PITTSFIELD, MA, August 10, 2016 – For the fourth consecutive year, Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank®, is sponsoring Hancock Shaker Village’s “Be Our Guest” program, a cultural access program that provides children ages 12 and under with free admission with a paid adult throughout its 2016 season. The museum is open daily through October and for an abbreviated schedule in November and December.
Through support from the Bank’s charitable Foundation, the “Be Our Guest” program offers youth the opportunity to immerse themselves in an expansive, authentic, historic site and actively engage in the practices, culture, and values of the Shaker community. Kids learn about issues that are relevant in today’s world, including gender equality and sustainable energy; these are among a whole host of Shakers practices that put them way ahead of their time. The program is designed to offset any potential economic obstacles to make this enriching experience available to all children and families in Berkshire County and beyond. Over 13,500 children visit Hancock Shaker Village each year.
“We are so pleased to continue offering this program making it a little easier for families to enjoy the abundant cultural resource of Hancock Shaker Village,” said Lori Gazzillo, Director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. “Our Foundation is committed to enhancing educational opportunities for young people in the communities that we serve, and this program fits well within that priority. We applaud Hancock Shaker Village for the cultural enrichment that they provide to the community and for being among a select few museums that provide opportunities for children at little or no cost.”
Berkshire Bank supports education, community and economic development projects, as well as youth, cultural and human service organizations that provide vital services to the community. In addition to financial support, XTEAM®, Berkshire’s nationally acclaimed Employee Volunteer Program, provides employees with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours; another way the Bank gives back to the community. Bank employees recently completed their Xtraordinary Day of Service on June 7, in which 95% of the company’s employees donated over 4,500 hours of service to benefit 54 organizations across the Bank’s service area. Members of the XTEAM will volunteer at Hancock Shaker Village on September 14 for an afternoon of fence painting, garden weeding and more.
About Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Shaker Village, a three-star Michelin destination located at the intersection of Route 20 and 41 in Pittsfield, offers visitors an intact historic Shaker site with 20 buildings, 22,000 artifacts, 750 acres of scenic beauty, interpreted nature trails, unencumbered mountain views, a working farm with heritage breed live animals and lush gardens that produce Farm Shares for the area residents who subscribe and participate. Visitors learn about the Shaker community via an orientation film, audio tours, personal interaction with museum educators, changing exhibitions, 35 historic period rooms, daily vocal concerts of original Shaker music, a newly renovated and expanded Discovery Barn for children’s activities, and a variety of other hands-on activities and demonstrations, including Shaker trade and crafts.
The Shaker community at Hancock began in 1790. At its peak, some 300 Shakers lived, worked and worshiped within the Village. In 1960 it became a museum preserving the rich Shaker legacy. Today, Hancock Shaker Village is the most comprehensively interpreted Shaker site in America. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, designated a National Historic Landmark and named an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures. Hancock Shaker Village has a modern visitor center with function space, classrooms, galleries, a chef-managed restaurant and store.
Hancock Shaker Village is open seven days a week through October 30 and for abbreviated hours in November and December. Hours in summer and fall are 10 am to 5 pm. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free, courtesy of Berkshire Bank. Adult admission is $20, with discounts for AAA members, military, and seniors. Your admission for ages 13 to 17 is $8. For more information, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org.
About Berkshire Bank Foundation
Through foundation grants to nonprofits, scholarships to students, environmental programs, and employee volunteerism, Berkshire Bank is making a difference. Each year the Foundation donates over $1.8 million to nonprofits in the Bank’s footprint and employees provide over 40,000 hours of volunteer service. In 2015, Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts’ Most Charitable Companies by the Boston Business Journal. This year, Berkshire Bank and NESN teamed up to raise $38,000 for Habitat for Humanity by donating funds to the Hockey 4 Housing campaign each time the Boston Bruins achieved a penalty kill. To learn more about Berkshire Bank Foundation, visit www.berkshirebank.com/community
About Berkshire Bank
Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank®. The Company, recognized for its entrepreneurial approach and distinctive culture, has $8 billion in assets and 93 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. The company has a pending agreement to acquire First Choice Bank, a $1.1 billion bank with eight branches in Princeton, New Jersey area and a national mortgage originations subsidiary. Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts Most Charitable Companies in 2016 by the Boston Business Journal. To learn more, visit www.berkshirebank.com, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of NESN’s Boston Bruins coverage.