NPS - National Park Service

04/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2021 09:36

Shays Rebellion Website

News Release Date:
April 8, 2021


Contact: Jim Danko

Coordinator of Media Relations

Springfield Technical Community College

Office: (413) 755-4812

[email protected]

STCC Shays' Rebellion website serves as valuable resource for schools, historians

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - When teaching early U.S. history, professor John Diffley covers Shays' Rebellion, which sparked an armed uprising of farmers on the ground where Springfield Technical Community College now stands.

Diffley can walk his students outside of the classroom and onto the picturesque campus green, where rebel Massachusetts farmers gathered in 1787 to attack the U.S. government's arsenal. STCC is part of the National Historic Site, which includes historic buildings and the Springfield Armory museum overseen by the National Park Service.

But the professor also can take them back in time using a powerful modern tool: STCC's Shays' Rebellion website at The website, developed in 2006 with grant funding STCC received from the National Endowment for the Humanities, recently was upgraded and made more accessible to the public.

'The website is a great asset to have. I use it in my U.S. history classes as well as a class I do on Springfield history,' Diffley said.

In Diffley's classroom, the lesson about Shays' Rebellion often prompts questions about modern times. He said students connect the historic event to headlines in the news today. 'Some saw parallels with what happened in January at the U.S. Capitol,' Diffley said. 'People talk about high taxes, high debt, which were issues facing citizens during the time of Shays' Rebellion. They see this as something continuing and still affecting us today for better or worse.'

Visitors to the website can find a wealth of information, including painted illustrations showing the STCC campus as it appeared in 1787 when it was the site of the United States Arsenal at Springfield. The site lists biographies of historic figures and even music of the late 18th Century. Popular songs included titles such as 'Juice of Barley,' 'Address to the Ladies,' and 'Hunt the Squirrel.' Audio is embedded.

'One of the great things is that the website was a collaboration between STCC, the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association,' Diffley said. 'A lot of the material written on the website is from actual historians.'

Educators and historians from coast to coast use the website to find details about the insurrection in Western Massachusetts. Diffley said the website gives STCC a national audience. He recalled getting contacted by a teacher in the Pacific Northwest who wanted more information about Shays' Rebellion.

Led by Daniel Shays, the rebellion included farmers who were outraged when creditors demanded they pay their debts immediately. Only three years after the end of the American Revolution, thousands of Massachusetts citizens took up arms against their new state government.

STCC's School of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and the Honors Program in January 2020 co-sponsored a symposium on the history of Shays' Rebellion, an event that brought scholars, historians, archaeologists and others together for presentations about the insurrection. The website has served as a valuable tool for presenters.

Other symposium sponsors included the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, the National Park Service and the Pioneer Valley History Network (PVHN).

'The rebellion wasn't successful in the immediate aspect, but it certainly had a huge impact on the direction the country was going,' said Alexander MacKenzie, curator of collections at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site.

MacKenzie tells visitors to the museum about the Armory's role in Shays' Rebellion. He said the website helps tell a broader story about the insurrection.

'Partnerships are a very important part of what we do,' MacKenzie said. 'We engage with school groups and the local community. The website for Shays' Rebellion is a really important tool in these classroom settings.'

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site works on historic projects with partners throughout the community, including STCC.

'We are proud of our involvement in telling the story along with STCC and the PVHN, which is a resource for local history organizations in Western Massachusetts,' MacKenzie said.

Looking ahead, organizations are preparing Revolution 250, which commemorates the 250 anniversary of the events that led to the American Revolution.

'Certainly Shays' Rebellion has been classified by some as the last battle of the Revolution,' he said. 'Really, it's the formation of the country we know today. How much of that happened right here in our community is an amazing story. We really enjoy working with our partners to be able to tell that story, and it's a privilege.'

Interested in applying to STCC? Visit or call Admissions at (413) 755-3333.

About Springfield Technical Community College

STCC, the Commonwealth's only technical community college, continues the pioneering legacy of the Springfield Armory with comprehensive and technical education in manufacturing, STEM, healthcare, business, social services, and the liberal arts. STCC's highly regarded workforce, certificate, degree, and transfer programs are the most affordable in Springfield and provide unequalled opportunity for the vitality of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1967, the college - a designated Hispanic Serving Institution - seeks to close achievement gaps among students who traditionally face societal barriers. STCC supports students as they transform their lives through intellectual, cultural, and economic engagement while becoming thoughtful, committed and socially responsible graduates.