Historic Northampton

Historic Northampton Our newly opened exhibit, Making it on Main Street, tells the 400-year history of downtown Northampton and includes a model of the town in 1847+ more than a dozen interactive activities for kids and grown-ups. Come check it out!
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Historic Northampton is a museum of local history in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts. Its collection of approximately 50,000 objects and three historic buildings is the repository of Northampton and Connecticut Valley history from the Pre-Contact era to the present. Historic Northampton constitutes a campus of three contiguous historic houses, all on their original sites. The grounds themselves are part of an original Northampton homelot, laid out in 1654. Find us on Instagram @Historic.Northampton !

This ovenbird nest with 6(!) eggs is along the bicycle path in Leeds, MA. Ovenbirds get their common name from the const...
05/20/2020

This ovenbird nest with 6(!) eggs is along the bicycle path in Leeds, MA. Ovenbirds get their common name from the construction of their nest, which is on the ground, with an overhanging arch of leaves, resembling a dutch oven. When the nest is discovered, the adult tries to lure the potential predator away by scuttling on the ground. If that isn't effective, the next strategy is to pretend it has a broken wing, plaintively dragging it along the ground and leading the predator away from the nest.

The song of the ovenbird is an emphatic two-note call, easily recognized and frequently heard in Northampton's woods. The call sounds like 'teacher, teacher!"

Photo taken on May 17, 2020

With more than $2,500 raised, we're currently more than halfway to meeting today's 1:1 matching challenge. To everyone w...
05/05/2020

With more than $2,500 raised, we're currently more than halfway to meeting today's 1:1 matching challenge.

To everyone who has given, thank you for your support and good wishes! We are so looking forward to seeing you back at Historic Northampton. Meanwhile, visit our website for History at Home, COVID-19 stories, local history info and to support local history. www.historicnorthampton.org
***
Sheltering in place, outside: a rabbit at Historic Northampton.

Childs Park is one of Northampton's special places, full of beauty and history and a lovely place to walk, relax, read, ...
05/02/2020

Childs Park is one of Northampton's special places, full of beauty and history and a lovely place to walk, relax, read, stretch, exercise and spend time with friends and family. Here's a brief history....

Apart but together at Childs Park, looking north.
05/02/2020

Apart but together at Childs Park, looking north.

We've been honored to receive so many stories, poems, songs, and drawings from adults and children reacting to COVID-19....
04/25/2020

We've been honored to receive so many stories, poems, songs, and drawings from adults and children reacting to COVID-19. We are now able to feature them on our website. Click the link to explore dozens more.
https://www.historicnorthampton.org/covid-19-stories.html

We welcome more submissions! Tell us about your lives and how you are feeling.
To submit, email your submission to [email protected]
For more information, visit: https://www.historicnorthampton.org/tell-us-your-story.html

During this worrying time, for those of us who are able to go outside, being in the natural world is frequently an impor...
04/22/2020

During this worrying time, for those of us who are able to go outside, being in the natural world is frequently an important source of solace. Here in Northampton, we're fortunate to have dozens of city-owned natural areas to explore. But to find beauty and have meaningful experiences in nature doesn't mean that you necessarily have to travel to wilder settings. More than anything, it means slowing down, looking closer--looking up, down, even under--and listening, watching, paying attention. The images in this post were all taken on the grounds of Historic Northampton and along the edge of the parking lot at Big Y.

Finally, on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day and for all of those families with children who will not be returning to school this academic year, here is a quote from Rachel Carson in her book, The Sense of Wonder:

"I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”

Of the shrubs and trees now blooming, one of the most recognizable is shadbush--otherwise known by its other common name...
04/22/2020

Of the shrubs and trees now blooming, one of the most recognizable is shadbush--otherwise known by its other common names: shadblow, serviceberry and Juneberry. The first two common names relate to its blossoming time, which coincides with the migration of shad up large rivers like the Connecticut. The name "service" berry is said to derive from the fact that the plant flowered around the time the ground thawed sufficiently for ground burials for those who had died during the winter and/or when the dirt roads became passable for circuit-riding preachers to reach their more rural churches and conduct services. The source of its final common name, Juneberry, is because the berries ripen in June.

Related to peaches, apples and plums, the berries are edible, but nowadays they are most eaten by birds--especially cedar waxwings, robins, mockingbirds and orioles.

This particular flower is probably Amelanchier media.

Today, we're posting more of the responses to our request for stories about the COVID-19 outbreak. These two girls write...
04/17/2020

Today, we're posting more of the responses to our request for stories about the COVID-19 outbreak. These two girls write about missing school and birthday parties, doing art work with friends via Zoom, and honoring health care workers. They are also scared, stressed and sad.

We welcome more submissions: next week we will be showcasing responses about family and neighborhood fun, and we would love to hear more stories about that.
To submit, email your submission to [email protected]
For more information, visit: https://www.historicnorthampton.org/tell-us-your-story.html

Thank you to all who submitted such interesting stories, poetry and artwork. We have received several dozen, and many wo...
04/14/2020

Thank you to all who submitted such interesting stories, poetry and artwork. We have received several dozen, and many wonderful ones from children. We are thrilled to add these to our digital archives so that people in the future will be able to learn what it was like to live in this area during COVID-19.
What struck me is how the submissions fit into themes, and the pieces even spoke to each other. As we share them over the next few weeks, we will present them in clusters. We welcome more submissions: next week we will be showcasing responses about family and neighborhood fun, and we would love to hear more stories about that. We hope that you will be inspired to add your stories or artwork.
The first theme is how children are spending their days, what they are doing, what they are worrying about, and where they see hope. We have so many that we will do it in two posts. Here is the first post with a few of their stories and pictures (more to come and please send more):
--- Elizabeth Sharpe, co-director, Historic Northampton
To submit, email your submission to [email protected]
For more information, visit: https://www.historicnorthampton.org/tell-us-your-story.html

While practicing safe social distancing, you and your family can take full advantage of the City of Northampton's conser...
04/13/2020

While practicing safe social distancing, you and your family can take full advantage of the City of Northampton's conservation lands, all of which have fascinating histories.

To learn more about their geology, ecology and human history, visit the link below to read Rediscovering Northampton: A Natural Focus, which includes information about all of the conservation areas owned by the City through 2015.

Full disclosure, I wrote the document. https://tinyurl.com/yxvncfsc

The state flower of Massachusetts, trailing arbutus (photo) is blossoming now and can be found in many of the City's conservation areas. If you find it in bloom, crouch down and smell its delicate gardenia-like fragrance. Delightful.

04/09/2020
A Short Take on the Cardinal Cloak

Looking for activities to do while you're at home? Historic Northampton may be closed, but we're still here for history, education, and fun! We're launching a new section of our website, History at Home, where we'll have videos, games, puzzles and more, all related to Northampton's history.

https://www.historicnorthampton.org/history-at-home.html

Take a look at one of our first videos, and watch this space: we'll have a few surprises in store!

See more videos at: https://www.historicnorthampton.org/videos.html or on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWDNiSkOw3omW88Nc3H766w

A banner created by Historic Northampton's neighbors on Graves Avenue. April 7, 2020.
04/07/2020

A banner created by Historic Northampton's neighbors on Graves Avenue. April 7, 2020.

Historic Northampton's cover photo
04/03/2020

Historic Northampton's cover photo

04/03/2020
Coltsfoot was introduced from Europe into North America by settlers, probably for medicinal purposes, and has naturalize...
04/01/2020

Coltsfoot was introduced from Europe into North America by settlers, probably for medicinal purposes, and has naturalized throughout the Northeast. It is one of the earliest flowers and grows in open, disturbed soils near streams, ditches and fields. The common name comes from the leaf, which comes up after the flower fades and in general outline, resembles a horse's hoof.

Here's another great distance learning resource for teachers and parents.  More than a million images, texts, and record...
04/01/2020
Smithsonian Distance Learning Resources

Here's another great distance learning resource for teachers and parents.

More than a million images, texts, and recordings, as well as lesson plans, from all the Smithsonian's museums.

Check out the on-line repository created by Smithsonian educators--
https://learninglab.si.edu/distancelearning

Resources, training, and support to assist caregivers, teachers, and students as they face new learning challenges.

To provide support to students and families, we will soon be creating a new educational webpage called "Museum At-Home" ...
03/27/2020

To provide support to students and families, we will soon be creating a new educational webpage called "Museum At-Home" that will include content geared specifically for kids and families.

Meanwhile, here's a piece of Historic Northampton's history that was brought to our attention thanks to Jim Bridgman and our terrific local paper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Jim's Look Back section is an enduring reminder of the value of our local newspapers and how we depend on them to record important stories, ideas and events that define and reveal our history.

Excellent resource from Historic Northampton for kids at home for the duration.
03/20/2020

Excellent resource from Historic Northampton for kids at home for the duration.

Over the next many weeks, we'll be periodically posting resources and activities for kids, parents and families to help with at-home learning.

For starters, Betty Sharpe (co-director and former director of education for the Smithsonian's Museum of American History) searched museum websites and prepared a short-list of her favorites. Here they are:
****

On the American Alliance of Museums open forum, a museum educator and mom named Kyrie Kellett of Portland, Oregon, posted a link to her Virtual Field Trips that she is taking with her kids. She has crafted clever questions to guide learning and posted links to other museum sites (from the British Museum to the Smithsonian) to pick up the trail of fun learning math, language, geography and much more. Check it out: https://www.masonbeellc.com/journal
(She works for a company called Mason Bee Interpretive Planning, hence the weblink.)

My favorite site for do-it-at-home science activities for kids is the Exploratorium in San Francisco. They have short videos to show you how to DIY, and each concludes with a 1-2 minute video of a scientist telling you what is going on, scientifically speaking. https://www.exploratorium.edu/explore/activities

The New York Hall of Science in Corona, NY, has DIY science tutorials. If my kids were still young, I’d be making light sabers today. https://nysci.org/

The Ontario Science Center in Toronto has great play-based science activities that can be done at home. Watch the videos. https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/School/Resources/

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Museum and Education Center has excellent resources easily understood and organized. There is an interactive theatre where you can step in GW’s boots and make decisions about how to lead (I didn’t have all the right programs installed on my computer so I couldn’t play it all the way through). Read the Key Facts which are an easy-to-understand way to get to know Washington, his world, Native Americans, the Revolution, and his beliefs about slavery. https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/museum/

The Massachusetts Historical Society has amazing documents online with excellent descriptions and background. Look at the online resources under Education. My favorite is Henry Knox’s diary (it is transcribed for easy reading) from the winter of 1775-76 as he recovers cannon from Fort Ticonderoga and drags it to Boston, crossing the Hudson, through the Berkshires and across Massachusetts to Dorchester Heights. What happens as he tries to cross the Hudson? https://www.masshist.org/ Search Henry Knox.

The best way to understand the early history of our region is to look at the website about the 1704 raid on Deerfield. This amazing site shows the many perspectives and what was at stake. http://1704.deerfield.history.museum/
Same with Shays Rebellion http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/

And last but not least, check out the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab which will lead you to educational activities in all the museums. https://learninglab.si.edu/

The Northampton Meadows at dusk. Photo by Sue Hawes, March 15, 2020.
03/20/2020

The Northampton Meadows at dusk.
Photo by Sue Hawes, March 15, 2020.

Over the next many weeks, we'll be periodically posting resources and activities for kids, parents and families to help ...
03/20/2020

Over the next many weeks, we'll be periodically posting resources and activities for kids, parents and families to help with at-home learning.

For starters, Betty Sharpe (co-director and former director of education for the Smithsonian's Museum of American History) searched museum websites and prepared a short-list of her favorites. Here they are:
****

On the American Alliance of Museums open forum, a museum educator and mom named Kyrie Kellett of Portland, Oregon, posted a link to her Virtual Field Trips that she is taking with her kids. She has crafted clever questions to guide learning and posted links to other museum sites (from the British Museum to the Smithsonian) to pick up the trail of fun learning math, language, geography and much more. Check it out: https://www.masonbeellc.com/journal
(She works for a company called Mason Bee Interpretive Planning, hence the weblink.)

My favorite site for do-it-at-home science activities for kids is the Exploratorium in San Francisco. They have short videos to show you how to DIY, and each concludes with a 1-2 minute video of a scientist telling you what is going on, scientifically speaking. https://www.exploratorium.edu/explore/activities

The New York Hall of Science in Corona, NY, has DIY science tutorials. If my kids were still young, I’d be making light sabers today. https://nysci.org/

The Ontario Science Center in Toronto has great play-based science activities that can be done at home. Watch the videos. https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/School/Resources/

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Museum and Education Center has excellent resources easily understood and organized. There is an interactive theatre where you can step in GW’s boots and make decisions about how to lead (I didn’t have all the right programs installed on my computer so I couldn’t play it all the way through). Read the Key Facts which are an easy-to-understand way to get to know Washington, his world, Native Americans, the Revolution, and his beliefs about slavery. https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/museum/

The Massachusetts Historical Society has amazing documents online with excellent descriptions and background. Look at the online resources under Education. My favorite is Henry Knox’s diary (it is transcribed for easy reading) from the winter of 1775-76 as he recovers cannon from Fort Ticonderoga and drags it to Boston, crossing the Hudson, through the Berkshires and across Massachusetts to Dorchester Heights. What happens as he tries to cross the Hudson? https://www.masshist.org/ Search Henry Knox.

The best way to understand the early history of our region is to look at the website about the 1704 raid on Deerfield. This amazing site shows the many perspectives and what was at stake. http://1704.deerfield.history.museum/
Same with Shays Rebellion http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/

And last but not least, check out the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab which will lead you to educational activities in all the museums. https://learninglab.si.edu/

We were so pleased and honored to join more than 50 of the Valley's great non-profits as a winner of Florence Bank's Cus...
03/11/2020

We were so pleased and honored to join more than 50 of the Valley's great non-profits as a winner of Florence Bank's Customers' Choice Community Awards.

Thank you to all of our friends who bank at Florence Bank for selecting us....and a big thank you to Florence Bank!

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46 Bridge St
Northampton, MA
01060-2428

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Historic Northampton is a museum of local history in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts. Its collection of approximately 40,000 objects and three historic buildings is the repository of Northampton history from the Pre-Contact era to the present. Historic Northampton constitutes a campus of three contiguous historic houses, all on their original sites. The grounds themselves are part of an original Northampton homelot laid out in 1654. Find us on Instagram @Historic.Northampton and what’s happening on our website www.historicnorthampton.org


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Comments

Is the wood still on the property available for taking? Looking to make some art.
We are so lucky to have Historic Northampton!
What a well-deserved award for the hard-working staff and board of Historic Northampton. Caretakers of three houses in a row, intact on their original foundations, from three distinct architectural styles they should rest assured that all this effort is clearly worth it.
Over heard at the ice cream social today. Free ice cream? why is the ice cream free? Response: It's an event that's just what they do. Wow! I love this town.