A National Historic Landmark, this Colonial-era house and museum and garden tells the story of the Stockbridge Mohicans and missionary John Sergeant.
The newest Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican exhibit, Our Lands, Our Home, Our Heart is now on view through November 2023!
Narratives weave together across time and cultures at the Mission House. Built by missionary John Sergeant, the house watched over Stockbridge for nearly 200 years before it was moved to its current site for preservation.
For many, many years the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican tribe moved across the land, leaving settlements in rich river valleys as others moved on. Reaching the eastern edge of the country, the Mohicans settled in the valley of a river where the waters, like those in their original homeland, were never still. They named the river the Mahicannituck and themselves the Muh-he-conneok, the People of the Waters That are Never Still. The name evolved through several spellings including Mahikan. Today, however, they are known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.
John Sergeant arrived in 1734 as a missionary to assimilate the Mohican people. He learned their language so he could speak and preach to them without an interpreter. He built the Mission House around 1742 for his family and continued to defend the Mohican’s interests against white colonists until his death in 1749. Over the following decades, however, the Indigenous residents were dispossessed of their lands and voice in town government. Nearly all left Stockbridge by 1783 and began a long period of forced migration. Meanwhile, the Sergeant family continued living in the Mission House through the 19th century.
Mabel Choate purchased the building in the 1920s, when it was falling into disrepair across the street from her summer home, Naumkeag. Choate moved the house, filled it with her collection of colonial American furnishings, and added gardens and a museum of Mohican objects. In 2021, the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Community opened an exhibit (open seasonally) in the former “Indian Museum,” offering an Indigenous perspective on this history.
Step through the tidewater cypress fence into the Colonial-Revival garden designed by noted landscape architect Fletcher Steele between 1928 and 1933.
Visit Our Lands, Our Home, Our Heart / Nda’keenã , Weekeyaak , Nda’anã, an exhibit curated by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community’s Cultural Affairs Department, to learn about the Indigenous history of the area and how to build respectful relationships with the Tribe. On view through November, 2023!
Extend your explorations of Stockbridge’s hidden history by following the Footprints of our Ancestors walking tour of Main Street, which was also created by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community (digital and paper copies available at the Mission House.) Naumkeag, home to Mabel Choate, is located less than half a mile away if you’d like to extend your visit and learn more.
The historic Mission House is closed for the season. Gardens open daily, sunrise to sunset. Free for all.
The in-person speaker series accompanying the Our Lands, Our Home, Our Heart exhibit will take place on:
19 Main Street
Stockbridge, MA 01262
From Points East: Mass Turnpike (I-90), Exit 10 to Rt. 20 East. Take 1st right onto Rt. 102 West/Pleasant St. Follow for approx. 5 mi. Pleasant St. becomes Main St. The Mission House is on the right at corner of Main St. and Sergeant St.
From Points West: I-90 East to Exit B3, NY Rt. 22 South. Follow Rt. 22 to MA Rt. 102 East. Go approx. 7.5 mi. to Main St. The Mission House is at corner of Main and Sergeant. Limited roadside parking.
From the Colonial Era to the Modern Movement, our historic homes represent architecture, design, and history that spans more than 300 years.
In Massachusetts, people and the land are of each other, inextricably woven together to form the tapestry of our long history together.
The Mission House was built c.1742 by Rev. John Sergeant, who had established a mission for Mohican people in the southern Berkshires. Originally located on Prospect Hill, this National Historic Landmark was carefully disassembled, moved, and restored by Mabel Choate at its present location on Main Street between 1926 and 1930.
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