Past Events

2018 EVENTS

Bernard Drew 20172

East Rock is Falling – with Bernard A. Drew, March 3, 2018, 10 a.m. at the Monterey Community Center

Look past the snowy landscape and join Bernard A. Drew as he describes his research up mountaintops and around slopes, into basements, archives and newspaper files to pull together stories about East Mountain and environs in Great Barrington for his most recent 216-page book, East Rock Is Falling. Great Barrington’s East Rock was never in danger of falling, despite a joshing Boston Post reporter’s sensational article in 1906. The town’s eastern hills do, however, brim with dozens of true, if forgotten, stories; stories of geologist James Dwight Dana’s quartzite-schist discovery; George H. Kirchhoff’s prize Holstein Friesians; Jason Cooley’s faithful horse and Almira Cooley’s tasty baking; Henry F. Walling’s tripod signal tower for the area’s first USGS topographic map; counterfeiter Gill Belcher’s secret cave; H.F. Keith’s proposed observation tower; John Devanny’s firestone quarry; Eugene E. Peirce’s Bung Hill triangulation point for town boundary surveys; G-Bar-S Ranch skiers; and Civilian Conservation Corps trailblazers.

Bernard A. Drew and his wife, Donna, live in Great Barrington. He is a weekly newspaper editor and columnist for The Berkshire Eagle and The Lakeville Journal. He has written numerous reference books and Berkshire histories including books about Great Barrington, Monument Mountain, Lake Buel, Beartown, the Knox Trail and the 18th & 19th century waterpowered industry in the Upper Housatonic River Valley.  East Rock is Falling is the third volume in the author’s trilogy that includes Faded Tracks on Monument Mountain and Bear Town Mountain. Other previous works include Henry Knox and the Revolutionary War Trail in Western Massachusetts and Gibson’s Grove & Turner’s Landing.


2017 EVENTS

May 28 – Concert and Opening Reception. Amazing Stories from Centuries Past

Diane Taraz sings 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. Reception and refreshments to follow, celebrating the completed restoration of the museum. Event free for members. Non-members: $15. 3 p.m.

June 4 – Birding Beyond Your Backyard

With Doug Bruce and Tom Ryan. Designed for beginning birders who would like to expand their birding knowledge.  This talk and walk 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 on Bidwell’s 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.

 

June 17 – Archaeology on Bidwell Grounds

What treasures lie outside the Reverend’s door? Professor Eric Johnson, Director of Archaeological Services at UMass, Amherst and Kerry Lynch, Ph.D, Senior Archeologist, discuss the planned archaeological investigation at the 1760s homestead, how this work is done and examples from other 18th-century homes. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

July 1 – History Talk: Massachusetts–New York Border “Wars” in the 1700s

Gary Leveille, Berkshires historian and author, on the fifty years of boundary battles among the early Dutch and English settlers on both sides of the elusive border. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

July 8 – Township No. 1 Day

A free community celebration of Tyringham and Monterey history. Colonial re-enactors, live music by local musicians, children’s activities, historic craft demonstrations, author talks, more… For details and individual event times, please check www.bidwellhousemuseum.org or call.
Supported in part by a grant from the Monterey and Tyringham Cultural Councils. 1 – 4 p.m. Free. Please note: the museum is closed for tours this day.

 

July 15 – History Talk: Native Americans in South County 

Rene Wendell, Land Steward for the Nature Conservancy, will talk about prehistoric evidence of Native American life and discuss the first contacts of white settlers with the Mohican tribe in South County. He will bring native artifacts from his personal collection. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

July 29 – History Talk: Travels with Satan: My Fifty Years as a Witchcraft Historian

A talk by John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of American History Emeritus at Yale University and award-winning author. His book Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (1982) won the Bancroft Prize. He published The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch-Hunting in 2008. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

August 5 – Garden Party

Benefit for the museum. Live music by the O-Tones, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auction at a magical Berkshire property.  4 – 7 p.m. For tickets: 413-528-6888.

 

August 19 – History Talk: Cuffee Negro, Berkshires’ First Black Real Estate Agent

Berkshires historian Bernard A. Drew will tell the story of the most unlikely of real estate speculators, Cuffee Negro, also known as Cuffee Van Schaack, who bought and sold land in Stockbridge and vicinity in the 18th century. A free black, he learned the trade — including a few dubious tricks — from his father, the Dutch fur trader Elias Van Schaack. Cuffee spoke Dutch, and was conversant enough in English and Mohican that he negotiated numerous property transactions. He was illiterate; he signed documents with a stick figure, an Indian clan mark. He died in 1763. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

September 9 – Gravestone Art in Monterey’s Old Cemeteries

A talk and walk with Historical Archaeologist Bob Drinkwater, an expert on New England tombstone carvers. Drinkwater will give a brief history of gravestone art and then lead a tour of Monterey’s historic cemeteries. Drinkwater is a charter member and past president of the Association for Gravestone Studies.   He holds an M.A. in Anthropology from UMass, Amherst.  Meet at the Bidwell House Museum. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

September 16Housatonic Heritage Walk:  Nature in Autumn

A talk and walk with Tom Tyning, Professor of Environmental Science at Berkshire Community College, exploring the fauna and flora of the Berkshire upland forest.  Please dress for the weather and terrain and bring water. Free. 10 a.m.

 

September 23 – Housatonic Heritage Walk:   “Camera Trapping:” An Up Close Look at Wildlife

Richard Greene will explain wildlife tracking using trail cameras. He will demonstrate equipment needed and how to install it, show examples of wildlife captured on film, and then take the group on a walk of the Bidwell grounds to tracking sites. Please dress for the weather and terrain and bring water. Free. 10 a.m.

 

September 30 – Housatonic Heritage Walk:  Tracing Native and Settler Histories on the Landscape 

Explore the Native American presence that pre-dated early settler history – this was not the “howling wilderness” often portrayed.  We’ll consider how Mohicans lived here for centuries before and after English settlers.  We’ll view some of the 4 miles of trails, stone walls and artifacts built on the Bidwell grounds by farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Led by Rob Hoogs, President of the Bidwell board. Please dress for the weather and terrain and bring water. Free. 10 a.m.

 

November 18 – Colonial Thanksgiving Party

Benefit for the museum with live music, refreshments, silent auction and good cheer. 4 – 7 p.m. For tickets: 413-528-6888.


2016 EVENTS

May 29th

Concert and Opening Reception. She Named Him Adonijah – 300 years ago, in 1716, Mrs. Thomas Bidwell of Hartford, Connecticut, was safely delivered of a boy. Join Diane Taraz as she explores the world in which little Adonijah grew up, and his eventful life as a teacher, shipboard chaplain, husband of three, father of four, minister of Township No. 1, and Revolutionary patriot. Music will be our guide, as folk songs tell us much about life in Britain’s American colonies. 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. Reception and Refreshments. Event free for members. Non-members: $15. 3 p.m.

June 4

Primitive Arts Skills and Fire-building.  Learn to make willow charcoal, quill pens, and inks from nuts and berries. Participants will assist in building and tending a fire while creating their own art supplies from natural materials. A discussion of journaling practice and drawing from observation will follow, with examples of work done in nature’s studio. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

June 11

Home Medicine from Herbal Gardens, with Wake Robin Botanicals. A practical guide to the garden, or living medicine cabinet! Participants will learn about traditional herbs cultivated at the Bidwell House Museum’s historical heirloom garden and how they are used. Special guest Atalanta Sunguroff of Wake Robin Botanicals will share some herbalist remedies and methods of preparation. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

June 18

History Talk: Past & Present: Praying Town to Casino – Current Issues of Sovereignty for Native AmericansEugene R. Fidell, who teaches Federal Indian Law and American Indian Tribal Law at Yale Law School, will highlight some of the hottest issues facing Native America today. Gaming is only a small part of the story; sovereignty is the main event and fault line. Introduced by Rick Wilcox, who will give a brief history of the Stockbridge Mohicans and how they came to be where they are today. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

June 25

History Talk: A Week in the Life of Rev. Adonijah Bidwell, Reimagined. John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of American History Emeritus at Yale University, will explore the life of a frontier pastor in early America, based on what is known of Adonijah Bidwell (1716-1784), the first minister of Tyringham and one of the earliest in the Berkshires, as well as from accounts of other 18th-century New England pastors. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

July 2

Township No. 1 Day. A free community celebration of Tyringham and Monterey history. Colonial re-enactors, live music by local musicians, children’s activities, baking contest, historic craft demonstrations, author talks, more… For details and individual event times, please check www.bidwellhousemuseum.org or call. 413-528-6888
Supported in part by a grant from the Monterey and Tyringham Cultural Councils. 1 – 4:00 p.m. Free. Please note: the museum is closed for tours this day.

July 9 – POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER, WILL RESCHEDULE

A Tyringham Valley Homestead, with Woven Roots Farm. Make connections between the Bidwell family homestead and 21st century farming practices. Participants will explore historical and modern agriculture in Tyringham, and look into the symbiotic relationship of families with their landscape. Special guest Jen Salinetti will speak about her experiences with Woven Roots Farm where she lives, works, and raises her children. Free. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

July 23

Plant Dyes and Fibers.  Learn how to process wool and plant-based fibers such as milkweed and dogbane while dyeing skeins in an outdoor dye bath. Using plants, berries and nuts, participants will explore the range of color in our New England landscape, and learn to make their own cordage. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

July 30

History TalkMemory Places: Rethinking Historic Landscapes in Native American and Colonial New England by Christine M. DeLucia, Assistant Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. A sense of “place” has mattered immensely to Native Americans, and also to colonists who entered into this ancient terrain with aspirations for new societies. Swamps, freshwater springs, cliffs, woodland paths, home-sites, signified different things to these communities, leading to tension or outright conflict. DeLucia connects landscapes of today’s Northeast with much deeper pasts, and uses the concept of collective memory to explore alternative understandings of the grounds and material traces around us. Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 August 6

Wigwams and Shelter-Building. Visit the wigwam at the Bidwell House Museum, and learn to build your own shelter with supplies from the forest floor. Lean-tos and nature’s ready-made shelters will be discussed, while participants construct a shelter together. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 August 13

Adonijah Bidwell’s 300th Birthday Bash
Live music, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auction. Fundraising party celebrating the Reverend in his gardens. A benefit for the historic 1750s Bidwell House Museum. 4 – 7 p.m. For tickets: 413-528-6888.

 August 20

History Talk: Paper Pilgrims: Letter Writing and Communication in Early America. Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College history professor, will talk about letters as material objects and explore how they got from place to place in a world without postal service. She will also consider the importance of communication in New England’s early history, both for families and for colonial leaders. Grandjean is author of American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England (Harvard University Press, 2015). Held at Tyringham Union Church, Main Road, Tyringham. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 10 a.m.

 

 

September 17

Housatonic Heritage Walk:  Centuries of Stone Walls. Explore the over 4 miles of stone walls on Bidwell grounds built by settlers and farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries and learn about the various styles. Led by Rob Hoogs.  Please dress for the weather and terrain and bring water. Free. 10 a.m.

September 24

Animal Tracking: Finding Sign of Invisible Wildlife with Naturalist David Brown. Animals are living all around us, but a lot of them hide so effectively in the night or in foliage that we are not aware of their presence. This talk followed by a walk will help us detect and identify some of this wildlife activity as well as interpret found sign for insight into the lives of wild animals. Brown has nearly 30 years of experience tracking wildlife and is the author of several publications, including the recently released book, The Next Step: Interpreting Animal Tracks, Trails and Sign.

Dress for the weather with rugged footwear for off-trail walking. This program is suitable for adults and accompanied teens 13 and up. Bring a bag lunch. Members: $10. Non-members: $15. 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

October 1

Housatonic Heritage Walk: Royal Hemlock Trail Hike in the Steps of the Early SettlersA guided walk on Bidwell lands as well as the BNRC’s Hudson-Howard property, tracing the route of the early settlers of Township No. 1 from Tyringham valley to their first meeting house, exploring flora and fauna along the way. Led by Richard Greene. Please dress for the weather and terrain and bring water. Free. 10 a.m.

 

November 19

Colonial Thanksgiving Party Benefit for the museum with live music, refreshments, and silent
auction. 4-7 p.m.