COLLECTIONTwo years before opening its doors, Deerfield Academy began amassing a museum collection of objects with historic significance and scientific value. The Academy Collection was transferred to Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association when PVMA purchased the Deerfield Academy building to converted it into Memorial Hall Museum. Arosen's gifts (left) are among the most prominent items from the Academy Collection.
MEMORIAL ASSOCIATIONAfter a chance meeting with a few friends on a corner in Greenfield, antiquarian George Sheldon led the founding of one of America’s first historical societies, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. PVMA’s founders placed monuments, wrote and presented research on the region’s history, and planned to build an historical library in Deerfield. Meanwhile, George Sheldon collected anything and everything old.
Memorial Hall Museum founder George Sheldon, painted in 1905 by Augustus Vincent Tack.
MEMORIAL HALLPVMA abandoned plans to build a library when Deerfield Academy moved into a new facility. PVMA purchased the 1798 building and spent three years converting it to a “museum of relics.” The collection that Deerfield Academy amassed since 1797 was transferred to PVMA.
MEMORIAL HALL MUSEUMMemorial Hall Museum opened and showcased the objects collected by Sheldon. Many of which are commonplace items. Though some, like the Sheldon House door, are extremely historically significant.
Memorial Hall’s “ancient kitchen” is the oldest period room in America, dating to the museum’s opening in 1880.
FIREPROOFThe three story “fireproof” east wing was added to Memorial Hall. It housed two large galleries and PVMA’s library.
This postcard shows Memorial Hall with the 1916 addition on the right.
THE SHELDONSJennie Marie Arms Sheldon became the museum’s curator in 1916 when her husband, George Sheldon, died at age 98. She passed away in 1938, ending 48 years of Sheldon-family oversight of Memorial Hall Museum.
Jeanne Marie Arms Sheldon, seen here in 1884, was an accomplished botanist and biologist before becoming Memorial hall’s curator.
1942 - 1946
1942 - 1946
SHARED SACRIFICEMemorial Hall Museum closed during World War II and its immediate aftermath.
Rationing became a way of life during WWII. Memorial Hall Museum closed to conserve energy.
SUPPORT STRUCTUREUnder the leadership of Council President Henry Flynt, Memorial Hall was temporarily closed and emptied of all objects while the building received much-needed structural support.
Henry Flynt was the President of PVMA’s Council and Chairman of Deerfield Academy’s Board of Directors. With his wife, Helen, he founded The Heritage Foundation (today’s Historic Deerfield).
MEMORIAL LIBRARIESWorking together, PVMA and Historic Deerfield constructed and opened the Memorial Libraries in a brand new building attached to Memorial Hall.
The opening of the Memorial Libraries in 1970 celebrated PVMA’s 100th anniversary.
PROFESSIONALISMMemorial Hall Museum, which had been an all-volunteer effort, hired its first professional staff member – Curator Tim Neumann.
Tim Neumann went on to be PVMA’s Executive Director, a role he still holds today!
AMERICAN CENTURIESMemorial Hall’s collection was featured prominently in PVMA’s new website, American Centuries. A large portion of the collection was digitized and interpreted for this award-winning educational website.
American Centuries remains the number one way that people experience Memorial Hall’s collection.
ANNIVERSARY OF 1704Memorial Hall Museum and its collection played a leading role in the collaborative effort to recognize the 300th anniversary of the 1704 raid on Deerfield.
A spirit of peace and collaboration marked the 300th anniversary of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield.