BCHS Book Club – January 13th

January 13, 4pm – Berkshire County Historical Society Virtual Book Club

Join author and Arrowhead Writer-In-Residence Emeritus Jana Laiz as our virtual book club kicks off its second season! Engage in lively discussion with readers from across the country as we dive into the new publication “Ghosts of the Berkshires” by Robert Oakes. Oakes will join us for the last meeting to answer questions. Please contact us at education@berkshirehistory.org for the zoom link if you would like to join.

Writing Workshop with Jana Laiz

Writing Thursdays With Jana Laiz @ Arrowhead

Join Jana Laiz for a series of interactive writing activities inspired by the magic of Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. Throughout the six-week experience writers will come together as a community around various prompts. Writers can also bring existing works to shape and hone or can craft brand-new piece(s). During the six-weeks every writer will have the opportunity to work individually with Jana. Finished works will be eligible for possible publication in an Arrowhead anthology or newsletter.

Who: ​Writers in grades 6 and up
When: Six ​Thursdays: January 7, 14, 21, 28; February 4 and 11th.
Cost:​ FREE: Writers must commit to the full six-weeks.

Email Jana for more information at: education@berkshirehistory.org

Holiday Lights with Arrowhead

Holiday Lights

Wednesday, December 16, 5pm

A virtual program that offers a tour of Arrowhead decorated for the holidays, seasonal readings, 19th century holiday recipes, and a peek at some objects from our collection that are not often on view. There will also be a special appearance from Elizabeth Melville herself!

The event is free, but you will need to register in order to receive the zoom link. Call 413.442.1793 or email us at melville@berkshirehistory.org

Thank you to our friends at MountainOne Bank for making this program possible.


Check out some holiday recipes below! 

Wassail Recipe

1-gallon apple cider

2 quarts cranberry juice

1 tablespoon aromatic bitters

4 sticks cinnamon

1 tablespoon white allspice

2 oranges (studded with cloves)

Optional: 2 cups rum or brandy

Toss it all in a crockpot, keep on low and serve drink warm.



1 tablespoon olive oil

7 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup minced garlic

3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup red-wine vinegar

2 pounds red cabbage, cored and shredded

1 cup dry red wine

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Heat oil and 3 tablespoons brown sugar in large non-aluminum pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add 2 cups cranberries and vinegar. Cover and cook until cranberries begin to burst, 4 to 6 minutes. Add cabbage and wine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes.

Add remaining 4 tablespoons brown sugar and cayenne and mix well. Stir in remaining 1 cup cranberries. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until cranberries are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot or cold. (Dish can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. If desired, reheat over low heat 10 to 12 minutes.) Makes 12 servings.

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 education@berkshirehistory.org 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.

The Mastheads at Arrowhead

If you’ve ever wanted to spend the day writing at Arrowhead, now is your chance! The Mastheads are providing anyone with the chance to sign up for a day residency at Arrowhead, during which you can write, read, or make art in a unique studio in the field at Arrowhead.

For more information about the Mastheads and this residency, please click here.