The History of West Cemetery
In the latest of our History Bites Lunchtime Lecture series, on Friday, April 26th, at 12:15, join us as we explore the history of West Cemetery! The West Cemetery on Triangle Street was established in 1730, and for 90 years was the town’s only burying ground. Join us for a audio-narrative journey through the paths of the West Cemetery, in this talk presented by Bob Drinkwater detailing the history of Amherst’s first graveyard, which is the resting place of Emily Dickinson and other town notables.
This talk will take place next door in the Jones Library’s Woodbury Room, to accommodate a larger audience.
History Bites is a series of thirty minute lectures to inform and entertain, covering various aspects of the history of Amherst and the lives of those who once lived here.
Bring your lunch, and we provide coffee, tea and cider for you as you listen to the presentations. The thirty-minute programs begin promptly at 12:15 with seating and beverages ready just before noon. The lectures are free and everyone is welcome to attend.
ArtWeek at the AHS!
Join us at the Amherst Historical Society and Museum for a week of art workshops, sales, and celebration, as part of the larger Artweek in Amherst! Check out the full roster of events at amherstculture.com.
Artist’s Studio Supply & Surplus Sale
Join us for an outdoor artist’s studio and surplus sale on Sunday, April 28th from 11am-3pm on the lawn of the Historical Society! Local artists have been invited to clear out their studios and will be selling, trading, or swapping supplies and materials that they no longer use or need. Some items offered for free! Potential items may include canvases, fiber, fabric, paints, frames, easels, beads, and tools. Artists may also sell seconds or discontinued art. Engage with the artists and talk with them about their creative process.
Soap, Water, and Wool- Felted Soap Making Workshop
Soap and a washcloth, all in one! Join fiber artist Flo Rosenstock on Sunday, April 28th from 1-3pm for a hands-on felted-soap making workshop for the whole family! To create felted soap, a bar of soap is wrapped in wool fleece, wet, and agitated to created a felted soap with a colorful, slightly abrasive surface. Then you can use it as you would any soap, except that it will last longer and be fun to admire! Learn how to make your own felted soap, and then take it home.
This workshop will have a $1 materials fee per participant.
The Art of Evaluation
Want to learn more about your treasures? On Thursday, May 2nd, from 5:30-8pm, Lynne Bassett will date and identify materials for your family photographs and portrait paintings, as well as identify costumes, quilts, and other textile artifacts. No monetary values will be provided. Don’t have an item? Please join us as part of the audience and learn about other people’s cherished possessions.
It’s Official! Weights & Measures
Introducing our most recent addition to the collection: the official cabinet of weights and measures used by the Town of Amherst beginning about 1900.
Today, we are assured that a gallon is exactly that when we purchase gasoline–the pump bears the official seal of the State of Massachusetts. But in the past? How did you know a pound was a pound when purchasing produce or other goods? We are the pleased recipient of the official Weights & Measures used by the Town of Amherst beginning about 1900. The cabinet is approximately 6 feet across x 6 feet high x 2 feet deep–filled with scales, weights and liquid measures. Come visit this new treasure!
You can learn more from this story by Scott Merzbach in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Opportunities for Local Learning
On Wednesday, November 1st, second graders from the Common School visited the Jones Special Collections and the Amherst Historical Society!
This experience gave the hands-on experience into researching local history by exploring the collections of artifacts and primary documents. They examined straw hats, a wooden yoke, a wooden scythe and a wooden plane and practiced making inferences about the objects using what they had learned in class. Visits like these give kids a first-hand look at the history of their own town, tangible enough to reach out and touch, connecting the next generation with all the generations past.
Facilitating these key historical experiences is one of the most important missions of the Amherst Historical Society. If you’re interested in scheduling a visit for your classroom or other group, please get in touch with us! We would love to hear from you.