The Porter-Phelps-Huntington-Museum invites all residents of Northampton and Hatfield to a Community Day on Saturday, June 2 from 10:00am to 3:30pm. All residents are welcome to the Museum for free tours on the half hour. Afterwards, guests can relax on the back veranda with complimentary lemonade and cookies. Members of the community are encouraged to explore the homestead and grounds of one of the founding families of Hadley and learn about the history of the Connecticut River Valley.
The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum provides a detailed look at the role of one family in the span of over 200 years of history in the Connecticut Valley. The home, built in 1752, is preserved to its circa 1800 structure and interior décor, and houses the family’s personal belongings accumulated over generations. During a tour of the house, visitors witness the impact of historical events like the Revolutionary War, the abolition of slavery, learn more about the changing role of women, and the influence of various theological movements on local society. As the house was passed from woman to woman, unusual in its time, the museum offers an oft-overlooked perspective on women’s social roles and history over the past few centuries. A visit to the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House is a unique experience that allows guests to explore the history of New England on a personal, intimate level through the eyes of one family.
This summer, Northampton native and Barnard College student Cara Hudson-Erdman will be working at the PPH Museum and leading tours. As an art history major, Hudson-Erdman is fascinated by “the intricacies of the architecture and objects of the farmstead and how this family built, socialized and worked in their spaces.” As is tradition, each summer museum assistant writes their own tour based on their own specializations and interests. “I’m looking forward to giving tours this summer because I think the most special aspect of PPH is that it is a living museum-- its history continues with the interpretation of each successive museum assistant and the interactions that occur between visitors and the traces of those who lived here in the past,” says Hudson-Erdman. She hopes to see many familiar faces from Northampton at this Community Day.
Today, the house is not only host to historical interpretation, but also to weekly concerts and teas. Wednesday evenings from June 13th through July 25th, the Museum presents Wednesday Folk Traditions, an annual concert series featuring talented musicians working in a vast array of traditions, cultures, genres, and sounds, ranging from traditional American folk singers to diverse international ensembles. Every Saturday afternoon in July through August, the Museum hosts “A Perfect Spot of Tea,” where guests are invited to relax on the back porch, sample desserts and tea from local restaurants and bakeries, and listen to talented local musicians.
In addition, “Massachusetts,” an exhibit by Philip Grant is on display in the Corn Barn. “Massachusetts” is a series of oil paintings on linen and canvas, completed with a unique combination of modern realist and traditional techniques. The scenes depicted of his neighbors and locations around his home of Hampden form a part of Grant’s accumulation of a visual autobiography through art.