Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley to reopen

Published: 5/18/2022 5:56:11 PM

Modified: 5/18/2022 5:54:26 PM

HADLEY – The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, closed for much of the last two years because of the pandemic, will reopen to the public June 1.

And when it does, museum officials say they’ll be offering new tours of the historic 18th-century house that will tell a more complete story of the people who lived and worked on the property, from Native Americans who predated white settlers to enslaved people and servants who once worked on the land.

Other longtime programs, such as Wednesday Folk Traditions, which features appearances by noted ethnic folk music performers and ensembles from New England, will also resume.

Among the Wednesday performers will be Tim Eriksen (June 15), the Grammy-nominated ethnomusicologist from the Valley, who will offer traditional ballads from the region as well as original pieces that have been described as “magical realism in song.”

Other artists in the series include Lee Rozie, “Mixashawn,” who is of Maheekanew, Mohawk, and Cherokee descent and performs indigenous roots music; troubadour and singer-songwriter Dave Mallett, known as the “The Voice of New England”; and The Amherst Area Gospel Choir.

Museum officials say grants from MassHumanities and the National Endowment for Humanities helped researchers at the property do extensive research during the pandemic into people who once lived on the property and about whom little was known.

One, for instance, is the native leader Quanquan, whose name is on the earliest Hadley deeds, according to the museum. On tours, visitors can also learn about people once enslaved on the property, domestic servants who raised their own families there, and craftspeople who plied various trades on the land.

In 1752, Moses and Elizabeth Pitkin Porter erected a farmstead known as “Forty Acres” here, and the house, eventually enlarged, became home to six generations of an extended family; it became a museum in 1949.

A free program on June 29 from 4: 30-6 pm, “Three Generations of Reinterpretation at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum,” will offer details of many of these new research discoveries and the history of the property.

In addition, a free online program, “Bridging the Past and Present,” presented on Monday evenings, will feature conversations with scholars on new research about the site, examining issues such as the PPH family archives, the 18th-19th century slave trade, and more.

More information on these and other events at the museum can be found at pphmuseum.org.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at [email protected]


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