History Bites Lunchtime Lectures
19th Century Spiritualism in the Pioneer Valley
On Friday, November 16nd, Head of Special Collections and Archives at UMass Robert Cox will present a talk about the Spiritualist movement in the Pioneer Valley. A product of the “spiritual hothouse” of the Second Great Awakening, Spiritualism became the fastest growing religion in the nation during the 1850s, and was a religion centered around communication with the spirits of the dead, usually through a spirit medium who interpreted the messages of those beyond. How did this powerful movement manifest in the communities of the Pioneer Valley, and what impacts did it leave? What losses and comforts drew local residents to Spiritualism?
The 30-minute program begins promptly at 12:15 with seating and beverages ready just before noon. The lectures are free and everyone is welcome to attend.
Celebrate the Merry Maple at the Strong House!
As part of the Amherst-wide Lighting of the Merry Maple Festivities, on Friday November 30th, the Simeon Strong House will be hosting storytime with coloring and crafts for children of all ages from 4-7, with a visit from Santa from 6-7 for pictures! This fun, family-friendly event is a perfect kick-off to the holiday season!
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.