♦Welcome to the Bidwell House Museum♦

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Join us this weekend for our opening concert!

The Bidwell House Museum will open for the season on Memorial Day weekend.  The Museum is hosting a concert and reception on Sunday, May 28th, at 3 p.m. Singer-songwriter Diane Taraz will perform “Amazing Songs from Centuries Past”, a selection of her own songs and others from the folk tradition that tell the true stories of people and events from early America.

Enjoy songs about love affairs gone wrong; women warriors in disguise; loves lost to war, shipwreck, and rattlesnakes; and a variety of ballads and ditties that capture amazing history that deserves to be re-lived. Diane wears the clothing of the time and accompanies her singing on an instrument similar to the now-extinct English guitar played by Colonial ladies.

A Pittsfield native, Diane has long made her home in the Boston area, performing extensively throughout New England. She is the director of the Lexington Historical Society Colonial Singers and a longtime member of the Gloucester Hornpipe & Clog Society, a traditional band that plays maritime, Celtic, and Colonial music. She also sings with Vox Lucens, a 12-member a cappella Renaissance choir, and the UUlations, a women’s a cappella group. Her recordings are available through her website at www.dianetaraz.com.

Refreshments will be served to celebrate the completed restoration of the museum. All are invited to join.  There is a suggested donation of $15 (free for members of the museum) for attendance at the concert.

Our regular tours will begin on Monday, May 29th at 11 a.m.


Birding Beyond Your Backyard – June 4Birding Event 6-4-17

Are you a beginning birder who would like to expand your knowledge?

This talk and walk led by Doug Bruce and Tom Ryan will help take you from feeder birds (blue jays, chickadees) to the birds of field and forest. Can’t tell a robin from a crow?  No shame – we’ll show you how we do it.  After just one walk you’ll amaze your friends with cheap birding tricks! This walk is all about birds of the upland forest:  we’ll walk the trails of our 190+ acres of beautiful hemlock-hardwood forest.  Footing is good; very moderate elevation changes.  Wear good shoes; bring water and a snack. Co-sponsored by the Hoffmann Bird Club, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, and DCR Service Forestry.  Free. 9 – 11 a.m.


Painting by Ron Goldfinger

The museum grounds with perennial and vegetable gardens, miles of stone walls and forested trails on 192 acres are open daily from dawn until dusk for hiking and nature watching. Parking, trail maps and picnic tables are available.   (Directions)

The museum building is closed for restoration work until May, 29th, 2017.

Stop by to take a look at the construction progress!


Great 2017 Programs for You

Get an introduction to birding, learn how archaeologists investigate the past, explore our local history at fascinating talks, enjoy music, crafts and reenactors at Township No. 1 Day, and so much more! Take a Look HERE

 


Bidwell House Museum Board Announces Appointment of New Executive Director

April 11, 2017, Monterey, Mass — Rob Hoogs, President of the Bidwell House Museum, the Berkshires’ Colonial history museum, announced today the appointment of Heather Kowalski as the new Executive Director of the museum, a 1760s historic house and gardens in Monterey, Mass. Effective May 1, Heather will take over the director position from Barbara Palmer, who has served the museum as executive director for the past seven and a half years.

Heather Kowalski“I am excited to welcome Heather Kowalski to this leadership role. Heather has served as the assistant to the executive director for the past one and half years,” stated Hoogs. “She brings excellent leadership, passion for education about historic houses, and terrific museum expertise to this position.” Heather worked previously at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art, both in Pittsburgh PA, prior to relocating to the Berkshires.  Her husband Jesse Kowalski is Curator of Exhibitions at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

“At the same time, the board and I are very proud of Barbara Palmer on her appointment to be Associate Director for museum budget and operations at the Williams College Museum of Art,” noted Hoogs. “She has been a consummate professional and we have been very fortunate to have her as director for all these years.”

Barbara Palmer joined the board in congratulating Heather Kowalski. “I have worked closely with Heather, and I know the museum is in good hands,” she noted. “Heather has been instrumental in the restoration campaign, and she is bringing superb professional expertise to the museum.” Palmer also thanked the board: “I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead the Bidwell House and to build the museum’s education programs and public visibility. Moreover, I am incredibly proud of the Bidwell board and the whole community for the successful – and still ongoing – restoration campaign for the historic buildings. With Heather’s appointment and this caring community, I know the museum will rise to new heights.”

Prior directors and staff of the museum are serving in a number of cultural organizations around the country. Lisa Simpson, director of the Bidwell House Museum from 1992 to 1995 and as an interim director in 2000, is currently the director of the New Hampshire Boat Museum in Wolfeboro Falls, NH. Anita Carroll Weldon, director from 1996 to 2000, is director of the Horatio Colony House Museum and Nature Preserve in Keene, NH.  Joanna Jennings, assistant to the director from 2007 to 2010, is museum manager for the American Red Cross in Danville, NY. Closer by, Chris Caccamo, head docent and caretaker from 2007 to 2011, is now head gardener at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge.  “The Bidwell House Museum has proven to be a fertile training ground for museum professionals,” Hoogs noted.

The Bidwell House will reopen for house tours after a grand opening reception and concert on May 28.  The grounds, gardens and four miles of trails are open for free year-round. The Bidwell House Museum is located on Art School Road in Monterey, a “country mile” off Tyringham Road.  The 1760s house is a National Register property with a collection of period furnishings, and it sits on 192 acres at the original center Township No. 1. Visitors to the museum can enjoy a personal encounter with history, early American home life, and the Berkshire landscape through its land, house and collection. The Museum is a private, member-supported non-profit educational institution for the benefit of the community and today’s audiences of all ages, dedicated to preservation, scholarship and enjoyment of the landmark site.

 

Spring has arrived at the Bidwell House

Thank you for supporting the Bidwell House Museum on Giving Tuesday and always! You can make a gift via Paypal by clicking on the “Donate” button at right.



Museum Restoration Project Progressing Well

The Board of Directors of the Bidwell House Museum is pleased to announce the awarding of a $50,000 matching grant, which is allowing the museum to carry out restoration work on the historic structure. The museum, which is listed in the State Register of Historic Places, has received a matching grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, Chairman. The museum is closing early this year in order to carry out the work.

Learn more HERE

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Yellow cedar shingles going up on a custom breathing grid on the Bidwell roof

 

The rear Ell is getting the historically appropriate roof overhangs back, as well as a beautiful new cedar shingle roof! Thank you, Massachusetts Historical Commission and generous matching donors.


Support the Museum while doing your shopping on Amazon by going through Amazon Smile! Amazon will donate a portion of your purchases to the Museum. It’s easy: Click on the link above and begin shopping. You can bookmark the link to use it each time you shop. Thank you for helping the Bidwell House!


 

Honorees Dick and Barbara Tryon. Adonijah’s Birthday Party thank yous and lots more party photos here: Take a look!

 

Fall Newsletter article continued: Barnabas Bidwell, America’s William Wilberforce?

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Board Member John Demos’ new book, The Heathen School, A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, was reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on NPR. You can listen to that review here.

Also, click here to listen to John Demos discuss his book with Frank Sesno of NPR affiliate WAMU.

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Thank you….

….for supporting the Bidwell House Museum at the Berkshire Summer Art School Garden Party! Take a look at the story and photos on Rural Intelligence….

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♦EVENTS♦

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Thank you for supporting the Bidwell House Museum. Your generosity allows the museum to thrive, and you are helping to protect the 1760s homestead and 192 acres of open space. Take a look at the story and photos of the Colonial Thanksgiving Party on Rural Intelligence.

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 Enjoy the interpretive trail:

The Historic Berkshires: An 18th Century Trail

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Take a look at the 7-31-12 Berkshire Eagle article about a 2012 intern project:

“Cracking the Code: Young History Scholar Deciphers 1759 Sermon”

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To learn more about the forest management initiative
at the museum, please click here.
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