Below is our program schedule for 2018.
In 1820, Phebe Orvis began a journal that she faithfully kept for a decade. Richly detailed, her diary not only captures details of everyday life of an ordinary woman living in 19th century Vermont and upstate New York, but it also sheds light on her ambition for education and the interweavings of her life and the changing social and economic environment in which she lived. Susan Ouellette, Professor of History and American Studies at St. Michael’s College and author of An Extraordinary Ordinary Woman will illuminate Phebe’s diary in this lecture program. Books will be available for purchase.
Branch to Spoon Carving Workshop in collaboration with Shelburne Craft School
Saturday, June 2, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Join instructor Robert Palmer for a day of spoon carving at Rokeby Museum using hand tools and traditional Swedish methods. Search for a branch with just the right bend to create the spoon you want to make. Then split the branch in half, draw the desired shape, and coax the spoon from the wood one slice at a time. You will learn to safely and effectively use a variety of tools such as carving knives, crooked knives, gouges, coping saws, and hatchets. Carving a spoon from a branch is a meditation on form and function, and you will leave with a beautiful object that you will cherish for years to come. Register at Shelburne Craft School. Cost: $100 plus $75 Hand tool cost (you will keep the hand tools).
By 1830 hundreds of acres had been cleared on the Rokeby farm to make grazing land for Merino sheep. Now, almost 200 years later, nature has reclaimed much of this, but the subtle signs of human use still remain. Join us for a walk through the trails and fields led by master naturalist Jacob Holzberg-Pill who will provide us insights into the transition of the land, the many different types of trees and plants that have arisen, and point out the often hidden “footprints” of man. With degrees from Yale and Harvard, Jacob teaches ecology and land stewardship in a variety of settings with students and adults. Participants should dress for the outdoors. Sturdy or waterproof boots and insect repellent are recommended.
The U.S. represents just 4% of the world’s population, yet locks up nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners. Nationwide, Black and Latinx communities are over-represented in the system. Vermont’s incarceration rate has followed national trends and incarcerates African American men at a higher rate than any other state. ACLU Vermont is part of the Campaign for Smart Justice — a national initiative that seeks to cut the number of people in prison by half though innovative and necessary reforms. Learn about a variety of solutions to this problem. The presentation includes a screening of three short films that premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, telling the first-hand stories of three people who have been incarcerated: Lavette Mayes, Jason Hernandez and Johnny Perez.
The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Alyssa Bennett will be at Rokeby Museum this Wednesday warming you to the idea of just how wonderful bats are. She’ll start the evening with a presentation about bats, and then move into training those interested in how to accurately count bats to aid in conservation efforts. When dusk arrives, we’ll head outside to put training into practice as bats emerge from their Rokeby Museum bat houses. Rain date is Thursday, June 28, 7:30 p.m. Special thanks to Amy Dohner of the Ferrisburgh Conservation Committee for her work supporting this event. Free
This is your unique opportunity to experience history. Join us to read aloud Frederick Douglass’s most famous speech, originally delivered on July 5, 1852. Declining to speak on the 4th of July, Douglass instead castigated the United States for decades of slavery and injustice. Come and add your voice to this statewide public reading sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council. Free.
The Fabric of Emancipation: The Lens of American History through Contemporary Fiber Arts
Sunday, July 15, 3:00 pm
The Fabric of Emancipation, curated by Harlem Needle Arts, features the work of eight of the country’s preeminent fiber, textile and needle artists expressing what it means to be of African descent in the Americas. Exhibit is open July 15th through October 28th, 2018.
To open Rokeby’s 2018 special exhibit The Fabric of Emancipation, Harlem Needle Arts director and exhibit curator Michelle Bishop will speak about the influence of textile art as resistance for social change. The Fabric of Emancipation features pieces by eight of the country’s preeminent fiber, textile and needle artists. The works share and are defined by some element of thread construction, but are diverse in presentation, including quilting, embroidery, mixed media, costume, and fiber fusion. Each work speaks to the artist’s view of the African Diaspora and his or her own personal historical interpretation.
Willow, ash and oak are the common Eastern U.S. materials for making traditional baskets, and in each case there is a considerable amount of work in preparing the materials for weaving. But there are ways to use these and other wild materials in their fresh, raw state. Join Catherine Brooks to forage materials in the Rokeby woods and weave them into a simple melon basket that you’ll take home the same day. After this, you’ll be able to make more baskets on your own. Participants will need to bring simple household tools and wear protective clothing. For more information and to register, email email@example.com. Cost: $60/person.
Bring the kids or your friends to Rokeby for music, lawn games — and pie! This great tradition features homemade pies of every type, served plain or with scrumptious Vermont ice-cream, in the Museum’s shady back yard. Abby’s Agenda, an electric bass, drums, and vocal trio will perform familiar — and not so familiar — jazz standards. Proceeds support the Museum’s work, so have a second piece!
Myths, misinterpretations, and distortions of the history of slavery are often a mixture of fact, folklore, and speculation. In spite of a surge in research and documentation of the real Underground Railroad, these myths and legends persist. Kate Clifford Larson, an historian and leading Harriet Tubman scholar will speak about the root of the Quilt Code myth, its counterfactual elements, its curious proliferation during the late 20th century, and its place among the pantheon of Underground Railroad mythology. What purpose does the Quilt Code serve? Real escape stories will be shared to demonstrate the readily available sources that reveal the real people, places, and methods of the Underground Railroad — true histories worth honoring and celebrating.
The landscape history of Mt. Philo, Vermont’s first state park, is the landscape history of Vermont, in miniature. “Sheep fever,” the devastating deforestation of the mid-1800s, Vermont’s early tourism industry, the early conservation and park movements, reforestation… it’s all there on the mountain, if you know where to look. North Ferrisburgh resident (and long-time Mt. Philo hiker), Judy Chaves, has spent 8 years researching the mountain’s history and has recently written a guidebook to the park’s historic sites. Join her on a “virtual” tour of the mountain and discover, through then-and-now photos, old maps, and even a bit of poetry, what historic gems lie hidden — within plain sight — in the park. Signed copies of the guidebook will be available for purchase.
Join artist and writer Ric Kasini Kadour on September 30th at Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, for a lecture and slideshow exploring what happens when historic sites and contemporary art join forces to bring ideas from the past into the present. Using examples ranging from the Palace of Versailles and New York City’s Governors Island, to Vermont’s Kent Museum in Calais, Kadour will also share illustrative research initiatives conducted in the U.S. and England, and lead a discussion of what the fusion of history and art can mean. Is art the new mode of interpretation and are artists the new interpreters? Kadour and Rokeby Museum Director Catherine Brooks encourage artists interested in interacting with historic sites to attend, as well as members of historical societies interested in strategies for bringing their work to new audiences.
NEW PROGRAM! — WORDS MATTER: A Civility Café
Monday, October 29, 7:00–9:00 pm — Charlotte Congregational Church
Is Civility Dead? Community, Religion, and the Virtues of a Healthy Democracy. These days a lot of people are lamenting the death of civility in American politics. But some social critics argue that civility is overrated at best and dangerous at worst, because standards of political decorum stifle political protest just when it is needed most. In this talk, James Calvin Davis will consider what the concept of civility really means, why we need it, and where we should look for it if we are going to bring health to our democracy. Co-sponsored by the Charlotte Library; the Charlotte Congregational Church, UCC; and Rokeby Museum. This café takes place at the Charlotte Congregational Church, 403 Church Hill Road, Charlotte. Dessert and beverages available as we begin our conversation. Free