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BRATTLEBORO — Stephen Perkins, Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society (VHS), will present the annual Richard O. Hathaway Award for Best Historic State Project to the five local institutions that created and led the funded National Endowment for the Humanities, Project multi-year of Brattleboro words.
“The Brattleboro Words Project has created three very accessible and informative ways for our community and visitors from near and far to learn more about our literary, printing and publishing heritage,” said Peter Elwell, director of the Town of Brattleboro, in a press release.
Elwell said that “every initiative, a mobile app and a website that continues to grow over time (the Brattleboro Words Trail), a traveling ceramic fresco exhibit and a published book (Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words) combine to make local history more accessible to our families, schools and visiting tourists.
On December 2, Perkins will present the award to project partners Words Starr LaTronica and Jeanne Walsh of the Brooks Memorial Library; Sandy Rouse of the Brattleboro Literary Festival; Reg Martell and Bill Holiday of the Brattleboro Historical Society; Rolf Parker and Arlene Distler of Write Action; William Edelglass, co-founder of the project and principal investigator (who represented Marlboro College, which administered the project before its closure); and Lissa Weinmann, project manager.
City Manager Peter Elwell, Vermont Folklife Center Board Member Andy Davis (current Project Administrator), VHS Board Member and State Representative Mollie Burke, P / D- Brattleboro and other area leaders are expected to be there.
“Creatively designed as an inclusive city-wide effort, the Brattleboro Words Project forged new relationships around history by connecting amateur historians of all ages with professionals who guided them to produce skillful, accurate and well researched products and content, ”said Perkins. in a press release.
“Although we are awarding the award on the basis of the completed project at this point, we know that stories, events and works of art will continue to be added to this meaningful and important initiative,” he said. .
The project “worked with a variety of academics to ensure rigorous research standards and, in some cases, corrected historical errors,” said John Carnahan, former director of the Brattleboro Historical Society.
He said that John Grayson, whose scholarship focuses on Frederick Douglass, discovered while working with the project’s research team that a speech given by the former abolitionist and slave writer in Brattleboro “was different from the one announced at origin and appears to mark the first time Douglass has spoken. publicly about the Lincoln assassination.
“I can honestly say that for a project developed by a group of citizens, the Brattleboro Words Trail is the most impressive piece of public humanities work I have ever seen,” Mara Williams, former chief curator of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center and the project’s first champion, said. “It is a remarkable achievement.”
“With so many different voices, different approaches and so many topics, this project helps us understand the richness and complexity of the Brattleboro area,” said Edelglass. “It also challenges us to continue to tell stories to strengthen our community, deepen our understanding of the many experiences of this place and make connections beyond differences. “
The Brattleboro Words Trail continues to help community members and students create new audio stories for the Trail, add historical markers, research and present events.
The Evolving Word Trail murals by local artist Cynthia Parker-Houghton are on display at the project’s headquarters at 118 Elliot Gallery, but will ultimately be shown in a central location in the city to be announced soon.
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