Slate Valley Museum to present ‘Excavating Stories: How a Small Museum Uncovers Misplaced, Forgotten and Even Unknown Histories’

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'One Painting, Many Stories' currently is on view at the Slate Valley Museum in Granville.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., the Slate Valley Museum will present a free Zoom program exploring how museums collaborate with research partners like libraries, archives, historical societies, galleries and other museums to explore hard-to-find or illusive stories of the past.

Over its 25-plus years, the museum has reconstructed many stories related to the people in and around the slate industry. These histories aren’t always easy to find in the records that remain, especially when they include groups of people who went through life largely unrecognized or unrecorded.

“We explore the stories of many marginalized or hard-to-track groups or individuals,” said Slate Valley Museum executive director Sarah Kijowski. “Our search for sources can take us far and wide, and we wanted to offer a program that shares a few examples of how our small museum has navigated the challenge of access to create compelling and accurate narratives to share with the public.”

The program will be a virtual panel discussion featuring researcher Bob Isherwood, curator of the museum’s current exhibition “One Painting, Many Stories,” and Orson Kingsley, former museum assistant director and archivist and curator of the 2011 exhibition “Rivals in Slate, Brothers in War,” which explored the Civil War in Slate Valley history. Kijowski will moderate the discussion.

The exhibitions curated by Isherwood and Kingsley both included challenging histories. “One Painting, Many Stories” traces the life of artist Martha Levy, who remains largely lost to history. “Rivals in Slate, Brothers in War” included explorations of the role of African Americans in the Civil War.

Attendees for this free, online-only program are encouraged to pre-register. Information about pre-registering and accessing the livestream is available at facebook.com/events/526016092624775 and will be available at slatevalleymuseum.org.

For more information, email museum associate Wendy Bordwell at [email protected] or call 518-642-1417.