Promoting ‘good and kindly feelings’ is the bedrock of Dewey Memorial Hall in Sheffield, a nonprofit that’s been mission-driven to strengthen the health of the community by convening and connecting Berkshire County neighbors since its founding as the Sheffield Friendly Union in the 1850’s. In keeping with tradition, Dewey Hall continues its commitment to fostering a vibrant, inclusive, and creative community by providing a diverse range of arts and humanities programming, cultural and educational events, and community gatherings. The goal remains to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in connection with each other in the heart of the very community Dewey Hall serves.
Built in 1886, the fieldstone, marble and shingle structure was given as a meeting place to the Sheffield Friendly Union Library Association, whose purpose was to connect community members through social entertainment and cultural activities. In 1887, the historic hall was dedicated in memory of Orville Dewey, the Unitarian minister and Williams College graduate who called Sheffield home.
The Hall’s many amenities — from its beautiful pine-wood floors and soaring, vaulted ceiling to its updated kitchen and raised performance stage — facilitate its playing host to nearly 100 public events each year. Whether recreating old-fashioned community gatherings with a modern twist (Sourdough Bread Baking Contest); hosting free family-friendly events that explore the expressive arts in an engaging and light-hearted way (Young at Heart series); or staging ongoing, thematic programming (Dewey Drop-In events), there’s something for virtually everyone at Dewey Hall, live and in-person throughout the year.
Affordable rental rates make the space accessible to members of the many communities Dewey Hall aims to serve — from musicians and dancers keen on rehearsal space; nonprofits in need of a venue for holding events and recording videos; to local residents hosting seasonal fêtes and family gatherings .