Berkshire Museum's 'MoMUs' to Be Rolled Out Countywide

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Lee Bank Foundation has awarded the Berkshire Museum with a grant of $13,500 in support of the museum's Mobile Museum Unit (MoMU) program. 
The investment will fund community testing, roll-out to community sites, and quarterly refreshes and location changes. The bank's support of the MoMU program comes in addition to funding from the Feigenbaum Foundation, which underwrote the construction of the thirty inaugural MoMUs that will roll out to the Berkshire Museum's galleries and locations throughout the Berkshires by 2022.
"MoMUs demonstrate our commitment to serve the region by bringing objects and stories outside our walls to make our collections more relevant and accessible – something we have been doing through school and community enrichment for more than ninety years," said Craig Langlois, interim co-executive director, chief experience officer, and architect of the MoMU program. "The innovative design of these units allows our museum team and programming partners to truly let their creativity and imagination shine while honoring the museum's legacy as a leader in community engagement."
Mobile Museum Units, or MoMUs, are portable, self-contained units can be displayed inside the museum or delivered to unexpected locations throughout the region to invite community members of all ages to explore new ideas and engage with objects from the museum's collection as part of their daily lives. 
Each unit tells a single, interdisciplinary story through colorful, informative graphics on the exterior of the case and a selection of art, science, and history objects within.
The first MoMUs were delivered and equipped by the Berkshire Museum earlier this year and new MoMUs are continually being outfitted and rolled out. Several MoMUs are currently on view in the museum's galleries:
  • Mammals: Nails or Claws, featuring contrasting mammalian skeletons and facts about animal adaptations.
  • Through a New Lens, exploring the science and cultural history of lenses with a collection of historical objects containing lenses and an opportunity to experience the effect of different lens shapes.
  • Mabel Choate: Collector, showcasing a selection of colorful, antique objects collected by Mabel Choate during her travels around the world.
  • Pollinators, inviting viewers to consider the importance of pollinating insects while viewing a honeycomb and collection of insect specimens.
  • Elephants, filled with Louis Paul Jonas' elephant models from Animals of the World in Miniature and fun elephant facts.
This fall, the Berkshire Museum's education team is collaborating with local educators to develop special MoMUs for their schools and classrooms. Each school-based mobile exhibition will be tailored to fit a class's curriculum, goals, and needs while meeting relevant learning standards the same way the museum adapts its popular educator-led gallery programs for visiting students. 
MoMUs that explore life under the sea will be the first to roll out at Allendale Elementary School in Pittsfield and in the Early Childhood Education classroom at Pittsfield's Taconic High School. Soon, units illustrating the story of the region's Mohican Indigenous people will begin to travel to Pittsfield's many elementary schools. 
Educators interested in partnering with the museum to create their own MoMU are encouraged to contact Liz Anglin, Education Manager, at
The grant awarded this month by the Lee Bank Foundation will help to fund creation, delivery, and continued updates to Mobile Museum Units at community locations. The first community-based MoMU will be delivered to the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Oct. 25.

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Pittsfield Picks Veteran Employees as ARPA Fund Managers

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two familiar faces will be serving as the city's special projects managers for the $41 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer and former Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong will share the one full-time position as co-managers.

Mayor Linda Tyer on Monday informed the City Council by email that Ruffer would be resigning from her current post in early to mid-February to take on this new role.

Rather than a resignation, Ruffer sees this as a transition. Armstrong resigned from her position in September, citing a need for more balance in her life and to spend more time with her family.

In the fall, the special projects manager position was created to oversee the city's allocation of ARPA funding. It will likely only be in place over the next five years, until the spending deadline in 2026, and will be paid in full through the ARPA funds.

"I am very excited to transition from the city's Community Development Director Position to co-special project manager for the City's American Rescue Plan program. This opportunity coincides with a personal desire to adjust my work-life balance to allow me to spend more time with family and pursuing personal interests," Ruffer wrote to iBerkshires in an email.

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