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MA Massachussets Guide
June 4, 2013 - Let History Come to Life at Historic Northampton
History can be a boring subject in school - but it does not have to always be like that. If you are a teacher and you would like to add some colours to history, renting a bus and taking your students out for a day of learning out class at the Historic Northampton would definitely sound like a great idea. Even your students will thank you for having come up with such a brilliant idea!
As you and your students climb down from the rented bus, you will see that the Historic Northampton is a combination of 3 historic houses that are built adjacent to one another - all of which still stands on its original sites. It has a collection of about fifty thousand items of the repository of Northampton and Connecticut Valley history - all the way from the Pre-Contact era to the current times. Items like photographs, documents and manuscripts from the seventeenth right up to the twentieth centuries, textiles collection, costumes, fine art are just some of the things that your students will get to see with their own eyes.
Not only that, you will also see collections that are a representation of the history of Northampton as well as to a certain extent, the history of the Connecticut River Valley too. Before you think that these are the only objects that your students will get to see, there are also other items such as weapons, transportation artifacts, fire equipment that were used in the past, trade signs and many more unique and collectible items.
The first house to visit is the Damon House, which was built by architect Isaac Damon back in 1813 and a newer, modern structure was added to it in 1987. The Damon house contains the administrative offices of the Historic Northampton while its modern structure displays changing exhibits with a permanent installation - A Place Called Paradise: The Making of Northampton, Massachusetts which chronicles the Northampton history.
Next to the Damon House is the Parsons House, built in 1719 but this house is currently closed to the public due to renovation works. The Parsons House showcases an overview of the Colonial domestic architecture that has attracted many visitors in the past before it closed for renovations. Last but not least is the Shepherd House, which is the head office of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.
Before you and your students hop back onto the rented bus, do visit the Museum Shop for some little mementos if you wish, or purchase one or two books from their wide range of books available on Northampton history.