Sheffield Historical Society
The Sheffield Historical Society was organized in 1972 by a group of local residents who sought to preserve the story of the oldest town in Berkshire County. It is a volunteer driven, nonprofit corporation, actively involved in local historical research that also offers a variety of educational programs for every age group.
The Society’s goal is to stimulate interest in local history and to interpret the town’s past. It collects and preserves records and materials relevant to the town, which includes the hamlets of Sheffield and Ashley Falls, exhibits them and makes them available for exhibits, research, and educational program. The mission of the Sheffield Historical Society is to promote a wider understanding of the people and events that preceded us in this area, and to preserve and transmit that heritage to current and future generations.
The Society maintains seven historic structures. The 1774 Dan Raymond House is both a period museum and houses the Society’s main office. Other buildings on the campus include the 1820 Parker Hall Law Office; a 19th century Carriage Barn that contains an exhibit of agricultural and related tools; an 1876 brick Education Center which was an early Sheffield greenhouse; an unusual early 19th century double chamber Greek Revival Smokehouse; and a circa 1834 commercial building, known locally as the Old Stone Store, which now functions as the Society’s gift shop and gallery.
The Society also maintains an early 19th century Hatter's shop, which now houses the Mark Dewey Research Center.The archives are open to the public Mondays and Fridays from 1:30-4:00pm, or by appointment. The following items are some brief highlights of the unique collections at the Research Center:
- Over 700 family files on Sheffield and South Berkshire County
- Subject files on important landmarks, buildings, organizations, events, and topics of local significance• Town documents dating from 1733 including tax records from 1763 to 1983
- House histories
- Extensive collection of photographs including over 1,000 glass plate negatives
- Historic maps
- 19 volume collection of area obituaries and death notices
- Regional cemetery records
- Town vital records starting 1730
- Ancestry.com access
- Limited edition, privately printed family histories Veterans lists from the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, and the Civil War along with Civil War memorabilia
The Society’s campus is located in the center of historic Sheffield, Massachusetts on Rte. 7, just north of the Connecticut state line and immediately south of Great Barrington. It is easily accessible from all major highways in the region including Interstate 90 (Mass. Pike) and is served by two regional airports, Albany, NY and Hartford, CT as well as by public bus lines.
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