Western Massachusetts is home to many historical societies. Here are links to some of our neighbors in and around the Pioneer Valley.
Emily Dickinson House: Our down-the-street neighbor, the Emily Dickinson Museum is two adjacent buildings–the Homestead and the Evergreens. The website contains a plethora of information about the museum itself, as well as Emily Dickinson’s life and writings.
Freedom Stories of the Pioneer Valley: Black people have lived and worked in the Pioneer Valley since before the American Revolution. The rescue of Angeline Palmer is only one of their stories.
Friends of Quabbin: Focussed on the history and lore of the Quabbin reservoir itself – a wealth of online resources.
Hadley Farm Museum: Located in an old barn in the center of Hadley, Massachusetts, the Hadley Farm Museum has three floors of historic tools and artifacts, including cobblers’ benches, a broom-making machine, and a fully-restored stagecoach.
Historic Deerfield: Historic Deerfield is a town center street preserved and restored to show its 18th century roots. There are museums, craft demonstrations, special events and daily tours.
Historic Holyoke and Wistariahurst: Wistariahurst was originally the elegant home of prominent 19th-century silk manufacturer William Skinner (1824 – 1902) and his family. In 1959 the family donated the house to the city of Holyoke, to be used for cultural and educational purposes.
Museum of our Industrial Heritage (Greenfield): John Russell established the Green River cutlery works in 1834, and for over a hundred years Greenfield was an important mill town, transportation hub, and innovation center. The Museum of our Industrial Heritage was established in 1998 to preserve the history and tell the stories of that period.
Orange Historical Society : In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the town of Orange was a railroad hub and an industrial center, manufacturing steam-powered cars and home sewing machines. Come visit three floors of memorabilia in the museum house, and see the original steam-powered cars in the barn.
Pelham Historical Society: Pelham was the home of Daniel Shays, the figurehead of Shays’ Rebellion in 1786- 87. The Museum hosts a display about the roots and consequences of Shays’ Rebellion, and is next door to the oldest continuously-used Town Hall in the U. S.
Porter Phelps Huntington House: The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum is a unique historical resource in Hadley, Massachusetts. Its significance goes beyond the well-preserved eighteenth century architecture of the house itself: the house was continuously occupied by a single family from its construction in 1752 until the death of Dr. James Lincoln Huntington, the museum’s founder. The house contains the family’s belongings accumulated and preserved over 300 years. The family also left a rich collection of personal letters, diaries and account books, photographs and other material.
Quabbin History: Construction of the Quabbin Reservoir began in 1926. Before the reservoir was filled, in 1946, it had flooded four towns in central Massachusetts. The Swift River Museum in New Salem has a wealth of photographs and stories commemorating the flooded towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott.
Shays’ Rebellion was a grassroots rebellion in Massachusetts from 1786 – 1787. Although the rebels were defeated (and later pardoned), the rebellion strongly influenced the Constitutional Convention of 1787.