Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hancock Shaker Village director to give dinner talk in Williamstown on May 10

Submitted by: Williamstown Chamber of Commerce

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Ellen Spear, director of Hancock Shaker Village, is the after-dinner speaker on Wed., May 10, at the monthly meeting of the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. The dinner at Mezze Bistro & Bar begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, by reservation, at $30; $25 for chamber members. Call the chamber office at 458-9077 to make reservations.

Spear's topic is: "What do Visitor's Want? The Reformation of the Traditional Visitor Experience in a High Tech World." She is also likely to talk about the Creative Economy Project, announced April 27 by the Berkshire Economic Development Corp. Spear cochairs the project's steering committee with Laurie Norton Moffatt, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Spear says three factors are motivating change at outdoor living-history sites -- the 24/7 phenomenon, "togethering" and the need to control choice. She'll talk about how HSV is considering its response to these trends, while continuing to pursue its mission of bringing the Shaker story to life and preserving it for future generations.

For the first time this summer, Hancock Shaker Village is running a "School for Traditional Crafts and Trades." In August, its 900 acres of forests and fields will become more accessible with the opening of a Shaker Farm and Forest Trail. Open all four seasons and barrier-free, the trail will allow visitors to travel by foot, wheelchair, skis, wagon and sleigh. It was completed with part of a $215,000 federal grant. And on May 14, the village will open its latest exibit, "Handled with Care: The Function of Form in Shaker Craft." The village also recently won a $15,000 federal grant to install innovative audio guides.

"Hancock Shaker Village is a special place," she told the Berkshire Eagle in Nov., 2004, when her appointment was announced. "Its settings, buildings, collections and programs have important stories to tell about the American search for utopia and the Shaker influence on how we think about design, technology, ethics, justice and our relationship to the environment.”

Spear came to Hancock Shaker Village in February, 2005 from the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, where she was director of advancement. She has over 20 years of not-for-profit management experience working in organizations ranging from public broadcasting to museums. Earlier, she directed the U.S.S. Constitution Museum ("Old Ironsides") and the Boston Computer Museum.

She has a B.S. in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. No stranger to the Berkshires, her husband Brad, was for many years a radio voice of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as an announcer at WCRB in Waltham. The Spears would spend summers near Tanglewood. They now live in Pittsfield.

SOURCE: Bill Densmore, for the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce
413-458-8001 (


Post a Comment

<< Home