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UMass Amherst Libraries

Public History

Public History at UMass Amherst

Massachusetts boasts a rich network of museums, archives, historical societies, documentary filmmakers, and historic preservation agencies, as well as one of the top public research universities in the nation. Since 1986, the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has provided a vital link between the University and the Commonwealth's wide variety of institutions that preserve and communicate history to the public.

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Introduction

The Pioneer Valley teems with a number and variety of public history museums and organizations, as well as museums devoted to science, technology and art. These are great resources for research, and also potential hosts for internships and other collaborations.

Museums

Museums 10 

A collaboration among a variety of museums in and around the Amherst/Northampton area, affiliated with the Five College consortium.

Beneski Museum of Natural History

Located on the Amherst College campus, this museum showcases fossils and mineral collections.

Emily Dickinson Museum

The house where the poet Emily Dickison was born and lived most of her life, the museum is dedicated to displaying the life, family and works of Emily to a wider audience.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Founded by Eric Carle and his wife Bobbie Morrison, this museum on the grounds of Hampshire College collects a wide array of picture books.

Hampshire College Art Gallery

Opened in 1970, this gallery concentrates on the visual arts.

Historic Deerfield

The area preserves the 18th century English settlement and recreates the lives of the early New England settlers.

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

This art museum at Amherst college holds worldwide collections of art.

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Founded in 1876, this lively college museum focuses on the role of art in education.

Yiddish Book Center

This organization collects, preserves, and translates books written in Yiddish to promote the understanding of modern Jewish identity.

Smith College Museum of Art

Established in 1879, this museum focuses on connecting the academic and broader communities through art.      

University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst

This cutting-edge contemporary museum provides a lively space for artists and the community.

Other museums

Disability History Museum

This virtual museum provides library resources, educational curricula, and exhibits for teachers, students, and researchers.    

Joseph Skinner Museum

As a part of Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, an array of cabinets of curiosities is housed in an early 19th-century Congregational church saved from the town of Prescott which was flooded as part of the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Wistariahurst Museum

Established by the Skinner Family, this19th century mansion in Holyoke is a vibrant house museum.

Du Bois Homesite

This National Historic Landmark in Great Barrington preserves the homesite of the prominent African American scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois.

Hancock Shaker Village

This preserved Shaker village showcases the life and crafts of Shakers.

Historic Northampton

A collection of 50,000 objects relating to the history of Northampton.

Springfield Museums

The Springfield Museums, located in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, comprises five world-class museums; the Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts., the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Springfield Science Museum, the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum and the Museum of Springfield History. The Museums Association is proud to be home to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden.

Springfield Armory

Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates the critical role of the nation’s first armory by preserving and interpreting the world's largest historic US military small arms collection, along with historic archives, buildings, and landscapes.

Basketball Hall of Fame

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is home to more than three hundred inductees and more than 40,000 square feet of basketball history.

Museum of Our Industrial Heritage

The collection includes tools, machines, taps and dies, and archival materials revealing the social history of the area's industrial heritage. Artifacts come from dozens of companies, representing nearly every Franklin County town, as well as Athol and several other neighboring towns.

Hadley Farm Museum

A collection of vehicles and equipment used on New England farms and farmhouses from the late 1700s to the early 20th century. Located in a 1782 barn, the museum showcases many items just as they would have been found on the farm.

Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum

The house contains the family’s belongings accumulated and preserved over 300 years.

Volleyball Hall of Fame

Dedicated to honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to this international sport and to fostering the appreciation of the historical development of the game by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience.

Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum

Contains materials documenting the private life of Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), beginning with his birth and formative years in Vermont, his student days at Amherst College, and his years as a young lawyer in Northampton. Exhibits and manuscripts, written and pictorial, cover his political career from Northampton to Boston to the White House and his post-presidential years as a Northampton resident.

Libraries and Special Collections

American Antiquarian Society

This research library provides a wide collection of printed materials from the first contact to 1876.

Yiddish Book Center

This organization collects, preserves, and translates books written in Yiddish to promote the understanding of modern Jewish identity.

UMass/ Five college online catalog

The everyday gateway to your research! Click on the Five College Catalog tab.

Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections

Search over 1,500 finding aids from  the Five Colleges' archives and manuscripts. Below are links for each archives and collection.

   Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

   Hampshire College Archives

   Mount Holyoke College Archives & Special collections

   Smith College Archives

   Smith College, Mortimer Rare Book Room

   Sophia Smith Collection, Women's History Archives at Smith College

   UMass Special Collections & University Archives

Other Organizations

Valley Women’s History Collaborative

Founded in 1997, the VWHC documents contemporary local women's history.

MS in Design & Historic Preservation (Joint degree with Architecture + Design Program, Public History, and Hancock Shaker Village)

This Master of Science program geared to working professionals offers students the chance to engage with the hands-on study of preserving architecture.

Pioneer Valley History Network

The PVHN serves as an extensive resource for the Western Massachusetts local history organizations and events.

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Since 1962, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has been the designated regional planning body for the Pioneer Valley region, which encompasses 43 cities and towns in the Hampden and Hampshire county areas. PVPC is the primary agency responsible for increasing communication, cooperation, and coordination among all levels of government as well as the private business and civic sectors in order to benefit the Pioneer Valley region and to improve its residents' quality of life.

Massachusetts Historical Commission

The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) was established by the legislature in 1963* to identify, evaluate, and protect important historical and archaeological assets of the Commonwealth.

Preservation Massachusetts

Preservation Massachusetts (PM) is the statewide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage. It was established in 1989 and is supported entirely by members and concerned citizens.

Slightly Further Afield

South, in Hartford, CT (60 minutes)

Mark Twain House & Museum

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

Connecticut Historical Society

North, to White River Junction, VT (100 minutes)

Brattleboro Museum and Art Center

American Precision Museum

St. Gaudens National Historic Site (Cornish, NH)

Museums just West, in the Berkshires (60 minutes)

The Mount/Edith Wharton's Home (Lenox)

Arrowhead/Herman Melville's Home

Norman Rockwell Museum

Chesterwood

Ventfort Hall

African American Heritage Trail

Clark Art Institute

The Clark is one of only a handful of institutions globally with a dual mission as an art museum and a distinguished center for research and higher education, dedicated to advancing and extending the public understanding of art. - See more at: http://www.clarkart.edu/About/about-clark#sthash.bgjiJv6f.dpuf

One of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with research and academic programs, including a major art history library, the Clark is now a leading international center for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history. - See more at: http://www.clarkart.edu/About/about-clark#sthash.bgjiJv6f.dpuf
The Clark is one of only a handful of institutions globally with a dual mission as an art museum and a distinguished center for research and higher education, dedicated to advancing and extending the public understanding of art. - See more at: http://www.clarkart.edu/About/about-clark#sthash.bgjiJv6f.dpuf
The Clark is one of only a handful of institutions globally with a dual mission as an art museum and a distinguished center for research and higher education, dedicated to advancing and extending the public understanding of art. - See more at: http://www.clarkart.edu/About/about-clark#sthash.bgjiJv6f.dpuf

Museums just East, to Concord, MA (90 minutes)

Orchard House (Louisa May Alcott)

Minute Man National Historical Park

Walden Pond

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

The Old Manse

The Museum of Printing

Literary points of interest statewide

Literary Map of Massachusetts