Caroline Hellman, “Children of the Raven and the Whale: Visions and Revisions in American Literature”

Join us on Sunday, July 11th, at 3pm for a talk with author Caroline Hellman.

Children of the Raven and the Whale: Visions and Revisions in American Literature (University of Virginia Press, 2019) looks at how contemporary United States writers have responded to texts that were historically central to the American literary canon – including Melville’s Moby-Dick. In their rewritings and layering of new stories over older ones, contemporary writers chronicle a spectrum of American experience, and appraise the project of the United States. This talk will explore Melville’s influence on the work of author Ta-Nehisi Coates, in addition to discussing the larger landscape of American literature today.

$10 BCHS members, $15 not-yet-members: tickets available ONLINE or by phone at 413.442.1793

Mastheads Final Reading

July 10, 2021. 6pm-7pm.

Join us in the barn as the writers from this year’s Mastheads residencies read their new work, written on-site here at Arrowhead. Includes playwright Sam Mayer and poets Helene Achanzar, Christine Larusso, Amanda Smeltz, and Keith S. Wilson.

Free program.

Melville Biographical Research Lecture: Warren Broderick

Thursday, June 17 – Melville Biographical Research Lecture: Warren Broderick, 6:30 pm

Join Melville scholar and New York State retired archivist Warren Broderick as he presents newly discovered original source documents that will shed light on Melville’s life and work. Learn about previously unknown records that bear Herman’s signature as well as the first published reference to a missing novel.

FREE for BCHS members, $10 not-yet-members: tickets available online HERE or by phone at 413.442.1793

Hidden Women with Tammy Denease – Bessie Coleman

April 9th, 6pm

The Hidden Women Series brings to life important yet unknown women in history. Tammy Denease brings hidden women to life through a theater setting with minimal props and authentic clothing.

During the performance the audience (students, seniors, corporate) will travel back in time to observe the life of one of the seven women that Tammy brings to life. Each program will be observed virtually followed by a live question and answer session with Tammy.

Bessie Coleman

As Bessie Coleman, Tammy takes you on a journey into the world of the First Negro Aviatrix. You will take an international voyage that begins in the segregated south of the United States, where cotton was king and Jim Crow ruled underneath white sheets, where the color of your skin could determine whether you lived or died.

Your journey ends in Paris, France, where self-determination — not skin color or gender — is what truly matters.

For more information about this series and Tammy Denease’s work, visit her website.

Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for not-yet-members. To purchase tickets email and reserve your spot or buy them directly

Virtual Tours at Arrowhead!

Friday, January 22nd 4-5pm

You may already know about Herman Melville and his life at Arrowhead, but for this unique tour, find yourself accompanied by Melville’s wife Elizabeth (Lizzie) as she walks guests through her home and talks about her life there in the mid-19th century. Join Arrowhead docent and actress Francine Ciccarelli as she portrays Elizabeth in the first-person and brings the women and children who lived at Arrowhead to life.
Ticket prices: $10 for members, $20 for not-yet-members. 
Click here to purchase your member ticket, and here for your not-yet member ticket

Friday, January 29th 4-5pm
Take a virtual tour of Arrowhead, with a focus on its architecture. Themes will look at how Arrowhead looked when Herman Melville and his family lived there, the changes over its 230-year history, and how the Berkshire County Historical Society has worked to preserve the site where Melville wrote Moby-Dick and three other novels, all of his short stories and his initial works of poetry. Tour guide will be John Dickson, Arrowhead docent and Chair of the Pittsfield Historical Commission.
Ticket prices: $10 for members, $20 for not-yet-members.
Click here to purchase member tickets, and here for not-yet-member tickets

Billy Budd in the Breadbox Book Club!

Berkshire County Historical Society Book Club
Missing your grandkids during this time of social distancing? What better way to spend time with them than reading a book together? Join us at the BCHS for our virtual book club! With a discussion led by Jana Laiz, award-winning author and Arrowhead’s emeritus Writer-in-Residence, share your thoughts and ideas with a group of interested members and friends. Then your grandchildren will get a chance to interview you.

We will be reading Billy Budd in the Breadbox – The Story of Herman Melville & Eleanor, by Jana Laiz. Billy Budd in the Breadbox is the story of a very inquisitive girl and her brilliant grandfather. Told in her voice, Eleanor discovers her grandfather’s secret, while learning about his adventurous life. Perfect for children ages 8 & up.

When: 4pm on
Wednesday October 28
Wednesday November 11
Wednesday November 25
Wednesday December 9


Pick up a copy from the Arrowhead online store and support the museum, or read the e-book.

Please contact us if you’d like to join, and we will send you a zoom invite for the first meeting. We look forward to reading with you!
Email or call 413-442-1793

“Herman Melville comes to life in all his complex glory in this delightful story of a granddaughter’s love for an old man whose last days are lived in obscurity but whose mind and heart are still full of life and genius.”
—Michael Shelden, author of Melville in Love

This wonderful book humanizes the great Herman Melville with humor, a terrific sense of history and a sweetheart of a young woman at its center named Eleanor! – Kate Maguire, Artistic Director, Berkshire Theatre Group

“A collectible gem.” – Berkshire Eagle

Cemetery Tours with BCHS

This October we are excited to bring back our cemetery tours right here in Pittsfield! Join us on Thursdays in October for this free and socially distant event.

Cemetery tours –

Oct 15 – Waconah Street Cemetery, focus on veterans, 5pm, meet at cemetery

Oct 22, East Part Cemetery, 5pm (Williams Street)

Oct 29, West Part Cemetery, 5pm (West Street, across from BCC entrance)

Thanks to a grant from MountainOne, this program is free and open to the public!

Masks are mandatory for this event.

Gone A’ Whalin’ Lecture by Dennis Picard

When many of us imagine life aboard a 19th century whaling vessel we think of crews filled with men who had grown up with salt air in their lungs. Hear the true stories of inland crew members from Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut. Learn about the jobs they filled, their life on a whaler and how they fared.

Thanks to underwriting from MountainOne, this event will be free and open to the public.

This event will be held from 4-6pm on Tuesday, October 13th.

To register for this event, please use the form in this link.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

To donate and support the Berkshire County Historical Society at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, please visit this page.

Fall Fundraiser!

Berkshire County Historical Society at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead is excited to announce that we will hold our annual fundraiser this year virtually! Join us on October 8th from 7-8pm EDT.

Join the Berkshire County Historical Society for a night of stories, spirits and giving! Our virtual fundraiser this year will include an auction of unique birdhouses, a special menu from Spirited in Lenox with choices such as Harpoon IPA and ciders (like Melville used to make!), stories from local author Kevin O’Hara, and a unique look at Arrowhead with an eye towards preservation yesterday and today. Please tune in and support the BCHS – now more than ever, we need your help!

For more information and to donate please click here.

Thank you for your constant support of the Berkshire County Historical Society at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead.