Programs/Events 2020

votes for women
Exposing Challenges: A Closer Look at Women’s Suffrage

Sunday, May 17, 3:00 pm

Social and political movements are complex beasts, to say the very least. During the decades-long struggle for women’s right to vote, there were numerous struggles within and without this particular movement. At the core was the issue of representation. Who was served by the movement to expand voting rights? Who was not served? What groups were at risk, and how were they able to prevail? Two noted Vermont historians will explore these questions in illustrated talks launching Rokeby Museum’s 2020 season. Jane Williamson is Rokeby Museum Director Emerita, and curator of a number of Rokeby museum exhibits exploring the abolitionist movement. Jane Williamson will discuss the early women’s rights movement, which had its roots in abolition and re-emerged after the Civil War in the fight for suffrage. Amy Morsman, professor of history at Middlebury College, will examine points of convergence and moments of discord within the suffrage movement, and how identity shaped decisions about the way to win the vote. Most recently, Amy curated Votes… for Women? — a recent Middlebury College Museum of Art exhibition exploring the activism behind the Suffrage Movement.

Carol MacDonald
Mending Fences: New Works by Carol MacDonald
Sunday, May 31, 3:00 pm

To mark the opening of this multifaceted exhibition of objects, monotype prints and site-specific installations inspired by Rokeby Museum history, Carol MacDonald will speak about her work, and guest curator Ric Kasini Kadour will speak about the nexus of art and history.  Mending Fences marks the second year of the Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum project designed promote art and history to new audiences.

Dan Snow workshop
Fence Menders Workshop: A Lesson in Dry Stone Construction
Saturday, June 13, time TBD

Using remnants of previous old walls, stone artist Dan Snow will teach participants the craft of dry stone construction with an environmental art focus. Participants will work in the Rokeby forest building a permanent section of wall along an original fence line and footprint. Dan Snow is an assemblage artist specializing in site-generated, or locally sourced, natural materials. His dry stone constructions range from stock-proof fences, pillars, staircases and bridges, to complex environmental art pieces and figurative works of sculpture commissioned by individuals and public institutions. Dan lectures, leads workshops and writes about the art and craft of working with dry stone in the landscape, and lives with his wife (and studio manager), in southern Vermont where Snow was born and raised. 

Natural Beekeeping
The History of Beekeeping in Vermont
Sunday, June 28, 3:00 pm

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 2020, and the book is now available. Ross Conrad is one of the book’s authors. He will give an overview of the history of Vermont beekeeping with a special emphasis on Addison County, the epicenter of beekeeping in the state. Ross used Rokeby archives in researching this history, and will share how beekeeping has changed over the years in response to economic, cultural and environmental changes. Ross Conrad is author of Natural Beekeeeping: 2nd Edition (Chelsea Green, 2013) and operates Dancing Bee Gardens in Middlebury. 

History Comes Alive!
Flynn Center Summer Camp: History Comes Alive! — Kathryn Maitland
Monday, June 29–Friday, July 3, 8:30 am–3:00 pm

Imagine you lived around Ferrisburgh, Vermont in the 1830s. At this time Rachel and Rowland Robinson owned a farm in this town and were Vermont abolitionists. Simon and Jesse were fugitives from slavery who were aided by a network of abolitionists. At different times, they made it to the Robinson farm in Vermont and worked alongside free blacks, Yankees, and Irish. Come to Rokeby Museum to imagine what this time was like. We will use the house, outbuildings, and grounds of the museum, which have been in the Robinson family for 150 years, as our setting for the week’s improvisation. Simple costumes will be used to develop fictional characters who respond to the joys and challenges of the time. Family and friends are invited to see highlights from the week’s adventures on Friday afternoon. Taught by FlynnArts Faculty Kathryn Maitland. For ages 8–13, register at

Andrew Delbanco
Andrew Delbanco: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from Revolution to Civil War
Sunday, July 5, 3:00 pm

Andrew Delbanco’s new book, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul, tells the story of America’s original sin — slavery — through politics, law, literature, and above all, through the eyes of enslaved black people who risked their lives to flee from bondage, thereby forcing the nation to confront the truth about itself. The struggle over slavery divided not only the American nation but also the hearts and minds of individual citizens faced with the timeless problem of when to submit to unjust laws and when to resist. Delbanco will speak about what brought Americans to war with themselves, and will touch on some of the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still. Andrew Delbanco is the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University. He is author of College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (2012) and Melville: His World and Work (2005), his work has been translated into several languages. Delbanco was recently appointed president of the Teagle Foundation, which supports liberal education for college students of all backgrounds. In February 2012, President Barack Obama presented Professor Delbanco with the National Humanities Medal for his writings on higher education and the place classic authors hold in history and contemporary life.

Repair and Re-use Fair
July Date Pending

Volunteer makers, ranging from knife-sharpeners to electricians, will be on hand to repair household goods of just about any kind. Guest exhibition of artists using found and recycled materials as art materials. Children’s activities. Held in conjunction with Mending Fences: New Works by Carol MacDonald.

Randall Henson
Treenware Carving
July/August Date Pending

The word “treen” comes from the middle English and means “wooden.”  Treen is distinctively different than other pieces made from wood such as furniture or cabinetry in that it is a name for small handmade household items such as bowls or spoons. Back by poplular demand, Randall Henson will lead this 2-day workshop using green wood and hand tools to carve useful and decorative bowls and trenchers.  

pie day
Pie and Ice-cream Social: Rokeby’s simply delicious summer event
August 16, 1:00–4:00 pm

Can 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 36th annual Rokeby Pie and Ice-cream social.

Linda Radtke
Vermont History through Song
August 30, 3:00 pm

Singer and researcher Linda Radtke, joined by pianist Cameron Steinmetz, brings Vermont history to life with engaging commentary about the songs found in the Vermont Historical Society’s collection of sheet music — plus a few from the Rokeby Museum collections. Dressed in period costume and using the music Vermonters published and sang in their communities, Ms. Radtke guides listeners through our state’s history, from the earliest published song, “Green Mountain Farmer” (1798), through 1850 temperance ballads and Civil War era songs, to songs about Vermonters Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Dewey, and Jim Fisk. A Vermont Humanities Council event hosted by Rokeby Museum. 

Mending Divides
September Date/Speakers Pending

A panel of community organizers will share how they go about their work to addresses issues of social injustice. 

art meets history symposium
Art Meets History Symposium
Saturday, September 26, 11:00 am–5:00 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. 

Closing Day
Saturday, October 25, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

Last day to visit Mending Fences: New Works by Carol MacDonald.

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