Special Tour: Lizzie Melville

On January 12 at 5 pm Arrowhead docent and actress Francine Ciccarelli reprises her popular tour of Arrowhead as presented by Melville’s wife Elizabeth (Lizzie). “Francine’s Lizzie tours were so popular this fall,” said BCHS executive director Lesley Herzberg. “They consistently sold out, so we thought doing a virtual tour with unlimited capacity over the winter would open the program to more people.”

As Lizzie walks virtual guests through her home, she talks about her life there in the mid-nineteenth century and brings to life the stories of the women and children who lived at Arrowhead. Please contact melville@berkshirehistory.org to request the zoom link for this free program.

Book Club: “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex”

Throughout the winter, the BCHS Virtual Book Club will read classics by Hawthorne, Melville, Wharton, as well as contemporary literature related to Berkshire County history. This engaging group, which includes members from around the globe, meets every 2-3 weeks. Beginning January 20 at 4 pm, the group will read In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. The book, which tells the story of a whaleship that was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820, won the 2000 National Book Award for nonfiction. To participate, email melville@berkshirehistory.org for the zoom link and to learn about the current reading and upcoming meeting dates. Participants are asked to read the first five chapters in advance of the January 20 discussion.

Arrowhead Grounds Open Year-Round

For those wishing to brave the elements, Arrowhead’s grounds and nature trails are open and free of charge for hiking, snowing shoeing, and cross country skiing during daylight hours. The trails offer a wonderful opportunity to commune with nature and unwind.

To protect and preserve this natural and historic habitat, dogs must be leashed at all times and owners must clean up after their pets. Motorized vehicles (including snowmobiles and ATVs) are not allowed except for in the driveway and parking lot. Metal detectors are prohibited.

Berkshire County Historical Society Annual Meeting

BCHS Annual Meeting, Friday, December 10, 2021, 3:30

Please join us in person or via Zoom for the Berkshire County Historical Society’s Annual Meeting at the Country Club of Pittsfield
639 South Street, Pittsfield, MA

After the meeting, we hope you will join us for a festive cocktail hour – tickets $37

Please RSVP to let us know if you plan to attend in person or online via Zoom. Once we hear from you, we will send the Zoom link.

For RSVP and tickets for the cocktail hour portion, email us at melville@berkshirehistory.org or call 413.442.1793 by December 8.

Hope to see you there!

Sold Out! Special Tour: Holiday Lights

Sold Out!


Wednesday, December 8–Holiday Lights, 5 pm


This special tour of Arrowhead shows the house decorated for the holidays, and includes seasonal readings, 19th century holiday recipes, and a peek at holiday-themed objects from the museum’s collection that are not often on view.


This FREE event is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union

Sold Out! A Christmas Journey: New Readings with Kevin O’Hara

Sold Out!


Wednesday, December 15–A Christmas Journey: New Readings with Kevin O’Hara, 5 pm


Noted Pittsfield author and longtime columnist for The Berkshire Eagle Kevin O’Hara will read Christmas tales included in his new illustrated book, A Christmas Journey, recently published by The Berkshire Eagle. This will be a special evening of joyous and heartfelt tales from Kevin’s Pittsfield childhood.


This FREE event is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union

Film Screening: “Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames”

Saturday, November 13 – Borderland: The Life and Times of Blanche Ames Ames, 7 pm, Little Cinema at The Berkshire Museum

Borderland: The Life & Times of Blanche Ames Ames (directed by Kevin G. Friend) chronicles the life of a woman who was born in the 19th century, worked to change the 20th century, and whose wisdom still resonates in the 21st century. Blanche Ames Ames (1878–1969) was a woman of privilege who was not afraid to shock polite society. She was an artist, an activist, a builder, an inventor, a birth control maverick, and a leader of the woman suffrage movement in Massachusetts yet her name does not appear in most American history books. This, too, is part of her story. (Running time 55 min.)

Tickets are available through the Little Cinema box office; $5 for BCHS and Berkshire Museum members, $7 for non-members. https://berkshiremuseum.org/event/film-screening-borderland-the-life-times-of-blanche-ames-ames/

Presented by The Berkshire County Historical Society and Little Cinema


Film Screening and Lecture: “Call Us Ishmael”

Friday, November 5–Call Us Ishmael film screening and lecture by Professor Michael Hoberman, 7 pm, Little Cinema at The Berkshire Museum

Call us Ishmael (2019, 1 hr., 19 min., directed by David Shaerf) chronicles Shaerf’s journey into the world of Moby-Dick through his encounters with artists, musicians, professors and performers including Laurie Anderson and Frank Stella. Call Us Ishmael gives viewers insight into a community devoted to Melville’s timeless text. ‘

Prior to the film, Michael Hoberman, author and Professor of English Studies at Fitchburg State University, will make his case that Melville is an ideal writer for people who describe themselves as skeptical romantics. His talk highlights his own path to Melville’s writing and offers a brief discussion of how he teaches two lesser-known Melville texts:  Benito Cereno and The Encantadas. His talk will be follow by an original ballad about Captain Ahab, written and performed by Ashley Kramer, which will segue into the screening of the film. 

Tickets are available through the Little Cinema box office; $5 for BCHS and Berkshire Museum members, $7 for non-members. https://berkshiremuseum.org/event/film-screening-call-us-ishmael/

Presented by The Berkshire County Historical Society and Little Cinema.

Film Screening: “The Act of Reading”

Saturday, November 6 – The Act of Reading, 7 pm, Little Cinema at The Berkshire Museum

In this 2021 film directed by Mark Blumberg, a retired high school English teacher is confronted by a former student (Blumberg) who failed her class 15 years prior for failing to read Moby-Dick. He then involves her in a feature-length presentation on Melville’s classic novel and the science of reading. Herman Melville’s Arrowhead and the Berkshires are heavily featured in this film. Experience a fresh take on the region and its literary history. (Running time 1 hr. 27 min.)

Tickets are available through the Little Cinema box office; $5 for BCHS and Berkshire Museum members, $7 for non-members. https://berkshiremuseum.org/event/film-screening-the-act-of-reading/

Presented by The Berkshire County Historical Society and Little Cinema

Mohican Experiences with Museum Repatriation Today – virtual lecture with Bonney Hartley, Historic Preservation Manager for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community

Friday, October 22 – 7 pm

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) offers certain criteria for the return of Tribal Nations’ ancestral remains and cultural heirlooms. After 30 years of this law, there are still staggering numbers of human remains that have not been returned. There are also often discrepancies between how Tribes and Museums determine if the NAGPRA categories apply to items in museum collections. Bonney Hartley, NAGPRA representative for Stockbridge-Munsee Community, the Tribal Nation indigenous to the Berkshires, will share insights from the community’s recent experiences with repatriation efforts in the region and highlight the ways that museums have increasingly shifted their understandings of Tribal stewardship.

This programming is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Muh-he-con-ne-ok:  People of the Waters that are Never Still, on view at the Berkshire Museum through January 9, 2022.

This FREE event is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union and supported through a grant from Housatonic Heritage. To receive Zoom details, please email melville@berkshirehistory.org.