come visit the museum tomorrow morning (Nov. 2) from 9:30 to 11:30 am, during our regular...
11/01/2019

OPEN SATURDAY, CLOSED TUESDAY. Come visit the museum tomorrow morning (Nov. 2) from 9:30 to 11:30 am, during our regular open hours on the first Saturday of the month (except for December, when we’re closed). But also a heads up that the Museum will be closed this coming TUESDAY morning (Nov. 5), due to schedule conflicts.

CAN YOU HELP US? In recognition of the upcoming 100-year anniversary of Prohibition, we are preparing our newest exhibit on the history of drinking spots in our town, titled “Booze, Schmooze and News: Remembering Hatfield Taverns and Clubs.” It will open in the Hatfield Historical Museum on Luminarium SATURDAY, Dec. 21, from 4:30 to 6 pm.

Can you come tomorrow morning with any photos, anecdotes, memorabilia or tools related to Hatfield drinking spots, or items used by folks to make at-home brews? We’ll be asking for more specific items as we get further along and discover what we’re missing.

For starters, anyone have a PHONE or a picture of a booth phone from the Dial Tone Lounge in Hatfield? How about a photo of snowmobilers parked outside the Last Chance Café? Or dancing at any Hatfield club that served liquor?

STOP! DON’T EAT those extra candy bars before Sunday! Due to a bad weather forecast, the Town of Hatfield has postponed ...
10/31/2019

STOP! DON’T EAT those extra candy bars before Sunday! Due to a bad weather forecast, the Town of Hatfield has postponed trick or treating from Oct. 31 (Thursday) to Saturday, between 5 and 8 pm. Seriously. Here are a few shots from around town, plus one from 10 years ago tomorrow at the Sixth Grade Halloween Carnival at Hatfield Elementary. Recognize anyone? Did YOUR class have a 6th grade carnival? If so, do you have any pictures? And the big question: how did Halloween in Hatfield differ when you were growing up?

MARKING 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PROHIBITION.Prohibition took effect in January 1920, and to mark this event, we are having ...
10/22/2019

MARKING 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PROHIBITION.
Prohibition took effect in January 1920, and to mark this event, we are having Hatfield entrepreneur Jonni Benson present “The history of making liquor and stories of prohibition in Hatfield,” to be held at the Hatfield American Legion (1 Prospect St.) on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 pm.

Jonni is the owner of Ottertale Winery and the manufacturer of a host of other alcoholic beverages. He will also bring and display products, including beer, wine and hard cider. Not to be missed!

ANOTHER HOMECOMING, ANOTHER GAME. Actually, several games – tomorrow! The annual Homecoming Parade will take place aroun...
10/19/2019

ANOTHER HOMECOMING, ANOTHER GAME. Actually, several games – tomorrow! The annual Homecoming Parade will take place around 9 am, leaving from Smith Academy and traveling the "square," with Girls Soccer to follow at 11 am, Boys Soccer at 1 pm and Field Hockey at 2 pm. Come out and support your school! Plus, each class will be making and selling food.

Check out these pics from only five years ago – how time flies. What do YOU remember about Homecoming when you went to Smith Academy? Did they do anything differently? Do you have any photos of parade floats or SA games?

COOL MEDICAL DONATIONS from the Byrne boys (David, Richard, Bob and Bill), who visited the Historical Museum Wednesday a...
10/11/2019

COOL MEDICAL DONATIONS from the Byrne boys (David, Richard, Bob and Bill), who visited the Historical Museum Wednesday along with Pam Byrne (Bob’s wife). They toured the new exhibits and donated a handful of medical references from their grandfather’s library (Dr. Charles A. Byrne). Some of the books were given to him by his Uncle Henry Gray, M.D., in 1895, when Charles first arrived in Hatfield as a newly minted doc. Check these out!

JUST SAW THIS. Any of you Smith Academy alumni feeling nostalgic, or just curious to connect with some other SA grads, c...
10/11/2019

JUST SAW THIS. Any of you Smith Academy alumni feeling nostalgic, or just curious to connect with some other SA grads, check this out -- an IMPROMPTU ALL CLASS REUNION this Saturday at 1 pm at the Hatfield American Legion. Woo-hoo!

A TREASURED BOOK. Tuesday the Historical Museum was visited by Dan and Sally Graves of California, descendants of the Gr...
10/10/2019

A TREASURED BOOK. Tuesday the Historical Museum was visited by Dan and Sally Graves of California, descendants of the Graves family members who first settled Hatfield. Dan was telling me about a book of Graves family history he came across at the Mormon archives in Utah, written by John Card Graves, in three volumes. They had showed him the book -- but not let him hold it. Turns out, we have Vol. I of the 1896 book – and we let him hold it.

Its spine and binding are in tough shape, though, which is why we sent it out with bookbinder John Nove to have a 4-flap box made for it – funded by the conservation line of our Collections Mgt. & Preservation Grant from our town’s Community Preservation Act. Now the book can stand safely upright on a shelf until such time as its binding can be restored or replaced.

THREE MORE PORTER McLEOD WORKERS...meant to add them in the last post, and can't figure out how to add them in later, so...
10/04/2019

THREE MORE PORTER McLEOD WORKERS...meant to add them in the last post, and can't figure out how to add them in later, so here they are!

"FORGOTTEN EMPIRE OF PORTER McLEOD" EXHIBIT COMING DOWN! If you didn’t get a chance to see it, or want to take another l...
10/04/2019

"FORGOTTEN EMPIRE OF PORTER McLEOD" EXHIBIT COMING DOWN! If you didn’t get a chance to see it, or want to take another look, tomorrow morning is the time (Sat., 9:30 to 11:30 am) or Tuesday morning (10 am to noon) as we will be taking down the exhibit to prepare for installing the History of Drinking in Hatfield exhibit. Check out some of these folks who used to work there.

PAY YOUR WATER BILL YET? Check out this Hatfield water bill from 114 years ago on Oct. 2, 1905, for Hugh McLeod, his hou...
10/04/2019

PAY YOUR WATER BILL YET? Check out this Hatfield water bill from 114 years ago on Oct. 2, 1905, for Hugh McLeod, his household and “shop.”

Hugh married Helen Porter, daughter of Porter Machine Shop founder Jonathan L. Porter in December 1899, a year after he purchased the business from Mr. Porter. That was after 7 years as the shop superintendant. So, does the “shop” refer to the Porter-McLeod Machine Tool Co. on Prospect Ct.? No addresses listed, but the McLeod residence was the house at 19 School St., Hatfield.

Not sure who all the 9 people are, though...

WE MISSED GARVEYS (Hatfield Liquors) on our bar / package store locator map at our recent wine tasting fundraiser party,...
10/01/2019

WE MISSED GARVEYS (Hatfield Liquors) on our bar / package store locator map at our recent wine tasting fundraiser party, but Joe Skorupski and John Pease reminded us. As luck would have it, we’ve since gotten a digital donation of the smoky demise of said establishment, pulled from a 1970 scrapbook of Joe Mieleszko. The image was donated by Joe’s stepson Walter Geryk. Thanks Walter! Do you recognize the guy manning the ‘dozer?

CAN YOU HELP US? We think this framed collection of Civil War GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) medals and ribbons in our...
09/30/2019

CAN YOU HELP US? We think this framed collection of Civil War GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) medals and ribbons in our Collection (dated 1890 to 1912) might be associated with Civil War veteran Seth W. Kingsley – pictured in the prior post – but we don’t know for sure, and the donor is unknown.

Some are from national encampments, others are reunions for specific regiments such as the 88th Illinois Infantry (where Edward Curtis served) or the 52nd Mass. Infantry (where Seth Kingsley and Daniel White Wells served). Let us know if you can shed more light on this great collection!

HATFIELD VET FROM 150+ YEARS AGO...Museum visitor Holly just sent us a photo she found online of Seth W. Kingsley, who s...
09/30/2019
Seth W. Kingsley | Forbes Library Digital Gallery

HATFIELD VET FROM 150+ YEARS AGO...Museum visitor Holly just sent us a photo she found online of Seth W. Kingsley, who served in Co. K of the 52nd Mass. Volunteers. It's on the Digital Commonwealth page of...Forbes Library! and listed as a cabinet card, which means it might be available to view in person. Cool! Click image below to see the portrait.

http://images.forbeslibrary.org/items/show/294

See next post to help us answer a Kingsley mystery!

WHY WERE WE OPEN SATURDAY ANYWAY? (since it wasn’t the first Saturday of the month). It was upon request of two sisters,...
09/30/2019

WHY WERE WE OPEN SATURDAY ANYWAY? (since it wasn’t the first Saturday of the month). It was upon request of two sisters, one from central Mass. and one visiting from Texas – descendants of Hatfield’s Kingsley family. They were wowed by the Kingsley items in our Collection – paintings and engravings by Elbridge Kingsley, photos by his brother L.H. Kingsley, and some spoils of war brought back by Civil War veteran Seth Kingsley after the fall of Port Hudson.

We sent them on their way with plot numbers for Kingsley graves in the Main St. cemetery, and the site of the old Kingsley house – at the base of Prospect St. across from the Legion? If you know more about these Kingsley families or have any photos or other items you'd be willing to share with us, please let us know!

YOU CAN ALWAYS COME HOME. Jeff Dolven, who grew up at 14 Main St., visited the Hatfield Historical Museum Saturday with ...
09/30/2019

YOU CAN ALWAYS COME HOME. Jeff Dolven, who grew up at 14 Main St., visited the Hatfield Historical Museum Saturday with his family – after not visiting since he was a kid. He lived here until he went off to college and now hails from New Jersey. They were particularly interested in the musical instruments and the lighting exhibit. Welcome back, Jeff!

09/22/2019
Did you ever use a tobacco twine holder?

ONLY THREE WEEKENDS LEFT to visit the Hatfield Farm Museum before it closes for the winter and reopens next Memorial Day weekend. Have you been there recently? Go visit any of the next three Saturdays (Sept. 28, Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, from 12 to 2 pm), and have Curator George Ashley answer your questions and tell you stories about a host of quirky tools and machines. A lot of new items were donated in the past year, so there are plenty of new things to see.

Here’s the latest video posted to our YOUTUBE channel, of George demonstrating how a tobacco twine holder helped in the process of tying up shade tobacco plants. Did you use something like this? [George said this one came from the Omasta Farm on North Hatfield Road.]

https://youtu.be/138YL6zscWo

Check this out. Hatfield Farm Museum Curator George Ashley demonstrates how this tobacco twine holder was used and gives some insight into the process of tyi...

09/17/2019
Black Birch 2 drinking map FINAL 9 16 19

CHECK OUT THIS BRIEF video from our YouTube page as a group of attendees narrows down the locations of some two dozen bars and package stores from mid-20th century Hatfield. They got almost all of them!

https://youtu.be/NSb5vceehsk

If your family owned or ran a Hatfield drinking establishments (or you were a worker or patron) and you have any photos, artifacts, ads, etc...please let us know and consider loaning your item for our upcoming exhibit (opening Dec. 21 in the Hatfield Historical Museum).

We asked attendees at our 2nd annual fall fundraising party (at Black Birch Vineyard in Hatfield, MA) to locate a list of some two dozen Hatfield drinking es...

THANKS TO ALL WHO JOINED US at the Black Birch Vineyard last night for our 2nd annual fall fundraising party. Great weat...
09/17/2019

THANKS TO ALL WHO JOINED US at the Black Birch Vineyard last night for our 2nd annual fall fundraising party. Great weather, food, music and company. Your support helps keep our social media pages going, and helps us protect and share the town’s fabulous collections.

As for locating the bars of mid-20th century Hatfield, check out a short video clip in the next post!

HATFIELD WATERING HOLES. Know anything about 'em? We're asking folks at our wine tasting party tomorrow (details in 2 po...
09/14/2019

HATFIELD WATERING HOLES. Know anything about 'em? We're asking folks at our wine tasting party tomorrow (details in 2 posts earlier this week) to see if they can locate each of these bars and package stores on a map of Hatfield. And we're also looking for stories. All in preparation for our Luminarium 2019 exhibit on THE HISTORY OF DRINKING IN HATFIELD. Come join us tomorrow, if you can!

5:30 to 8 pm at Black Birch Vineyard, 108 Straits Road
(see rest of details in earlier posts)

PICTURE DAY TODAY! Sept. 12, at Smith Academy – though not until Oct. 10 and 11 at HES. People sure used to dress up mor...
09/12/2019

PICTURE DAY TODAY! Sept. 12, at Smith Academy – though not until Oct. 10 and 11 at HES. People sure used to dress up more for picture day than they do today. Is it because kids used to dress up more for school in general? Or because parents talked their kids into wearing their best for the photos? What did YOU do for picture day?

FALL PARTY THIS SUNDAY EVENING at Black Birch Vineyard, 5:30 to 8 pm. Come join us to celebrate Hatfield history, our gr...
09/10/2019

FALL PARTY THIS SUNDAY EVENING at Black Birch Vineyard, 5:30 to 8 pm. Come join us to celebrate Hatfield history, our great little town and the work of the HATFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY! Cider and soft drinks for those not drinking wine, plus delectable hors d’oeuvres from Black Sheep Deli and live music. For details, go to hatfieldhistory.weebly.com

Tickets also available Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Hatfield Historical Museum, 39 Main St., Hatfield, from 9 am to 2 pm (2nd floor of library), in addition to other ways noted on website, and -- assuming still tickets left -- at the door. Hope to see you!

Address

39 Main St
Hatfield, MA
01038

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00

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