Middlebury College Scholar in Residence in Environmental Studies Bill McKibben resides in the Green Mountains and will discuss his wilderness experiences, the environmental and recreational importance of the mountains, and his admiration for the artistic outdoor explorations of Caleb Kenna and Jill Madden.
Bill McKibben is the author of “The End of Nature” (1989), the first book for a general audience about global warming. Recent books include “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” (2010), “Deep Economy” (2006), “Enough” (2004), which critiques human genetic engineering and other rapidly advancing technologies; “Wandering Home” (2005), which catalogs his foot-travels across the Vermont landscape; and “Age of Missing Information” (2006), in which he compares his experience watching 1700 hours of videotaped TV to that of contemplating nature in the Adirondacks. In 2007, with six Middlebury College students, McKibben set up Step It Up 2007, which organized more than 1400 climate change demonstrations across the United States. He now leads a similar campaign on a global basis with the group 350.org, and in 2011 he led the fight to stop the Keystone Pipeline project.
Join photographer Caleb Kenna and artist Jill Madden as they discuss their work in the Sheldon’s fall exhibit “Sightlines: Picturing the Battell Wilderness.” For more info, visit http://henrysheldonmuseum.org/
In this shared conversation, artist Dario Robleto and art historian Ellery Foutch will discuss their responses to the tragedies of September 11, 2001 and our current pandemic moment, sharing what their research and practices have revealed about the historical past and future paths of what we might call a “history of the creative response to loss.” This program is presented as part of the “Elephant in the Room” lecture series, supported by Vermont Humanities. This talk is co-sponsored by the following Middlebury College departments and programs: American Studies, Studio Art, History of Art and Architecture, Associate Dean for the Arts, and Middlebury College Museum of Art. https://www.henrysheldonmuseum.org/events/living-with-death
Dressed as Henry Sheldon, historian Dr. David Stameshkin will bring the history of Henry Sheldon and his museum to life in this entertaining talk.
Henry Sheldon chartered one of the first community-based museums in the United States in 1882. After he died in 1907, the Museum—and his dream of sharing his many treasures with the world—was suspended for three decades, until a small group of energetic and creative Middleburians brought it back to life and made Henry’s dream come true.
Dr. David Stameshkin, the author of a two-volume history of Middlebury College, is writing a history of the Sheldon in connection with the celebration of Henry’s 200th birthday this year.
The Sheldon Museum presents: A Story of Weight – The Otter Creek Trestle Collapse of 1893, a talk by Danielle Rougeau, president of the Henry Sheldon board and Middlebury College Archivist. She uses the Sheldon’s photo of the Otter Creek train trestle collapse of 1893 to talk about the town, the train industry, and the forces that shape the story behind that photographic moment. The covered wooden railway trestle spanning Otter Creek collapsed under the weight of a coal train in the early morning hours of Friday May 5, 1893. The engine, boxcars and five fully loaded coal hoppers made it safely onto land on the Water Street side, but as the next five fully loaded coal hoppers rolled onto the 200-foot span, the trestle gave way, sending the five cars to the bottom of the creek and derailing the remainder on the southern side. Less than thirty minutes earlier, a passenger train had safely crossed the bridge.
The Sheldon Museum presents: By Seen and Unseen Hands: Spirit Artists and their Art in the 21st Century, a talk by Associate Champlain College Professor Stephen Wehmeyer, Since the earliest days of its history, the American Spiritualist movement has been closely tied to the visual arts. Renowned mediums like the Bangs Sisters and the Campbell Brothers trafficked in “precipitated” paintings – artwork purportedly produced by spirit hands – while the emergent technology of photography offered believers (and the occasional charlatan) a new tool for capturing visible records of an invisible world. Spiritualism thrives in the present day, and the visual arts remain a vital part of the expressive culture of modern Spiritualists. Since the mid-1990s, Stephen has been exploring the artistic work of Mediums and Spirit Artists from Spiritualist communities in Western New York, Southern California, and New Orleans. This presentation explores the role and function of visual arts in the lives and work of these latter-day Spiritualists, whose vernacular visions of unseen worlds continue to intrigue, delight, and inspire.
The Sheldon Museum presents “The Hutchinson Family Singers: Huzzas, Horrors, and Bumps in the Night,” a talk by Dale Cockrell, a specialist in American popular music. The Hutchinson Family Singers were the best-known, most-loved, and most-hated musicians in nineteenth-century America. Their passionate commitment to talking and singing about the sisterhood of social reforms garnered them notoriety on all sides of a wide range of divides (including spiritualism). Too often overlooked, though, is that they bear a primary responsibility for the ways in which American popular music was then made, heard, and appreciated, legacies still much manifest today.
The Sheldon Museum presents Sinners, Prophets, and Seers: Moral Reform and the Second Great Awakening, a talk by Professor Bill Hart, Middlebury College. No longer governed by a king, the new republic of the United Sates required its citizens to be virtuous and selfless. However, by the first decade of the 19th century, many Americans experienced personal stress and cultural disorientation. Westward expansionism, the rise of individualism, northern emancipation, and technological change led many Americans to question their institutions, beliefs, and values. Many sought to change their personal behaviors and social practices, which gave rise to a series of reform movements. The goal was to perfect the individual, American society, and ultimately the world.