Stockbridge began its life, as a community with that name, as a Mohican town. In 1730, people of the Mohican nation and offered an exchange of land in the southern Berkshires for a township within the Commonwealth. Their descendants live in Wisconsin now as the Stockbridge-Munsee Nation, and they return often.

The house where John Sargent lived as the first missionary in the new town is a museum now on the Main Street, not far from the 1773 Red Lion Inn. Within a few years the town would be home to Revolutionary War veteran Agrippa Hull and Elizabeth Freeman, the woman who won her freedom and proved slavery illegal in the new state of Massachusetts — and to the 18th-century novelist Catherine Sedgwick

In the 19th century, Daniel Chester French turned an old farm into his studio as he created the Lincoln Memorial. Chesterwood is a museum now with his house and studio, gardens and trails, and an annual contemporary sculpture Show.

And in the 20th century, as the Berkshire Theatre Group founded its campus here, Norman Rockwell took up his easel, painting the changing faces of America through World War II and into the 1960s. His studio is also at the center of a museum here, with shows of contemporary illustrators alongside his work, and a pathway through apple trees to the river.

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Norman Rockwell Museum

In his hometown, the Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates Rockwell’s work and his tradition. Year-round exhibits honor illustration as an artform and celebrate contemporary artists, integrity and freedom.

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Berkshire Theatre Group

With classics like Fiorello and contemporary work, Berkshire Theatre Group merges two historic theaters — the one of the county’s oldest continuously running performance companies, the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, built in 1903 and re-opened in 2006.

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Chesterwood

In a studio with tall windows letting in the north light, Daniel Chester French created the figure of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Today contemporary sculpture lines the paths and gardens in the summer and fall.

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Naumkeag

The gardens of the Choate family’s Gilded Age ‘cottage’ have a name around the world for their Blue Stairs, where a water channel runs down between white birches in an Islamic design. The gardens touch many parts of the world, from the Forbidden City to Venice. And all through the terraces, the walks and beds follow the line of the Berkshire hills.

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