“History: A Conversation” Saturday, April 9, 2022

Posted by on Mar 28, 2022 in Talks, Video | Comments Off on “History: A Conversation” Saturday, April 9, 2022

“History: A Conversation” Saturday, April 9, 2022

Watch this presentation on WilliNet.


WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (March 28, 2022) – Join us for a free panel discussion “History: A Conversation on Stories Told, Untold, and Retold” on Saturday, April 9 from 11 am in the Community Room at the Milne Public Library. The public is invited.

The three participating panelists and moderator are long-time area educator/scholars who will discuss both their particular projects as well as the broader question of why understanding history is valuable and how and why such stories are told, untold, and retold.

Participating panelists are: Frances Jones-Sneed, professor Emeritus of history at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams; Thomas Ostheimer, Mt. Greylock Regional School social studies teacher, and Kathleen M. Morris, Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Decorative Arts at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown.

The panel will be moderated by Charles B. Dew, Ephraim Williams Professor of American History Emeritus at Williams College.

The Milne Public Library is located at 1095 Main Street, on the south side of Field Park at the northern junction of Routes 2 & 7 in Williamstown.

Parking is available and the building is handicap accessible. Seating is limited, but the program will be recorded and will be broadcast by WilliNet at a later date.

For more information email [email protected] or visit the WHM Website www.williamstownhistoricalmuseum.org.


Charles B. Dew is Ephraim Williams Professor of American History, Emeritus at Williams College, Williamstown. He received his BA in 1958 from Williams having graduated summa cum laude with Honors in History and his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to his 43 year teaching career at Williams he taught history at Wayne State University, Louisiana State University, the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Virginia. His teaching has focused upon the American South in the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction and the institution of slavery. His most recent book, a memoir, is “The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade. Two previous publications received the Fletcher Pratt Award given by the Civil War Roundtable of New York for best non-fiction. He was also the recipient of the Elliot Rudwick Prize from the Organization of American Historians for best book on the experience of racial and ethnic minorities in America which was named Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. He also served as advisor to the Tredegar National Civil War Center, Richmond, Va., which tells the story of the conflict and how it shaped our nation from three points of view which are: Union, Confederate and Afro-American.


Frances Jones-Sneed, received her PH.D. from the University of Missouri and is professor Emeritus of History and Political Science at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams where she also served as Director of Women’s Studies. Her concentration continues to be on African American History and explorations of the intersection of race, class, gender and environment in particular in rural areas such as the American West, as well as the participation of African American women in the social reform movements in the United States. She has taught and researched local history for over 25 years, directed three National Endowment for Humanities grants, and is a past board member of Mass Humanities. In 2008 she was a NEH Summer Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. She has spearheaded a national conference of African American biography, is a co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail: a project of the upper Housatonic Valley Heritage area and currently serves as a board member of the Samuel Harrison Society and Clinton Church Restoration. She is currently editing the autobiography of the Rev. Samuel Harrison, a local minister, as well as a monograph about W.E.B. Du Bois, who revised America’s understanding of reconstruction and the legal rights of African American. She is also working on a K-16 curriculum on “The Souls of Black Folk.” A current ongoing African Americans in the Berkshires project aims to tell the stories of the African American experience in Berkshire County from 1750 to now by focusing upon chronological periods and nine selected individuals such as Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman who was the first African American woman to sue for her freedom in Massachusetts and for whom the Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield is named.

Kathleen M. Morris, joined the Clark Art Institute in 2005 after working at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia for 21 years. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Virginia. In 1998 and again in 2018 she attended the highly regarded Attingham Study Programme’s Royal Collections Studies Course in England which examines architectural and social history of historic houses in Britain and their paintings, sculpture, furniture ceramics, silver, textiles and other applied arts as well as the planning, decorative treatment and use of interiors, gardens and landscape settings. At the Clark she is responsible for recent reinstallations of American and European decorative arts and is currently working to add diverse works to the collection as well as to expand the narratives told through in-gallery and online collection interpretation. She has also curated a number of shows most recently the 2021 sculptures of Claude & Francois Xavier Lalanne’s transformations of nature.

Thomas Ostheimer received his BA in history from Hobart William Smith College, Geneva, NY and his MA in Education at the University of Massachusetts. During his 22 years at MGRHS he has taught history, psychology, a class on the Holocaust and a class on America in the 1960’s to hundreds of local students including his own three children. Prior to moving to Williamstown he taught history in schools in Maine, Amherst and Albany, NY.


The Williamstown Historical Museum was founded in 1941, as the Williamstown House of Local History, to preserve and to promote knowledge of the town’s history. Its goal is to document the diverse people and buildings, the associations and businesses, the institutions and events, which form the town’s history from the earliest days to the present time. The collection includes photographs, documents, and artifacts from the 1700s to the present day, as well as published works related to the town’s history.  There is a permanent display, and rotating exhibits use many items in the collection to help educate our community on many aspects of the town’s history. The museum’s current exhibit is “Schools and Children in Williamstown Through the Years.”