Townspeople’s celebrations of occasions ranging from Williams College commencements to the local Grange’s awarding of prizes for well-grown vegetables are the focus of an exhibit that opens Saturday, May 17, at the Williamstown Historical Museum.

The free exhibit will be on display in the museum’s quarters at the Milne Public Library until November. It will open with a reception at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, followed by a lecture at 11 a.m. by its curator, Dustin Griffin. A Williamstown resident, Griffin taught English literature for many years at Berkeley and New York University prior to his retirement. He is a 1965 graduate of Williams.

Titled "Big Days in a Small Town," the exhibit reviews the changing ways in which townwide holidays have been celebrated. The exhibit features photographs, posters, tickets, and ribbons associated with a wide variety of public occasions over many years.

Among the items on display are the programs for Williams commencements in 1797 and 1813 and newspaper clips concerning the town’s celebration of its bicentennial in 1953. The largest artifact is a trophy awarded at the horse shows at the annual Grange Fair.

One of the display shelves has been kept open for items that visitors may wish to loan to the exhibit, said Griffin.