Arts & Leisure

Rokeby opens especially for Black History Month with exhibits, events

'DAISY AND THE Doll” is a true story as told by Vermont’s African American storyteller Daisy Turner.

FERRISBURGH — In recognition of Black History Month, Rokeby Museum will be open Sundays in February, from noon to 5 p.m., for exhibits and special programs for children, teens and adults.  Admission to the museum is $10/adult; $8/children age 5 and up. The museum is located at 4334 Route 7 in Ferrisburgh. For more info call (802) 877-3406 or email [email protected]
“Free & Safe: the Underground Railroad in Vermont”
Sunday, Feb. 2, 12-5 p.m.
In honor of Black History Month, visitors may take advantage of special winter hours to visit the only permanent exhibition in New England that addresses slavery, abolition and the Underground Railroad. Museum staff will be available in the galleries for conversation about “Free & Safe,” the museum’s award-winning multi-media exhibit. Visitors are introduced to Simon and Jesse, two fugitives from slavery who were sheltered at Rokeby in the 1830s. Tracing their stories from slavery to freedom, the exhibit also introduces the abolitionist Robinson family, who called Rokeby home for nearly 200 years, and explores the turbulent decades leading up to the Civil War.
February is also last the month for seeing the special exhibit, “Amassed & Up-ending: Decoding the Legacy of Stuff.” The exhibit provides a great opportunity to learn more about the Abolitionist Robinsons. Significant pieces of art, furniture, household goods, letters, and journals illustrate the lives of the four generations of Robinsons who lived at Rokeby from 1793 to 1961. As you experience this remarkable family, it’s also an opportunity to think about how you will be remembered. What of your things are likely to be treasured, and what will they say about the life you have lived?

“Finding Jesse: A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont,” special lecture
Sunday, Feb. 9, 3 p.m.
Generation after generation the Robinson family saved their copious correspondence, and today that record informs all that Rokeby Museum does. But what happens when the record is incomplete?
Jane Williamson, director emerita and curator of the museum’s award-winning exhibit “Free & Safe: the Underground Railroad,” will share the extensive research required to learn more about Jesse, a fugitive from slavery who lived and worked at Rokeby in the 1830s. Williamson’s talk traces Jesse’s life from enslavement in North Carolina to freedom in Vermont. Citing letters in the collection at Rokeby Museum and documents at the North Carolina State Archives, the illustrated talk brings the narrative of one slave out of anonymity and explores his life and pursuit of freedom.
Williamson holds a masters degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont and was the director of the Rokeby Museum for over 20 years. This program partners with the Ferrisburgh Historical Society.

“Daisy and the Doll:” story and craft workshop for kids
Sunday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m.
“Daisy and the Doll” is a true story as told by Vermont’s African American storyteller Daisy Turner. The story takes place in Grafton, Vt., in the 1890s, when Daisy was eight years old. Her teacher gave Daisy a doll and a poem to present at an end-of-school program, but instead of memorizing the poem, Daisy surprised everyone by reciting a poem of her own. Children will find out what happened next, and make a doll using wooden clothespins and other materials that Daisy would have had for making playthings.
The program is appropriate for children ages 4 to 8. Parents or caregivers are welcome to participate or visit exhibits.

“The Hate U Give,” a book discussion program for teens and adults
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
Have you read “The Hate U Give?” It’s a masterful presentation of issues facing many African Americans in America today. Former teen-rapper and now award-winning author Angie Thomas tells the complex story of Starr Carter, a black teenager “moving between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.” Teens and adults are invited to borrow copies of the book from Rokeby, read, and attend a moderated discussion about the book and the issues it presents.
The program includes a short guided tour of “Free & Safe,” Rokeby’s award-winning exhibit that provides context for race problems in America today.

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