October brings many different activities — jumping in leaves, apple picking, trick-or-treating, and not to mention…pumpkin painting! Join us as we prepare for Halloween by painting pumpkins here at the mansion. While pumpkins dry, there will be opportunities to have some spooky snacks and craft other autumnal decorations.
Drop in at any point and wear your painting clothes! Cost to attend is $7 per child with advance reservation; $10 per child day-of (adults free with their child). Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 to reserve your child’s spot.
Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg will return to the mansion to give a visual presentation on “Sisi, the Tragic Empress: A Great-Great Grandson’s Perspective.” This is the story of the beautiful Empress Elisabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
“I am so fond of the Emperor! If only he were not an emperor!” Elisabeth is said to have expressed these feelings when she learned of Franz Joseph’s desire to marry her. Clearly she sensed that life as empress at the Viennese imperial court would not suit her personality.
A member of the Wittelsbach family of Bavaria, Elisabeth came from a rather informal household, entering at the age of sixteen into the restrictive formal life at court and the overly rigid supervision of Sophie, her mother-in-law. Franz Joseph on the other hand had been groomed from childhood for his future role of emperor (he came to the throne in 1848), and often showed no understanding for the needs and fears of his somewhat shy wife.
After giving birth to three children, Elisabeth within the first years of their marriage took refuge in travel. Considered one of the great beauties of the 19th century, she was extremely vain of her slender figure, observing strict diets, exercising constantly, unusual for her time, and exhausting her ladies-in-waiting with long hours spent riding or walking.
Tragedy struck in her later years when the couple’s only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, took his own life at Mayerling, some say due the lack of understanding, even from his father, of his desire to modernize the multiethnic empire’s complex political system. In 1898, Elisabeth was assassinated during a holiday in Switzerland, dying at the hands of an Italian anarchist.
Franz Joseph continued to reign until he died in 1916 in the midst of World War I.
Dr. von Habsburg began his career as Chairman, Switzerland of Christie, Manson & Woods Auctioneers, overseeing offices throughout Europe. In 1980 he became Chairman of European Operations for the company. Later, he served as Chairman, New York and Geneva, of Habsburg Fine Arts International Auctioneers. In both companies, he specialized in silver and gold, objects of vertu and Russian art. In 1994, he joined Fabergé Co. as a consultant, spokesman and lecturer worldwide.
Dr. von Habsburg is considered one of the foremost experts on Faberge, the former court jeweler to the Russian Tsars and the subject he covered in 2016 at Ventfort Hall. He has organized and curated exhibitions worldwide, including Fabergé in America, which toured five cities and attracted 400,000 visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Fluent in seven languages, the speaker has authored several books and was also an associate professor at The New York School of Interior Design, The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts and New York University. He has lectured for over ten years at the Met.
As part of a theme, the planning committee has organized a menu of desserts as offered in Viennese cafés. Committee members are Mary Frances Benko, Patrick Brennan, Karen Carhart, Thomas Hayes, Helga S. Orthofer Kaiser, Lucille Landa, Alice Nathan, Wendy Philbrick and Beverly Rainey.
Tickets for the event are $55 per person. RSVP by Monday, October 21st. Reservations are required as seating is limited. For reservations call us at 413-637-3206.
Join David Raby for a paranormal investigation of the historic and haunted Ventfort Hall. A non-fiction author and paranormal investigator, Raby has always been intrigued by history. He undauntedly 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, he 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.
The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. and conclude at midnight. Tickets for this exciting event are $35 per person; reduced rate of $20 for ages 12 – 18 and 19-23 with student ID. All of the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the preservation and restoration of Ventfort Hall. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble presents their new holiday program “Grandma Got Runned Over by a…Oh Dear!!!!” and invites the public to join the fun on Saturday, November 23rd. Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.
Sandy Klawes has invited the family to a get together with his wife Marguerite Freagan Klawes at their compound in Northpole Springs Tennessee. Of course, their Granddaughter, Sue Ellen will be there and Cousin Terry the Stable Guy. A surprise guest, cousin Elvira Jean will be there too. She hasn’t been to one of these in years. It is your typical Family get together with Road Kill Casserole and Grandpa’s “special” beverage in his mason jars hidden in the cellar. Believe it or not, someone doesn’t get along with everyone and someone ends the season celebrating permanently. Come along and help figure out who dunnit.
In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members viewing and/or participating in their programs. The ensemble appears regularly at Ventfort Hall.
Cost to attend is $42 per person including a full course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by Wednesday, Nov. 20th. Seating is limited. For information or reservations call us at 413-637-3s206.
Ventfort Hall will be closed on Thanksgiving Day so our staff and volunteers can enjoy the holiday with their family and friends.
Known to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum audiences for her many one-woman shows (remember the provocative Paris 1890?), actress Anne Undeland returns to celebrate the release of an audiobook adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women from which she will read excerpts on Saturday, November 30 at 3:30 pm.
Following the reading, Anne and Alison Larkin, founder of Alison Larkin Presents, the Berkshire-based audiobook company that is issuing Little Woman, will discuss Alcott’s early feminist roots, her links to Massachusetts and Little Women then and now. A Victorian tea will then be offered.
The new audio production gives the listener the March sisters, rough-and-tumble Jo, graceful Meg, gifted Beth and willful Amy, in one evanescent year, from Christmas to Christmas, as they move from childhood to adulthood in Civil War New England. Anne will give a colorful rendition of the four sisters.
Anne has been featured in numerous radio productions for BBC Radio, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and NPR affiliates in the US. Alison is also a writer and comedienne. Alison Larkin Presents has won seven AudioFile Earphones awards for excellence.
Tickets for the Little Women reading and succeeding tea are $28 per person for advance reservations, $32 for day of the reading. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. For reservations call usl at 413-637-3206.
The great-great-grandson of the literary legend Charles Dickens, British actor Gerald Charles Dickens, will present a one-man theatrical performance of his ancestor’s classic work A Christmas Carol at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, 2019. An elegant Victorian tea will follow.
Using his own adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale, Gerald plays 26 characters using his vocal and physical talents to bring each scene vividly to life. In 1993, he created as his first one-man show, A Christmas Carol, inspired by Charles’ own energetic readings of the 1860s in the United States and elsewhere.
Gerald’s performance of A Christmas Carol has received standing ovations the world over: “The audience was rapt, as it was in Charles’ day!” “Not a reading or a dramatization but the best of both.” “Dickens the actor gets full value from Dickens the writer.” “A Dickens of a performance.”
Gerald has worked both on and off stage, as an actor, director and producer for many years. A fascination with the life and works of his ancestor led him to write and direct other one-man shows including Mr. Dickens Is Coming!, Nicholas Nickleby and Sketches by Boz. Gerald performs regularly in major theaters and arts centers, as well as at several arts and literary festivals in the UK and has entertained cruise passengers worldwide since 2007.
Tickets for A Christmas Carol and the elegant Victorian tea are $50. Ventfort Hall will be in full Christmas Regalia!! Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206.