FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2021
The LAVA Center Receives MA Humanities Grant for Local History Project
The LAVA Center has received a digital capacity grant from the Massachusetts Council for the Humanities to develop a local history project and to create a new website to feature the research and stories of Greenfield residents.
ECHO Greenfield — Exploring and Creating Histories Ourselves — will engage Greenfield residents of all ages in learning how to research local history, and how to creatively record their own stories. Initially the website, https://echogreenfield.org, will offer guiding questions and prompts about the history that surrounds us and the histories that have been lost or hidden, and provide links to resources and methods for finding out more about these stories.
Are you curious to know who your street is named after? Do you wonder what happened to the people who lived in the area before the town was founded or in its early days? Does your family have an interesting story to tell about how you came to live in Greenfield? Would you like to learn more about how to research your questions and creatively present your results? On Wednesday, May 12, 5 p.m., the project team will present a panel discussion at The LAVA Center, 324 Main St., for anyone interested in becoming involved with the project, as a guide, a coach, or a potential contributor to the research.
Over the summer and early fall, trained guides and coaches will reach out to groups and individuals to encourage them to participate in the project by framing their own research questions and expressing their learning in critical and creative ways. The training sessions will be posted on the website and be available to anyone who is interested in viewing them.
Ultimately, the website will be the repository of the digitized record of the essays, stories, poems, artwork, photography, short videos and other ways participants will express what they have learned and want to share. It will stand in particular to celebrate the histories of those who are often overlooked and of those who do not typically realize their own important role in creating history by documenting their own and their families’ experiences.
The program will launch with a gallery display of historical postcards of Greenfield, accompanied by creative writing prompts, and by the creation of a paper quilt. The gallery display will grow to encompass a timeline where participants can note when they or their families first lived in this area, contextualized by events in history, from the first humans to be in Greenfield to the most recent immigrants and new Americans.
Poet and photographer Lindy Whiton is Project Director. She co-founded The Literacy Project of Western Massachusetts, and has conducted a number of oral history projects in the area. She is assisted by Doug Selwyn and Jan Maher, retired educators and co-authors of History in the Present Tense: Engaging Students through Inquiry and Action. Vanessa Query completes the project team as the website designer and user experience architect.
For more information about how to become involved in ECHO Greenfield, contact
This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.