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The History Channel awards grant to museum

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE The History Channel is helping to save some of Holyoke's current history.

The "Celebrating the History of Puerto Ricans in Holyoke" project to be undertaken by the Wistariahurst Museum and the Holyoke Youth Build program is made possible thanks to a $9,788 grant from The History Channel Save Our History program. Sponsored by Lowe's, the Save Our History Grant Program is dedicated to supporting local history education and preservation projects in collaboration with local schools or youth groups.

The curator at the museum, Kate Navarra Thibodeau, said the project is a multi-faceted look at Puerto Rican immigration to the city.

She explained the Youth Build students will interview Puerto Rican residents of all ages about why they moved to Holyoke and what is their life like in the city.

Those interviews will be videotaped and the Youth Build students will then assemble a a documentary.

Other students will work on some of the programming that will take place in June 2007. Planned at this time is an exhibit of local latino art; Latino dance lessons and exhibitions; and a pot luck dinner featuring Hispanic dishes.

Thibodeau said the students will meet in mid-September to decide which part of the project they'd like to do.

In a city built on waves of Irish and French-Canadian immigration, the project will preserve Latino culture and oral histories of the current Puerto Ricans. It will contribute to a better understanding of the place Latinos have in the past, present and future of Holyoke.

Wistariahurst Museum is one of 27 organizations from across the country to receive a Save Our History grant for 2006-2007.

Wistariahurst Museum is dedicated to preserving Holyoke's history and inspiring an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, Wistariahurst is the former home of William Skinner, a prominent silk manufacturer. The Museum is open for guided tours every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12-4 pm. For more information or a schedule of other upcoming events, please visit our web site at or call 322-5660.