Programs/Events 2019

Amassed and Up-ended

Below is our program schedule for 2019. 

Rokeby Through the Lens

A Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum Program
Exhibit: Sunday, May 19–Sunday, June 16
Gallery Talk: Sunday, May 19, 3:00 pm

More than any time in history, photography shapes how we see the world. With digital technology, it comes at us fast and in a volume that can be difficult to process. But in the hands of contemporary photographers, the camera is being used as a tool to slow down the flow of information and affords the viewer an opportunity to reflect and consider how to see the world — as did Rokeby’s 19th century authors and artists. Among the works on view will be a thirty-foot photograph of Rokeby by internationally exhibited Stephen Schaub, inscribed with words written by published memoirist Eve Ogden Schaub. Gallery talk features Ric Kasini Kadour, and Stephen and Eve Ogden Schaub.

Art Meets History Symposium
A Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum Program
Saturday, June 8, 11:00 am–5 pm

What happens when artists delve into history? What roles can museums play in an artist’s practice? How can engagement with history help an artist speak to the present? How can an artist’s practice be developed by engaging place with research and exploration? These are the questions Art Meets History Symposium will explore in a day-long meeting of artists and art professionals. Open to all artists regardless of levels and styles — from en plein air painters and photographers to those engaged in a social or conceptual practice — art professionals and members of the public are also invited to join the discussion. Registration required. More information. 

Tourist Signs
Finding Room in Vermont:
Accommodating Tourism in an “Unspoiled” Landscape
Sunday, June 16, 3:00 pm

Tourism has long been a driving force in shaping the popular conception of rural Vermont. Orchardist and author Blake Harrison will discuss the early history of Vermont tourism, the abandonment of farms, the rise of summer homes, and the branding of an “unspoiled” Vermont. Harrison holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is author of The View from Vermont: Tourism and the Making of an American Rural Landscape (2006). Rokeby Museum director Catherine Brooks will also present a short illustrated lecture about the years during which the last generation of Robinsons opened their home to welcome tourists.

Got Bats? Management and Recovery of Endangered Bats

Friday, June 21 (rain date June 22), 8:00 pm

Learn about Vermont’s rare insect-eating bats, their natural history, the threats they face, and ways the public can help conserve bats and enhance their habitats. Immediately following a presentation by Alyssa Bennett, the Small Mammals Biologist at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, she and members of the Ferrisburgh Conservation Committee will teach attendees how to count Rokeby’s bats as they exit their roosts between sunset and just after dusk. Program will be both indoors and outdoors: please dress accordingly. Pre-registration recommended. 

What to the Negro is the 4th of July?
Friday, July 5, 3:00 pm

This is your unique opportunity to experience history. Join us to read aloud Frederick Douglass’ 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, and learn about when Frederick Douglass gave a speech in Ferrisburgh in 1843. Free

Hair Wreath
Amassed and Up-ended:

Decoding the Legacy of Stuff
Sunday, July 14, 2:00–4:00 pm

Amassed and Up-ended gathers objects, artworks, and documents representing four generations of one Vermont family to explore how what we save over a lifetime gives voice to some of our stories and silences others. The exhibit features Robinson family paintings, heirlooms, and items used in everyday life that are usually spread throughout the densely furnished historic home that is central to Rokeby Museum. Curated and re-arranged in a gallery setting, what do they tell us about this family of artists, farmers and abolitionists? Some objects inform us. Do others keep their secrets or even lead us astray? What of your life is likely to be saved, and what will it tell of you?

Amassed and Up-ended Curator Gallery Talk
Sunday, July 14, 2:00 pm

The mere act of curation marks the endeavor with a point of view. Amassed and Up-ended curators Jane Williamson, Catherine Brooks and Steve Wetherby will discuss the many levels of curation at play in Rokeby Museum’s special exhibit — from the Robinson family’s effort to preserve their history, to early caretakers of Robinson memory, to present-day choices of what to exhibit and how.

How to Weed Your Attic Book
How to Weed Your Attic:
Getting Rid of Junk without Destroying History
Sunday, July 14, 3:00 pm

Authors Elizabeth Dow and Lucinda Cockerel will provide answers to the question: when someone dies or it’s time to move — or just clean out the attic, garage, or basement — what papers and other things should we save for the sake of history and what can we safely toss?

Life on the Border Book
Life on the Other Border
Sunday, July 28, 3:00 pm

Teresa M. Mares, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Vermont, will speak about food insecurity experienced by migrant farmworkers in the northeastern borderlands of the United States. Mares’ research is based on Latinx farmworkers who labor in Vermont’s dairy industry. She will illuminate the complex and resilient ways workers sustain themselves and their families while also serving as the backbone of the state’s agricultural economy. Copies of her book, Life on the Other Border, will be available for sale and signing. 

Kerry O. Furlani
A Slate State of Mind
Sunday, August 4, Lecture: 2:00 pm;
slate carving demonstration: 3:00–4:00 pm

Vermont slate — quarried, split and trimmed — sheathes the roofs of several of Rokeby’s historic buildings. High up and out of sight, most of us don’t think much about it. Artist Kerry O. Furlani is an exception. An accomplished sculptor and resident of Vermont’s slate valley, Furlani is well-known for her lettering work, sculpture and expressive slate carvings. She gives life to her work using traditional methods introduced to her while training at the Frink School of Figurative Sculpture, in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The artist will present an illustrated lecture followed by a demonstration and opportunities for visitors to try their hands using a mallet and chisel.

Randall Henson wooden spoons
Functional Curves, Carving Wooden Spoons

Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, 9:00 am–4:00 pm

Join Randall Henson for 2-days of handwork in this green woodworking class. Working with birch, participants will carve spoons using hand tools, including an axe, a Swedish carving knife, and a bent knife. Design will be explored, keeping an eye on beauty while emphasizing function. Students will learn about carving techniques, safety, wood & wood grain, tool sharpening, drying and finishing of spoons. All levels of woodworking experience are welcome. All tools and materials will be provided for use during this workshop. Space limited to 5. $150 per person. Email for more information and to register. 

Pie Day
Pie and Ice-cream Social:
Rokeby’s simply delicious summer event
Sunday, August 18, 1:00–4:00 pm

Could anything be better than home-baked fruit pies, Vermont ice-cream, live music, lawn games and special activities for the youngest — all on a (fingers crossed) sunny summer day? Young and old alike are invited to join in the 35th Rokeby Pie and Ice-cream social. Raffle prizes and door prizes for best summer hat and best historic or retro apron. Pies have been made at Rokeby since 1793 — pick your period, and join in the fun. Live music from the Shelburne band, the Meat Packers, as well as fiddle music by Young Tradition Vermont.

Art Rokeby Festival
A Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum Program
Saturday, August 24, 2019, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

A day-long festival featuring a special one-day exhibit of Rokeby Museum Artist Member’s work. Also includes an artist market, presentations, kids’ art making, live demonstrations and food truck. More information.

meg walker ghost barn
Meg Walker, Rural Architecture: Ghost Barns (Nether Roscoe), 1999 70″ x 43″ x 33.25,” mixed media

A Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum Program
Saturday, August 24, 3:00 pm

Structures define our world. Some of us live among skyscrapers, row houses, condominiums. In Vermont, many of us live among houses and barns. Rokeby Museum, a National Historic Landmark, is a collection of houses, outbuildings and remnants of barns that served a variety of ends. The exhibition repurposes these historic spaces as settings for exhibiting contemporary art. 

Emancipation Day, Port Royal 1863
When the Church and Republicans Were Radical: Reconstruction, 1862–1895
Sunday, September 8, 3:00 pm

Dr. Elise Guyette will present an illustrated talk delving into the widely misunderstood history of Reconstruction using South Carolina as an example. Dr. Guyette focuses on Radical Republicans and missionaries who flocked to South Carolina even before the war ended to assist freedmen and women in creating better lives. The talk features Vermonters, including a man who once worked at Rokeby, and explains many actions and policies still affecting the nation today. Elise Guyette is the author of Discovering Black Vermont: African American Farmers in Hinesburgh, 1790–1890 (2011), and is the co-founder of the Burlington Edible History Tour.

Renee Wells
Engaging Across Difference

Sunday, September 15, 3:00 pm

Difficult conversations — are there ways to bridge the differences? Led by Renee Wells (director of education for equity and inclusion at Middlebury College), the workshop will explore the difficulties and tensions associated with trying to talk across difference — difference in race, religion, gender, nationality, sexuality, morality, ethics, faith, or politics. Structured as a facilitated dialogue, participants will identify the conversations that are most challenging for them and will focus on identifying ways to bridge difference and build community with others.   

Jacob Holzberg-Pill
Rokeby Century Trees

Saturday, September 14, 11:00 am–1:00 pm
(Please note date change)

Join Senior Naturalist Jacob Holzberg-Pill on a nature hike to Rokeby’s massive oak trees, each well over 100 years old. These trees provided shade to otherwise open fields long before new growth filled in the surrounding areas. Learn about how large trees survive and prosper, how the environment affects them, and how they benefit the environment. Participants will help to take critical measurements (circumference, height, crown width) of the trees for the Vermont Big Tree registry.  If time permits, we’ll stop by some of the large white pines and shag bark hickories as well. With degrees from Yale and Harvard, Jacob Holzberg-Pill teaches ecology and land stewardship in a variety of settings, and he’s back at Rokeby due to popular demand. Participants should dress for the outdoors. 

Dr. Emily Bernard — BLACK IS THE BODY: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine
Sunday, September 22, 3:00 pm

“I am black—and brown, too,” writes Emily Bernard. “Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell.” In a collection of twelve deeply personal and interconnected essays Emily Bernard explores the nuances and paradoxes of her identity — as a woman who grew up black in the south and who married a white man from the north, as a black professor teaching mostly white students in Vermont about race, as a mother who adopted two babies from Ethiopia. This fearless and penetrating memoir has been lauded as “contemplative and compassionate” (Publishers Weekly) and “deeply felt, unflinchingly honest, and openly questioning” (Kirkus). Emily Bernard author of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, and is professor of Critical Race and Ethnic studies at the University of Vermont.

Rokeby Artist Lab
A Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum Program
Thursday, September 26–Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Rokeby Artist Lab is a four-day intensive of workshops and discussions designed to foster the integration of history and contemporary art into an artist’s practice. Participating artists will learn how to use Rokeby Museum’s historic site and extensive archives to make artwork that picks up the unfinished work of history and fosters civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental issues. Registration required. More information. 

Natural Beekeeping
History of Beekeeping in Vermont
POSTPONED: To be rescheduled

A number of years ago, several literary-minded beekeepers got together to discuss how they might — collectively — write the history of beekeeping in Vermont. Fast forward to 2019, and the book is now available for purchase. Ross Conrad is one of the book’s authors, and he will give an overview of the history of beekeeping with a special emphasis on Addison County. Conrad turned to Rokeby archives in researching this history, and will share how beekeeping has changed over the years in response to environmental changes. Conrad is author of Natural Beekeeping (Chelsea Green, 1986) and operates Dancing Bee Gardens in Middlebury.

Program Admission: Unless otherwise noted, lecture program admission is $5/person or free with Museum admission.