the Historical Society:
In 1895 the women's Monday Club met to discuss
preserving the site of Fort Massachusetts. On November 23, 1895, the
ladies of North Adams published an issue of The Hoosac Valley News that
was written and edited entirely by the women of the City. This
fundraiser brought in more than $1,000 and enabled the women to purchase
the site of Fort Massachusetts. The deed was issued to the Fort
Massachusetts Historical Society.
On August 19, 1933, a dedication ceremony was held
for the replica of Fort Massachusetts. The Fort Massachusetts Historical
Society operated a museum until sometime in the 1940s when it closed
due to vandalism and lack of funds. The local history artifacts,
including the Fort relics were stored in the North Adams Public Library
and eventually the collection was donated to the City of North Adams.
From the close of the Fort Massachusetts Historical
Society until 1971, North Adams had no active historical society. In
1971, the Hoosac Tunnel Centennial Committee formed to plan a
celebration for a commemoration of the completion of the Hoosac Tunnel.
The 4 3/4 mile tunnel through the Hoosac Mountain allowed trains direct,
easy access from Boston to New York. After that celebration, local
people organized and brought a train car to North Adams to start the
Hoosac Tunnel Museum where visitors could come to learn more about the
history of the Tunnel. This was the beginning of the Hoosac Tunnel
In 1985, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
completed the renovation of a former 1800's freight yard. What was to
become Western Gateway Heritage State Park would give the City large
gallery space for a Hoosac Tunnel Museum at the new Visitors Center.
With the assurance that the history of the Hoosac Tunnel was in good
hands, the Hoosac Tunnel Museum Society gave its Hoosac Tunnel
collection to the Visitors Center at Western Gateway Heritage State
Park. It was decided at this time to change the name of the Society to
the North Adams Historical Society, Inc. (NAHS) On July 1, 1988, the
change was complete. The North Adams Historical Society, Inc., was
formed with a broader focus - to protect, preserve, and promote
the history of North Adams, Massachusetts and its people.
Until the fall of 1997, the North Adams Historical
Society, Inc., did not have a permanent home. In September 1997, the
NAHS officially opened the Local History Center in Western Gateway
Heritage State Park. The restored buildings that once served as part of
an 1800's freight yard were the perfect home to the many historical
artifacts collected over the years.
After opening in Western Gateway Heritage State
Park building 1, the Society received many generous loans and donations
of artifacts. This collection overfilled our next home in building 2. In
February 1999 it was decided to change the name from the Local History
Center to the North Adams Local History Museum. Our exhibits have
increased in size and number of artifacts and our membership continues
to grow. In May 2001, we became the North Adams Museum of History
and Science and moved to building 5A where we have over 25 permanent
exhibits on three floors.
The Museum also presents temporary exhibits on the
life and times of North Adams in the past.
If you have any questions please feel free to
contact us at NAHS@BCN.NET
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