♦Welcome to the Bidwell House Museum♦

The museum welcomes visitors on Thursdays through Mondays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with tours on the hour. The last tour begins at 3 p.m. The museum building is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The grounds are open daily from dawn until dusk for hiking and nature watching. (Directions)

The Bidwell House is located on a country lane in the rural town of Monterey in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. Please explore our website: read about the colonial history of the region, learn about School Programs, discover fun volunteer opportunities, and much more.

Link to Internship Information


2015 is the museum’s 25th anniversary! This is a link to the full anniversary program. Take a look, and please plan to join us! Highlights include 7/3 Township No. 1 Day and 8/15 Anniversary Gala Garden Party.

Saturday, June 27th 10 – 2:30 Workshop with Tom Wessels: Reading the Forested Landscape. For more information and reservations: Invitation to a Special Workshop with Tom Wessels. PLEASE NOTE, THE AFTERNOON WALK IS FULL.


Tom Wessels 6-27-15

Reading the Forested Landscape — Workshops with Ecologist Tom Wessels

Noted Ecologist Tom Wessels will give a workshop on Saturday, June 27 at the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey, MA. Based on Professor Wessels’ book, Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, this workshop introduces Wessels’ approach to interpreting a forest’s history.  Wessels will show how evidence such as the shapes of trees, scars on their trunks, the pattern of decay in stumps, the construction of stone walls, and the lay of the land, allows one to unravel complex stories etched into our forested landscape.  Wessels characterizes this process as “forest forensics”, since it is quite similar to interpreting a crime scene.

Participants of the workshops will gain a better understanding of cultural and natural disturbances on the land and how they have shaped the use and enjoyment of the woods and fields. They will also learn methods and skills to identify and understand these cultural and natural historical events in order to apply this knowledge to their own land or on any walk in the woods.  Wessels teaches how to see old landscapes with new eyes. His unique way of experiential teaching and problem solving have garnered him a large following among naturalists.

Tom Wessels is an ecologist and Professor Emeritus at Antioch University New England. He is the author of Reading the Forested LandscapeThe Myth of Progress, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape, among others. Tom has conducted landscape ecology and sustainability workshops throughout the country for over 30 years.

Two workshops are scheduled: 10-11:30 a.m. Talk and slideshow; 11:30 BYO lunch and conversation; and 12:30-2:30 p.m. Exploration of the Bidwell Forest FULL. There is a charge of $15/$10 for members, per workshop. Reservation form:

Invitation to a Special Workshop with Tom Wessels


Township Day digital flyer 2015Township No. 1 Day – Free Community History Celebration on Friday, July 3th


The Bidwell House Museum is inviting Monterey and Tyringham residents and all friends to the Art School Road fields for a free celebration of local history on Friday, July 3rd from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is named for the earliest official designation for the settlement – it was called “Township No. 1 at Hoosatonnuck” in 1737. The name was officially changed to Tyringham at the town’s incorporation in 1762, and it included both towns until they split in1847.

The museum is planning a full afternoon of programs and entertainment for all ages:

Live music in the tent: Monterey’s own Easy Ridin’ Papas (Will Conklin and Adam Brown) as well as Steve and Pete Adams, and Moonshine Holler of Tyringham.  Paula Bradley and Bill Dillof play ballads, blues and breakdowns on more musical instruments than they can juggle – including fiddle, banjo, guitar, Hawaiian guitar, harmonica and ukulele – and with some old-time flatfoot dancing to boot.

Re-Enactors: The Butler’s Rangers portray historic characters, including Quaker refugees, Loyalist soldiers and some baggage (the 18th century war term for women and children). They will set up tents to show how they lived, dressed, cooked and spent their days during the time of the American Revolution. They tell the story of the Loyalist side of the Revolution, which at the time included most Native Americans and many established older people, who were “loyal” to King George III. Representing the Patriots will be a member of Thompson’s Rifle Corp, Brigade of the American Revolution, with a long-rifle of the period.

For the young and young-at-heart: Games, crafts, hat-decorating, face-painting, a scavenger hunt and more.

For the local history buff: “History Detectives: Investigating an Old House,” a talk by Steve McAlister. “Candidate for Eternity: The Tumultuous Life of Barnabas Bidwell (son of Rev. Adonijah)” a talk by current Yale student Jonah Bader on his research project. Photographs and the just completed comprehensive inventory of the cemetery will by exhibited by the Tyringham Historical Commission. A “Historic Postcards” exhibit by the Monterey Historical Society.

Historic crafts: The McAlisters of Monterey and John Graney of Sheffield will demonstrate metal forging. Wendy Jensen of Monterey will demonstrate basket-weaving.

For the baker (or the taster): A baking contest. Bring your favorite home-baked pies, cakes or cookies by 1:25 and enter them in the taste-off. Prizes for the best confections.  Bake Off Entry Forms click here.

Food: Sausages from the grill, SoCo Creamery ice cream, beer, old-time soft drinks, lemonade, popcorn, and watermelon.

Please note: the museum building is closed for tours this day.

Township No. 1 Day is supported in part by grants from the Monterey Cultural Council and Tyringham Cultural Council, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Fall Newsletter article continued: Barnabas Bidwell, America’s William Wilberforce?


Board Member John Demos’ new book, The Heathen School, A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, was recently reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on NPR. You can listen to that review here.

Also, click here to listen to John Demos discuss his book with Frank Sesno of NPR affiliate WAMU.


Thank you….

….for supporting the Bidwell House Museum at the Berkshire Summer Art School Garden Party! Take a look at the story and photos on Rural Intelligence….



Take a look at the calendar of 2014 Programs, click here


Thank you for supporting the Bidwell House Museum. Your generosity allows the museum to thrive, and you are helping to protect the 1750s homestead and 192 acres of open space. Take a look at the story and photos of the Colonial Thanksgiving Party on Rural Intelligence.



 Enjoy the new interpretive trail:

The Historic Berkshires: An 18th Century Trail


Take a look at the 7-31-12 Berkshire Eagle article about a 2012 intern project:

“Cracking the Code: Young History Scholar Deciphers 1759 Sermon”


To learn more about the forest management initiative
at the museum, please click here.