Porter-Phelps Museum to remain closed to in-person visits in 2021

  • The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley had decided to remain closed for in-person programming through 2021. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2021

HADLEY— Though other museums and arts organizations have opened their doors as COVID-19 lessens its grip on the Bay State, the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum, closed to the public since March 2020, will remain as such for 2021.

In a statement, the historical museum said its in-person public programming, such as the longtime summer music series Wednesday Folk Traditions, will not resume until 2022 “to protect the health and safety of the community, museum interns, and staff.”

However, virtual programming, which was expanded last year, will continue apace in 2021, museum staff said, including a new program, “Bridging the Past and Present,” a series of online conversations with five scholars on the history of Hadley and the Porter-Phelps-Huntington family.

The series, which is free, begins June 16 at 5 p.m. “Entangled Lives: A Conversation on Women and Work at the PPH House in the Past and the Present,” will feature Marla R. Miller, a University of Massachusetts Amherst history professor and the director of the university’s Public History Program.

Miller, author of a number of books that examine the lives and work of American women in the late 18th century, including the famed U.S. flag maker Betsy Ross, has also studied the role of “past keepers” such as “authors, museum-makers, and archivists in preserving and interpreting history,” according to the museum.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler, an Amherst College professor of American Studies and English, will join the June 16 program to talk with Miller about the latter’s research methods. Sánchez-Eppler will also host the second discussion in the museum’s online series, “School Letters: Teaching with the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers,” on July 7.

Porter-Phelps staff say they’ll use the coming months to do more extensive research into the museum’s collections — there are eight interns on board this summer — and post the results to the museum website and Facebook page.

Meanwhile, a trail system that begins at the museum remains open; it runs through nearby fields along the Connecticut River, connecting to an old buggy path to Mount Warner, where the Porter family grazed their cattle in the 18th century.

More information on “Bridging the Past and Present” can be found at pphmuseum.org/bridging.