Historical Society of Greenfield not opening museum in 2021

  • The Historical Society of Greenfield’s museum on Church Street will not open for the 2021 season. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2021 3:40:54 PM

GREENFIELD — The board of directors for the Historical Society has decided against opening the museum on Church Street for the 2021 season.

“We don’t have the staffing, and we don’t have the air flow, in terms of meeting COVID restrictions,” explained Meg Baker, secretary of the society. She added that even though the state’s restrictions were recently dropped, the building isn’t designed to allow adequate air flow, nor is it well-designed to accommodate one-way traffic or have hand sanitizer stations.

Though closed to the public, the Historical Society of Greenfield still aims to bring the museum to the community in new ways, Baker said, whether that’s through Facebook Live, hosting Zoom speakers or connecting with other historical societies across the country.

“We’re looking to make the collections accessible to people in new ways,” she said.

For individuals who wish to access a particular collection — for research purposes or otherwise — the society can accommodate “very restricted, by appointment” visits, she added.

“We’re taking this opportunity to do the general upkeep for the building,” Baker noted.

Certain outdoor events will be held throughout the summer, including an Ice Cream Social on Aug. 7 (with a rain date of Aug. 14).

While the building itself will be closed, Baker said the society still welcomes contributions of historical items.

“We’re always interested in talking to people about what they think is historically relevant,” Baker said.

The society is particularly interested now in learning about the way the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of local residents, she said. Already, the museum has collected a roll of toilet paper — a reminder of the early days of the pandemic — taken from Baker Office Supply, and a canceled jury summons.

“It’s that sort of thing we’re definitely interested in collecting,” she said. “How did COVID and the last year affect your life? … History starts yesterday.”

The best way for people to reach out if they think they might have an artifact of interest is through email at hsgreenfield1907@gmail.com.

“We’re not in the building all the time, so we may not hear a phone call, but we will always get an email,” she said.

Monetary donations are also always welcome, Baker noted. People can donate either online through the Paypal link on the website, historicalsocietygreenfieldma.org, or by emailing and arranging a time to drop off cash or a check.

“We are very much looking forward to opening next season,” she said. “Any way people want to connect with us, we are eager to do so.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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