Current Projects

Audio Recording of Williamstown the First 250 Years

Are you skilled at reading aloud?  Perhaps you can help us…

In the spring of 2018, the WHM was awarded a grant from the Fund for Williamstown, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, to support the Williamstown History Accesibility Project and the purchase of  recording equipment to create an audio book version of Williamstown’s history book, Williamstown the First 250 Years and to create an audio tour recording of the captions from the permanent orientation exhibit at the WHM.

The Williamstown History Accessibility Project and its resultant audio book and audio tour will enhance the local history resources available to community members who seek to learn more about our town’s past.  The Value of History Statement presented by History Relevance states that, “History, saved and preserved, is the foundation for future generations. History is crucial to preserving democracy for the future by explaining our shared past…History lays the groundwork for strong, resilient communities…”  This statement underscores the importance of our project which will  provide opportunities for all residents to connect with and understand the past and can encourage residents to analyze our ideas and experiences through a broader context, thus making Williamstown a stronger and better community in which to live.

Once the audio book is recorded, the goal is to upload it to multiple online platforms and to provide the audiobook to all listeners for free.  The audio tour of the WHM exhibit will be uploaded to the WHM website.  Your help in recording would be a great way to give back to your community.  Contact the WHM today to learn more: 413-458-2160 or [email protected].


Textiles of Williamstown:  Selections from the WHM Collection


Textiles conserved at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center with CPA Funds, 2018-2018

The WHM is excited to share a collection of beautifully conserved textiles with the community.  The selection of textiles includes a uniform from a woman who served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during WWII,  an Emancipation Period sampler, wool blankets from Mt. Hope Farm, a sheet made from flax farmed and processed in South Williamstown, and a velvet opera coat that once belonged to a well known town resident.  Most of the pieces in this exhibit were evaluated in 2016 by a textiles conservator that was funded through a board initiative, and were then conserved at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center with funding from the Community Preservation Act Fund.  Many thanks to the dedicated staff and supporters of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center for their good work.  The WHM is also grateful to the town and its vote to support this Community Preservation Act funded project.  We hope you will be able to visit the WHM to view the exhibit which will be on display until December 29.

1875 Southworth Album of Photographic Portraiture
2016 – 2017 Conservation and Digitization

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The exquisite Southworth Golden Wedding Anniversary Album is truly a remarkable object. Compiled in 1875 to honor Emily and Sumner Southworth’s 50th wedding anniversary, the album contains both cabinet cards and cartes de visite (calling cards) featuring portraits of the Southworth social circle – friends, relatives – chiefly Williamstown residents. As was then the custom, the photos were most likely left by the guests upon their arrival at the anniversary party, as gifts commemorating the event. The album provides valuable photographic evidence of the fashion and personal grooming trends of the late 1800s. And, more importantly, it offers a virtual pictorial Who’s Who, a Williamstown Social Register, of 1875.   We have been given a unique and remarkable window with which to visually taste the flavor of our community in the last quarter of the 19th century.  The anniversary party took place well before the age of the snapshot which, on an important occasion like this one, would have captured guests in action. Yet, these portraits provide us with the best possible visual record of Southworth’s party guests.

With support from Williamstown’s CPA fund we have been able to carry out a major conservation project on this album.  The Williamstown Art Conservation Center has conserved the album and Chicago Albumen Works, located in Housatonic, MA, has digitized the album so that each image can be accessed online.  We hope you will contribute to the ongoing research related to the album and the residents within.  To learn more about about this project contact Sarah at [email protected]


Williamstown’s Proprietor’s Book

2015 Conservation and Digitization

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Another inspiring project supported with the support of the Town of Williamstown through Community Preservation Act Funds was voted on at the 2015 Annual Town Meeting.  The town voted to conserve our town’s Proprietors Book.  This book  is of unquestionable historic value to the town and to the larger scholarly community.  Documents from this period in Williamstown’s history are exceedingly rare since almost all were destroyed in a meeting-house fire in 1866. The original book, now at town hall, has been conserved by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.  In addition, a facsimile containing highly detailed research worthy copies of each page was carefully by Chicago Albumen Works located in Housatonic, MA.  This three volume facsimile is well worth a peek and we encourage you to view it in the Town Clerk’s office at the Municipal Building.  In addition to the facsimile, a digital copy was produced and the Williamstown Historical Museum keeps a dedicated hard-drive of the entire Proprietors Book at the museum.  With funding from the Fund for Williamstown, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, we were able to purchase updated computers with more memory.  We will soon work on uploading images from the Proprietors Book onto our online collection.


Important Collection Pieces

2014 -2015 Conservation

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             1899 WHS Baseball Team

At the Annual Town meeting in June of 2014, the town voted to provide the Williamstown Historical Museum with funding, through the Community Preservation Act Fund, for the  conservation and exhibition of several important artifacts from the museum.  The items conserved for the WHM at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center include a number of photos that demonstrate the unique character of Williamstown.  In addition to historic photos, three ledgers from the Hopkins Funeral Home and Furniture store dating from 1903 through 1915 have been conserved along with a mid 19th century tilt-top tea table and a wooden canteen that dates from the latter part of the 1700’s (Revolutionary War period).


Thank you to Pine Cobble for helping us to tell the story of Williamstown!

2015 – 2016 Exhibition and Booklet Production

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In 2015, seventh graders from Pine Cobble School in Williamstown observed and researched the objects we conserved in 2014.  Students investigated the artifacts and their meaning within American and local history.  The students’ work was included in an exhibit featuring the conserved objects.  Additionally, the students’ work was included in a booklet about the conserved objects and has been distributed throughout the community allowing residents and history enthusiasts to learn more about this corner of the state. Support for the booklet was provided by the Fund for Williamstown, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.  Beth Carlisle expertly designed the booklet.

For more information call or email Sarah at 413.464.6335 or [email protected]