Support an Historic Landmark
Your gift helps preserve and protect our hallowed ground.
In the early 1930s, Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers put their strength and athleticism to work building many of the structures still used by the Pillow today. Visitors exploring the studios, archives, and theatres are sure to notice signs of the Pillow’s handcrafted beginnings. Giving to the Pillow ensures the preservation and protection of these structures. Awarded National Historic Landmark status in 2003, upkeep of the Pillow’s historic spaces, including the Ted Shawn Theatre, is paramount to honoring the Pillow experience.
“People often ask what my title, Director of Preservation, means. ‘Are you taking care of the buildings?’ And to some degree, yes, I’m involved in making sure our historic structures are maintained. But it’s also about looking at our entire entity here in a holistic way. To me, there are two major elements that create the Pillow experience. All of the dance activity, the vitality, the performances, and the classes that are happening here – there are plenty of other places that do all these things. So that alone isn’t what makes the Pillow special. By the same token, you think about the history and what has taken place here – the buildings, the legacy, and what has come before. It’s unique, and yet this alone isn’t enough. But put those two things together – the current activity and the history – and you get magic.”
Artist & Visitor Stories
“For me, the magic of Jacob’s Pillow stems from its history. Built by the founding members of the resident dance company, Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers, the festival has become one of the world’s oldest and most beloved. I’ve spent many weeks at the Pillow reconstructing the dances and training practices created here in the 1930s and it is thrilling to discover how little has changed. Nature played a significant role in Shawn’s creative process and physical training regimen. The dancers built the barns, grew their own food and often performed outdoors.”
Student of The School, Research Fellow & 2016 Festival Artist
“It’s like stepping back in time. Knowing the history & being able to see it – you feel connected to dancers from before.”
Soloist, Pacific Northwest Ballet
“The Pillow is more than nature. There’s a palpable history of the place. Nature is just a part of what it is.”
Pam Tanowitz Dance, Student of The School
“When you pull into the gravel-covered parking lot and enter the grounds, you take in the old farmhouse, the weathered barnlike theatres, and the cabins for students who are there for summer programs, some of whom sit in groups on the grass, in between classes, or go through phrases from a piece they’re learning, or just rest in the shade. If you’ve arrived for an evening performance, crowds mill about, as the light fades from the sky and the outdoor lamps come on.”
The New Yorker
From the National Park Service
National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, just over 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. As an 18th century family farm, a stop on the Underground Railroad, Ted Shawn’s artistic home, and an international center for dance creation, presentation, education, and preservation since 1933, the Pillow holds a unique place in this country’s cultural landscape.
“I have been going since 1953 when Ted Shawn was there! Jacob’s Pillow has made my life more beautiful.”
“My late mother was a student of Ted Shawn's and spoke highly of the programs she took at Jacob’s Pillow.”
“We found Jacob's Pillow in the 1980s when we followed Hubbard Street Dance to this wonderful place. And we were hooked!”
Ways to Support Our Historic Landmark
Your support allows us to maintain our rich, historic site. Thank you!