The grand-sounding name of Pittsfield’s  public library doesn’t quite seem to fit its blocky, concrete appearance. Inside the Berkshire Athenaeum (1 Wendell Ave., 413/499-9480, www.berkshire.net/PittsfieldLibrary , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon. and Fri., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat. Sept.–June; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon., Wed., and Fri., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues. and Thurs., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat. July–Aug., free), however, the Herman Melville Memorial Room is one of the region’s hidden gems—a room with hundreds of artifacts from the life and travels of the author of Moby-Dick.
The wealth of riches inside includes a case of family photos and daguerreotypes, ceremonial paddles Melville brought back from the South Seas, the desk where he wrote Billy Budd Sailor, and the holy of holies—a case full of quill pens and other items that were on his desk when he died.