Jul
9
Sat
Paranormal Investigation – A Spirited Evening
Jul 9 @ 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm

David Raby returns for another paranormal investigation of the historic and haunted Ventfort Hall.  Join him on Saturday evening, July 9 from 7 pm to midnight.

A non-fiction author and paranormal investigator, Raby has always been intrigued by history. Undaunted, he enters haunted locations that would terrify others with hopes of contacting lingering spirits to discover why they remain.

Raby is the author of four published books and countless online articles. With his passion for the paranormal field, he has accumulated over a decade of experience, founded a paranormal group and has helped many people (and spirits) that ranged between the curious and those seeking urgent advice.

His interest in the paranormal was shaped by the fact that spirits seem to be attracted to his compassion and openness. He has a knack for storytelling that fuels his intensive historical research and fact finding.

He believes that by bringing people’s stories out of the shadows and into the light of our awareness, they may find eternal rest and peace.

Before the investigation, Raby will give a brief history of the lives that once graced the hallways – and possibly still reside within. He will also share some of his favorite evidence from previous investigations and will be happy to answer any questions about paranormal investigations. This event is perfect for everyone; from someone who has never been on a paranormal investigation to the seasoned investigator.

Masks that cover both the mouth and nose are required during this event as well as proof of vaccination and ID. Non-refundable tickets for this exciting event are $38 per person with a reduced rate of $20 for ages 12 – 18 and 19-23 with student ID and are limited. Reservations are required. No walk-ins. Call us for reservations at (413) 637-3206. All of the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the preservation and restoration of Ventfort Hall.

Jul
10
Sun
CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT
Jul 10 all-day

CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT

Jul
12
Tue
Tea & Talk – Cecil Beaton, Famed British Photographer
Jul 12 @ 4:00 pm

In his lecture on Zoom, Hugo Vickers, well known as a biographer, lecturer, broadcaster and an acknowledged expert on the royal family, explains how Cecil Beaton turned himself into an extraordinary figure. Vickers will speak virtually via Zoom from England on Tuesday, July 12 at 4 pm. His presentation will be followed by a tea at Ventfort Hall.

Cecil Beaton (1904-80) was a total self-creation.  Through the art of photography he rose to become one of the great observers of the Twentieth Century, few of the most interesting people of his era escaping his lens.  His portraits of the Royal Family and of the stars of stage and screen are legendary.  He also became a designer of costumes and sets for stage, screen, opera and ballet, an artist, a wicked diarist, an arbiter of taste, and a man who moved easily in many varied worlds.  As such he captured the passing moment and portrayed the great figures of the age in both photographic and pen portraits.

Vickers has published his own diaries about researching Cecil Beaton, entitled Malice in Wonderland – a fascinating behind the scenes account of his adventures with various sources, including the Queen Mother, Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote, Stephen Tennant, Valentina Schlee, Princess Grace of Monaco and many more. He has written many biographies of 20th century figures, including Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Andrew of Greece, and the Queen Mother.  His book, The Quest for Queen Mary, sold 40,000 copies in various forms.

He is called upon to commentate on important state occasions, and at times when the Royal Family are in the news.  He has covered events from the first wedding of the Prince of Wales, the funerals of Diana, the Queen Mother and Prince Philip, and many royal weddings. The Financial Times recently described him as: ‘the most knowledgeable royal biographer on the planet.’ He lives in London and Wiltshire and has three grown-up children.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Jul
19
Tue
Tea & Talk – The Gilded Age Rises Again in Troy, NY
Jul 19 @ 4:00 pm

Kathryn Sheehan, Rensselaer County & Troy City Historian will present an illustrated lecture on how Troy’s 19th century architecture became an integral backdrop to the Julian Fellows HBO series The Gilded Age. She will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, July 19 at 4 pm. A tea will follow her presentation

Kathryn worked with the location scouts and production designer on locations throughout the city as well as providing information on how Troy appeared during the Gilded Age, who the major players were in the city at the time that represented “old” money and “new” money.  Kathryn will also share some of the behind the scenes stories that happened during the filming for season one.

A native of Troy, New York, her career at the Hart Cluett Museum, formerly the Rensselaer County Historical Society began as an intern from the public history program at SUNY Albany in 1986.  As the Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian, Kathryn has researched and lectured on a number of Rensselaer County history topics and has presented her work on local radio and television as well as the History Channel, C-Span, Russian and Japanese Network television.  She resides in the historic district in downtown Troy. When not working on history tours and lectures Kathryn can be found exploring the many cemeteries in Rensselaer County or doing photography for her new book due out in 2023: Architecture Worth Saving in Rensselaer County: Revisited.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Jul
22
Fri
Musical Comedy at Our Garden Party
Jul 22 @ 3:00 pm – 5:15 pm

The Barden Party, a Kiwi theatre troupe, will perform a raucous, rockin’ musical comedy, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our Gilded Age mansion will provide the perfect location for the performance at an outdoor garden party. Bring a picnic to enjoy. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.  Light refreshments will be served. The two hour and fifteen minute performance includes a 15 minute intermission.

The Barden Party was born in Laura Irish’s New Zealand backyard in the height of COVID restrictions. “I had just experienced being let go from another cancelled theatre show due to COVID,” the American/New Zealander says. “I was standing on my deck thinking ‘this is bigger than most stages I have performed on’.” Laura, a lifelong Shakespeare buff, had an idea – The Bard (Shakespeare’s    nickname) + a Garden Party was sure to be a good time for all and just what people needed in tough times. Thus, the Barden Party was created – a nimble show that could be performed in any space it encounters.

And what better way to do that than like travelling troubadours did hundreds of years ago! Laura and her musical director Jake Robinson, fresh from working on London’s celebrated West End, came up with the idea of fusing pop music into Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “The result was just this pocket of fun and joy that people all around the country wanted to share with their friends from the comfort of their own homes,” Laura says.

Just a few shows ballooned to more than 50 across the whole of New Zealand – playing festivals, retirement parties, selling out theatres, and bringing a little extra magic to birthday celebrations and neighborhood gatherings. “We found that people were craving connection and that is what theatre and music can bring.”

Jam-packed with a talented cast, they navigate through The Bard’s tale of magic, mischief and love by peppering the story with pop songs fused into folk ballads.

Tickets are $35; $20 for 17 and under accompanied by adult. Reservations are strongly recommend, Please bring blankets and chair and a picnic if desired. No alcoholic beverages allowed. Light refreshments will be served. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. This is an outdoor event. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

Jul
26
Tue
Tea & Talk – Forgotten Trailblazing Women of Lenox’s Gilded Age: Jennie Van DerZee Welcome, Painter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur
Jul 26 @ 4:00 pm

Local screenwriter and film historian Nannina Gilder will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, July 26 at 4 pm about Jennie Van DerZee, a forgotten trailblazing woman of Lenox’s Gilded Age. A tea will follow her presentation

Did you know one of the first African American women filmmakers was from Lenox? Went to Lenox High and Trinity Church? Jennie Van DerZee Welcome grew up on Hubbard Street with her four siblings, including Harlem Renaissance Photographer James Van DerZee, but while James was rediscovered in the 1960s and has been celebrated since, Jennie has been mostly forgotten.

Gilder will tell Jennie’s story, from a childhood in Lenox full of art and music, to her pursuit of higher education in painting, and her family’s journey down to Harlem in 1910, where she and her husband, Ernest Touissant Welcome, made “Doing Their Bit,” a multi-part documentary about African American soldiers in WWI. Under the name Madame Touissant Welcome, Jennie had vibrant career as a painter, photographer, and headmistress of an art and music conservatory. At the same time she and her husband were pioneers in New York real estate, helping African Americans own homes, and making inroads into neighborhoods that had been predominantly white. Jennie was a true trailblazer in every sense and deserves to take her place in art and film history.

Gilder is a screenwriter and film historian. In 2020 she gave a four part seminar, Invisible: Female Filmmakers before 1960, and Silhouette Animation: The Genius of Lotte Reiniger, a lecture on the pioneering animator, both at Ventfort Hall. The short film she wrote, Sproutland, premiered at the Florida Film Festival in 2021 and has won over a dozen awards. Her play The Curious Abduction of Mona Lisa was performed at Ventfort Hall in 2013.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
2
Tue
Tea & Talk – Architects of an American Landscape: The Interwoven Careers of H.H. Richardson and F.L.Olmsted
Aug 2 @ 4:00 pm

Hugh Howard, a historian who has written more than a dozen books about American architecture, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 2 at 4 pm. A tea will follow his presentation.

Interweaving the late nineteenth century careers of Frederick Law Olmsted and Henry Hobson Richardson, Hugh Howard’s new book has been lauded as a “readable, intelligently paced, dual biography” by the Wall Street Journal.

Howard shows in Architects of an American Landscape how such different personalities as Richardson and Olmsted became close friends and collaborators. In conversation with local historian Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Howard will discuss Olmstedian landscapes and Richardson’s contribution to the built environment. Their talk will be accompanied by images of notable Richardson and Olmsted designs.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
7
Sun
Closing at 2pm for Private Event
Aug 7 @ 2:00 pm
Aug
9
Tue
Tea & Talk – Railroads and Railroading in the Berkshires
Aug 9 @ 4:00 pm

Pieter Lips, a conductor and locomotive engineer, and past vice president for the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 9, at 4 pm. A tea will follow his presentation.

Pieter will present a short history of railroad development in the United Kingdom and the USA and discuss the need for improved transportation for the shipping of Berkshire products. He will talk about why the railroads built their lines where they did along with a chronology of Berkshire railroads from the 1830’s to present, including: Hudson and Berkshire, Stockbridge and Pittsfield, New York and Harlem, Troy and Boston. Some anecdotes about “the Cottagers” use of the railroad and accommodations made for them by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad with information about the Lenox and Stockbridge Stations will also be included.

Pieter has been owner and President of WordWorks Advertising in Pittsfield, MA for more than 20 years and an adjunct professor of graphic design for three years at Berkshire Community College as well as past vice president of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, in Lenox, Mass. He is currently qualified as conductor and locomotive engineer for the museum.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
16
Tue
Tea & Talk – The Gilded Age in Fact and Fiction
Aug 16 @ 4:00 pm

Carol Wallace, writer of 23 books, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 16 at 4 pm. A tea will follow her presentation.

Carol’s talk will investigate the enduring fictional appeal of the Gilded Age for contemporary readers and writers. Julian Fellowes claims her book To Marry an English Lord as the inspiration for Downton Abbey.

Wallace grew up in a Victorian house in Connecticut and spent many hours of her childhood in the public library next door (built in 1887). Her father was a sports writer for the New York Times and her mother ran a book store. After graduating from Princeton she spent several years working for a publishing company and was one of the co-authors of The Official Preppy Handbook. Among her other books are two novels of romantic suspense, several baby name books, and To Marry an English Lord. Her 23rd title is Our Kind of People.

The New York Times Book Review from its “Summer Reading” roundup on Our Kind of People said: “The fixtures of New York social life in the late 19th century are under siege in Carol Wallace’s charming historical romance…Perfect for appetites that have been whetted by HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” it follows the fortunes of Helen and Joshua Wilcox, whose love match (she’s from an old family; his barely qualifies as “trade”) still attaches a whiff of scandal to their teenage daughters, Jemima and Alice, when debutante season arrives.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.