Rokeby Museum Strategic Plan 2021–2023
“It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.”
— William Murtagh, the first “keeper” of the National Register of Historic Places
The preservation of historic sites offers opportunities for the public to engage with the past outside of the classroom and experience a tangible connection with our past while reflecting on our present and future. This immersive engagement influences how the public views and remembers history. How a story is told, and whose story is told can define a community’s sense of place and engagement for generations.
In recent years, cultural institutions have reflected on their influence in shaping how the public views the past. Interpretation through exhibits and tours often told a single story, but now institutions are evaluating and incorporating hidden and missing voices to build a more inclusive and truthful historical narrative. However, these changes do not come easily, as admitting past faults and re-evaluating historical narratives to tell the full story can be a shock to the public. Nevertheless, it is a necessary step, and one institutions are not shying away from implementing.
At Rokeby Museum, staff and the Board of Trustees are committed to presenting an inclusive history that does not gloss over difficult or uncomfortable themes. The modern Education Center, opened in 2013, tells the story of the Underground Railroad from many perspectives. In 2021, as we approach ten years since the opening of our permanent exhibit, Free & Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont, we are reflecting on the important legacy of this addition and planning the next chapter of the Museum’s story. Rokeby is a site that touches every public history engagement. We are a museum with numerous 3D objects; a preservation site with a historic house and farm outbuildings; an archive with letters, newspapers, pamphlets, ledgers; a natural space with ninety acres of fields and woods. Each of these pieces tells the Robinsons’ story and this plan will enable us to think strategically and holistically about our future.
Within this Strategic Plan, a number of themes emerge:
Please join us in our work to expand Rokeby Museum’s reach to communities across Vermont. There are many ways to get involved, including volunteering or becoming an ambassador for the work at the museum. If you would like to learn more about ways to engage with the museum, or if you would like to discuss this plan please feel free to reach out to our director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the Rokeby Museum 2021–2023 Strategic Plan (PDF: 5.4 MB)