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Celebrating Black History Month with the Staten Island Museum

Transcribe historical records, learn about the Pecan, and view the commemorative FDNY 2001 Memorial Quilt on loan from Sandy Ground Historical Society

(Staten Island, NY – February 2, 2022) The Staten Island Museum is celebrating Black History throughout February by partnering with community organizations and individuals to offer engaging programs: Black History Month Transcribe-a-thon on February 13, Lunch and Learn: The Pecan on February 17 with Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim, and a special exhibit of the FDNY 2001 Memorial Quilt on loan from Sandy Ground Historical Society on view for the month of February.

“We are honored to partner with such important organizations dedicated to Black history on Staten Island,” said Janice Monger, Staten Island Museum President & CEO “The variety of programming this month enables participants to look forward at the future and back in reflection and tribute. Through programs across art, science, and history, participants are able to connect with rich local history and the cultural legacies of past and present.”

Black History Month Transcribe-a-thon
Sunday, February 13, 1pm – 4pm
At the Staten Island Museum and Virtual, Registration Required
The Museum is collaborating with the Staten Island Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and Frederick Douglass Memorial Park to transcribe newly digitized archival records, making them more easily searchable and accessible for family and historical research! Join at the Staten Island Museum or virtually for a community transcribe-a-thon. No previous experience is required. Training and good company will be provided. Bring your own device (laptop or tablet).

This month’s transcribe-a-thon is a part of a larger collaboration between the museum and its partners called the Access, Collaboration, and Equity in Genealogy Initiative (ACEGen). ACEGen strives to digitize archival collections relevant to genealogical research and make them accessible to the public online. ACEGen will focus on collections representing communities that have been underrepresented in the historical record. The ACEGen Initiative – Access, Collaboration, and Equity in Genealogy is made possible with generous funding from New York Community Trust.

NY Community Trust Logo

“Frederick Douglass Memorial Park is excited to join this important work and to move our records management procedures into the present and future. This is for remembering our ancestors.” said Lucille Herring, President of Frederick Douglass Memorial Park’s Board of Directors.

“We hope that interested students, teachers, researchers, and community members sign up to join the transcribe-a-thon in person or virtually on February 13th and then stay with the project for the many months it will take to finish the work. SIAAHGS members are ready to do our part in making these invaluable records accessible online,” said Debbie-Ann Paige, Co-President of Staten Island’s Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

Lunch and Learn: The Pecan with Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim
Thursday, February 17, 12pm
Virtual, Registration Required
Clementine Hunter is one of the most important self-taught, contemporary American artists of the 20th Century. Dive deeper into the content of her painting “Threshing Pecans” with botanist and educator Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim. Join us for an exploration of the important history and cultural significance of the pecan — North America’s only native tree nut.

Headshot from the waste up of Dr. Abdul-Salim

Dr. Abdul-Salim is a botanist with interests in the evolution of plants of the world’s tropical forests. He has conducted field research in Africa and Madagascar and worked as a fellow at both the New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He holds a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University, a Masters degree in Biology from University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has taught at Ohio State University and the City University of New York, and is currently President of Protologue, LLC, an educational media publishing and consulting firm based in Trenton, NJ.

In conjunction with the exhibition 140 Objects and related programming, three paintings by Clementine Hunter (American, ca. 1886- 1988) will be on view at the museum beginning February 25, 2022: Threshing Pecans, Zinnias Looking at You, and Picking Cotton.

Threshing Pecans n.d.

Clementine Hunter (American, ca. 1886- 1988)
Oil on board, n.d.
Gift of Mrs. Mary Chauncey Newlin | A1982.12.1

About Clementine Hunter
Born in 1886 in Louisiana, Clementine Hunter worked for much of her life as a field hand harvesting cotton and pecans on Louisiana Plantations. She began working as housekeeper at Melrose Plantation in the 1920s. The plantation hosted artists from all over the country and in 1939, using paints and brushes left by one of the guests, Hunter began to paint on window shades. From that period on, she painted every day, using whatever materials were available, drawing inspiration from her sewing and quilting work and her life on the plantation. In 1949, an exhibition of her work at the New Orleans Arts and Crafts Show sparked the beginning of national exposure for her art.

Special Exhibit: FDNY 2001 Memorial Quilt
Presented in partnership with The Sandy Ground Historical Society
February 4 – 28, 2022

Memorial quilt mounted on a museum wall

In 2002, the members of the Sandy Ground Historical Society Quilting Group pieced and appliqued a quilt to honor Black firefighters lost on September 11, 2001. On loan from the Sandy Ground Historical Society, the quilt will be on view in the Staten Island SEEN Gallery at the Staten Island Museum throughout February in celebration of Black History Month.

Updated Visitor Information: All visitors ages 5 and older must show proof they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the museum in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors over 18 will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all over the age of 2, even if vaccinated. For more information and additional details, see the visit section of our website.