Arts & Leisure

Lectures highlight women’s suffrage

Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh will host notable Vermont historians on Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. to present a double-lecture program “Exposing the Challenges: A Closer Look at Women’s Suffrage.” The event will take place outdoors with safe seating for 50; in the case of rain, the event will be held indoors for 25 people in-person with video recording available the next day. Reservations can be made by calling (802) 877-3406, or emailing [email protected].
“Social and political movements are complex beasts, to say the very least,” said museum director Catherine Brooks. “During the decades-long struggle for women’s right to vote, there were numerous struggles in and outside the 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?” 
Historians Amy Morsman and Jane Williamson will explore these questions at this special program honoring the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment.
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 Morsman curated “Votes… for Women?,” a 2019 Middlebury College Museum of Art exhibition exploring the activism behind the Suffrage Movement.
Williamson is Rokeby Museum Director Emerita and curator of a number of Rokeby museum exhibits exploring the abolitionist movement. 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. Female abolitionists’ struggle for women’s right to speak out against slavery stirred them to broader action in the late 1840s and 1850s.
Funding for this project came from a Making of Nations Interpretive Theme Grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. The program is part of special project, “Votes for Women: a Centennial Celebration,” with events taking place throughout the Lake Champlain Valley in New York and Vermont, and a future podcast to be shared beyond.
The Rokeby Museum is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Oct. 25. Admission includes the award-winning exhibit “Free & Safe: the Underground Railroad in Vermont” and special in 2020, exploring the role of repair in 20th century America: “Mending Fences: New Art” by Carol MacDonald. Small group guided tours available by reservation Fridays-Mondays. For more information, visit rokeby.org.

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