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SI Live: Celebrate Black History Month at the Staten Island Museum

Threshing Pecans n.d.

Staten Island Museum
Clementine Hunter’s “Threshing Pecans,” a program on tap at the Staten Island Museum to celebrate Black History Month. (Courtesy/Staten Island Museum) Staten Island Advance

By Carol Ann Benanti | [email protected]
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Staten Island Museum is celebrating Black History throughout February, partnering with community organizations and individuals and offering intriguing programs to adults and children.

On tap will be a Black History Month Transcribe-a-thon, on Feb. 13, “Lunch and Learn: The Pecan,” on Feb. 17 with Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim, and a special exhibit of the FDNY 2001 Memorial Quilt on loan from the Sandy Ground Historical Society, which will be on view all month.

“We are honored to partner with such important organizations dedicated to Black history on Staten Island,” said Janice Monger, Staten Island Museum president and 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.”

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 in at the Staten Island Museum or virtually for the transcribe-a-thon. No previous experience is required. Training will be provided. Bring your own laptop or tablet.

The 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).

“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 Feb. 13th and then stay with the project for the many months it will take to finish the work,” said Debbie-Ann Paige, co-president of the Staten Island Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (SIAAHGS). Members are ready to do our part in making these invaluable records accessible online.”

Lunch and Learn: The Pecan with Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim, Thursday, Feb. 17 at noon

Virtual, Registration Required

Clementine Hunter has been described as one of the most important self-taught, contemporary American artists of the 20th Century. Organizers are asking participants to dive deeper into the content of her painting “Threshing Pecans” with botanist and educator Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim and join in for an exploration of the important history and cultural significance of the pecan — North America’s only native tree nut.

In conjunction with the exhibition 140 objects and related programming, three paintings by Clementine Hunter will be on view at the museum beginning Feb. 25: Threshing Pecans, Zinnias Looking at You, and Picking Cotton.

FDNY 2001 Memorial Quilt

In 2002, the members of the Sandy Ground Historical Society Quilting Group pieced and appliquéd a quilt to honor Black firefighters lost on Sept. 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.