Cultural History

The Trustees recognize with utmost respect the indigenous communities that thrived at each property prior to European contact.  We are only beginning to understand tribal relationships to the land and its natural resources.  As we deepen our relationship with Massachusetts tribal communities we seek to highlight and share their power of place.  Conversations are most advanced at Mission House (Stockbridge) and Fruitlands Museum (Harvard) but many of our properties have rich indigenous stories to share and occupational evidence found in the archaeological layers of time.

Fruitlands Museum, Harvard

Mission House, Stockbridge

We are fortunate to manage several sites that tell the trials and fortunes of its Black American residents.  Perhaps most prominent is the story of Elizabeth Freeman at Ashely House.  Many of our early properties have unfortunate enslaved American stories to tell, including Old Manse and Appleton Farms. Tantiusques is the site of a free black American mining manager who married a Nipmuc woman – a rich history of life and industrial mining in Southborough.

Elizabeth Freeman

The Old Manse, Concord

Land of Providence

Waves of immigrants have crossed Massachusetts throughout the years. Evidence of their history is everywhere and we celebrate the past and present through sites like Land of Providence.