The Venerable Amherst Woman’s Club Hosts an Open House to Share Their Story

Published: 05/09/2022 16:09:00

Modified: 05/09/2022 16:05:12

AMHERST — In an effort to build membership and familiarize people with its mission, the Amherst Woman’s Club is hosting an open house Monday afternoon.

The event will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on September 12 at the club’s home at 35 Triangle Street, the 19th-century mansion built in 1864 by hatmaker Leonard M. Hills and donated to the club in 1922.

Co-chair Cathryn Lombardi said the idea for the open house grew after the club applied for and was awarded a $135,000 city grant for a project to paint and restore the building that it calls the Hills Memorial Clubhouse.

“We found in the application process for this grant that a lot of people really don’t know about the Amherst Woman’s Club and what it does,” Lombardi said.

With the event, the hope is to inform women who might be curious about the club’s mission and property, with members to lead tours for the two hours, and talk about the club’s history and his charity work. Refreshments will be provided, including afternoon tea served on the veranda, weather permitting.

Members are encouraged to bring a friend or neighbor, although everyone is welcome.

Founded on May 18, 1893, when Amy Barnes Maynard invited women living in Amherst to meet at her home on the Massachusetts Agricultural College campus, the club began meeting about a century ago in the villa-style building Italian designed by William Fenno Pratt, the same local architect who worked on The Evergreens, the neighboring house of Emily Dickinson’s brother, Austin. The building is part of the local Emily Dickinson Historic District.

The money the club raises has been used for scholarships and to support non-profit organizations. Last year, for example, a scholarship helps a high school graduate continue his education at Western New England University, while grants went to Family Outreach of Amherst, to provide shelter for women and children and intervention. in the event of a crisis; and the Boys and Girls Club of Amherst, which creates new after-school programs for students.

The club has 80 members, meeting twice a month on Monday afternoons and once a month on Thursday evenings. Many events, including those with speakers, are open to the public.

Co-chair Charlene Moran said the open house could extend the club’s reach to the Pioneer Valley. Also, by having evening meetings on the second Thursdays of September, October and November, with social hours with wine starting at 6 p.m. and speakers at 7 p.m., more people might be able to participate.

Moran notes that club members will visit, as a group, the newly renovated Emily Dickinson Museum in October.

“We encourage everyone to join us next Monday, come tell us about our club and see what our public programs are for the coming year,” Lombardi said.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]

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