Arts & Culture

Behind the Tour: The Mission House

Nestled on Main Street near downtown Stockbridge rests a historic house eager to share its connection with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.

Trustees Interpreter Cory Hines stands in front of The Mission House before a tour.

Visiting the Berkshires in the summer means plenty of outdoor activities, delicious farm-to-table food, and intriguing art installations. But there’s a lot more hidden in these rolling hills to entice visitors looking for a change of pace, including The Mission House.

“The critical stories this place preserves thanks to the relationship we have with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community are what make it so unique,” said Brian Cruey, Trustees Regional VP, Western Hills and Berkshires. “It’s definitely worth a stop for anyone traveling through Stockbridge.”

Whether you visit for a few minutes or a few hours, the garden of native plantings, traditional medicine cabinet, and separate exhibit—all assembled by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community—perfectly complement this National Historic Landmark. However, one of the best ways to experience the vital stories The Mission House protects is by taking a Guided House Tour with Trustees Interpreter Cory Hines.

Meet Cory Hines

Trustees Interpreter Cory Hines gives a tour of The Mission House.

Cory Hines spent her 30-year career working in human resources as a facilitator, trainer, and coach in Chicago. When she relocated to the Berkshires in the early 1990s, she started to explore the area’s history and was startled to come across very few mentions of the Mohican people. In fact, there was little pre-Gilded Age history available at all during this time, so she started reading and researching it herself.

“It’s especially generous that the Mohican people have supported me the way that they have,” said Hines who specifically mentioned the assistance of Bonney Hartley, an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation. “It’s a true privilege to represent all these stories today.”

Hines now weaves these indigenous perspectives into the narrative of her Guided House Tours of The Mission House, focusing on how two different cultures came together under one roof. On a 45-minute tour, you’ll not only hear the history from Rev. John Sergeant’s viewpoint (who built the house) but also from the Mohican people who preceded him.

“Every year I think really long and hard about what stories need to be told right now,” said Hines. “I want to go that extra dimension and share the individual people that break the historical stereotypes.

Dive Deeper into Indigenous History

If you can’t make one of the Guided House Tours, you can still experience that extra dimension by exploring Our Lands, Our Home, Our Heart. Curated by the Stockbridge­–Munsee Community’s Cultural Affairs Department, the indoor exhibit, garden, and traditional medicine cabinet are part of a historic collaboration between The Trustees and the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation.

“The fact that we have this relationship with the Mohican people, it really makes this place living history,” said Hines.

The Carriage House where the exhibit is housed once held objects belonging to the Mohican people, many of which have been repatriated back to the Tribe after nearly a century of separation. The space is now a connection point seeking to link those living on Mohican homelands with the Tribe’s local history, ongoing governance, protocols, and priorities for establishing respectful relationships.

“People right now are looking for this knowledge,” said Hines. “And The Mission House is a natural place of learning where people like to linger and connect with others.”

Discover that knowledge for yourself by visiting The Mission House this summer! Advance registration is required for Guided House Tours which take place only on select Fridays and Saturdays through August.

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