PVMA celebrates 150 years, postpones celebrations

  • The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association is celebrating 150 years on May 10. Staff file photo/Domenic Poli

Staff Writer
Published: 5/7/2020 1:55:03 PM
Modified: 5/7/2020 1:54:53 PM

DEERFIELD — The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) is celebrating 150 years on Sunday.

“It’s a county-wide celebration as far as we’re concerned,” said Executive Director Tim Neumann. “We have something from every town in the county, and many items from Greenfield and some of the other towns.”

Plans to celebrate the anniversary this month, however, were curtailed as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the disease, according to Neumann. The celebratory event has been rescheduled to take place on Oct. 12, Indigenous People’s Day.

The concept for PVMA, the historical and cultural association on Memorial Street, grew from conversations in 1869 in nearby Greenfield about honoring the history of the region and its first settlers, the Pocumtuck tribe, which some felt had been forgotten.

The association was founded by an official act of the Massachusetts Legislature on May 9, 1870. It officially organized on May 10 with the election of officers from all over the region.

“They set out to have an organization that … welcomed members,” Neumann said. “They would go and help celebrate historical events in other towns.”

The anniversary appropriately coincides with Mother’s Day this year, Neumann said. As the first organization of its kind in the county, and with its location in Deerfield — a town that once incorporated the land of a number of other towns in the county — the organization sees itself as “the mother” of all historical societies in Franklin County.

“We envision these historical societies as daughters,” he explained.

Neumann said the association’s founders saw PVMA as a way to celebrate history throughout the county.

“(Founders) didn’t hold onto this just as something for them to do,” Neumann said. “They were interested in everyone taking interest in their (respective) history.”

Although large anniversaries are often associated with fundraising efforts, Neumann noted the organization has also postponed raising money.

“We’ve postponed our fundraising, but I think people could celebrate our organization’s anniversary by donating to their historical society … who may be struggling to pay the electricity bill,” he said.

The anniversary event in October will feature performances by the Greenfield Military Band and local musicians performing music from different decades, as well as historical children’s games, a tent for an old fashioned tea party and a special exhibit on the topic of celebrating 150 years.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 263.

Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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