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The Westfield Academy was only the seventh such school to be established in Massachusetts. Its charter was applied for in 1793 and it opened its doors in 1800 and was open to both young men and women. It was a significantly large institution, with 187 students in 1800. At the end of each term an exhibition was held to showcase student accomplishments and draw in members of the community. Exhibitions were usually a mix of moral stories, didactic tales, musical performances, and exercises in elocution. Here, the performance contains an item from William Shakespeare's Othello, a discussion of the Roman philosopher Cicero, among other items. The Westfield Academy flourished in the years before the Civil War but declined during the war and closed in 1866. Westfield's high school was then established in the old building.