Fall 2015 Newsletter - Vermont Humanities

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  • Vermont Humanities

    Autumn 2015









    ShackletonTwo Dramatic Tales of the

    Legendary Antarctic Expedition

    See page 3

  • Autumn for VHC programming is a time of both wrapping up and beginning anew: Looking back, almost 180 at-risk middle school students took part in week-long summer Humanities Camps at ten middle schools across the state (see page 5). And adult literacy students improved their skills at special VHC summer book programs. Looking ahead, a new series of early literacy training programs for childcare providers and parents of young children is about to begin this autumn. In addition, the First Wednesdays season that begins on

    October 7 promises outstanding free lifelong learning opportunities for thousands in nine regional sites statewide.

    Looking back to last years Fall Conference on the continuing effects of the Civil War on Americas civic and cultural life, VHC is proud to direct people to our website to find two summary best of videos, 68 and 16 minutes long. We encourage you to take a look, whether you attended that remarkable conference or not. Go to vermonthumanities.org/fallconf14films. The videos are enormously compelling, perhaps especially in light of both recent race-related events and the ongoing debate in the political sphere about federalism and the appropriate size and role of the federal government.

    Looking ahead, this years Fall Conference (see page 12) promises to be an exciting exploration of stories of many kinds, including stories in history, literature, religion, art, drama, video games, and more. The importance of stories is a theme explored by this years Vermont Reads book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie; while many Vermont towns began Haroun-related programs earlier in the year, other communities are now beginning their Vermont Reads activities in schools, libraries, and countless other venues.

    And speaking of exploring, with this newsletter we invite every Vermont community to participate in Vermont Reads Shackleton in 2016 the hundredth anniversary year of that legendary expeditions dramatic conclusion after ice crushed its ship, the Endurance (see next page). Vermont Reads Shackleton goes to show that even Antarctica, the only continent on earth without an indigenous human population and with very few inhabitants even today, has a compelling humanities history.

    We hope youll come explore with us heavy winter clothes optional.

    Exploring the Humanities to the Ends of the Earth with Stories, Talks, Antarctic Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, and More

    VermontReadsShackleton(2016)goestoshowthateven Antarctica,theonlycontinentonearthwithoutanindigenoushumanpopulationandwithveryfewhumaninhabitantseventoday,hasacompellinghumanitieshistory.

    Cover: Foreground, The Endurance stuck in sea ice, c.1916, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Background, Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina by Rodrigo Seplveda Schultz

    Peter A. GilbertExecutive Director

    Vermont Humanities CouncilBecause Ideas Matter11 Loomis StreetMontpelier, Vermont 05602Phone: 802.262.2626 Fax: 802.262.2620 E-mail: info@vermonthumanities.orgWeb: vermonthumanities.org

    StaffJoan M. Black, Administrative Assistant

    802.262.1358, jblack@vermonthumanities.org

    Amy Cunningham, Director of Community Programs 802.262.1356, acunningham@vermonthumanities.org

    Michael Dougherty, Community Programs Assistant 802.262.1355, mdougherty@vermonthumanities.org

    Jeff Euber, Communications & Literacy Assistant 802.262.1353, jeuber@vermonthumanities.org

    Peter A. Gilbert, Executive Director 802.262.1351, pgilbert@vermonthumanities.org

    Ryan Newswanger, Director of Communications 802.262.1354, rnewswanger@vermonthumanities.org

    Jan Steinbauer, Director of Literacy Programs 802.262.1352, jsteinbauer@vermonthumanities.org

    Ali White, First Wednesdays Director, Consultant awhite@vermonthumanities.org

    Linda Winter, Chief Financial Officer 802.262.1359, lwinter@vermonthumanities.org

    Linda Wrazen, Development Officer 802.262.1357, lwrazen@vermonthumanities.org

    BoardJim Alic, LudlowIrina V. Aylward, BarreWilliam Biddle, BarnetMary Ellen Bixby, Brattleboro Rolf Diamant, Woodstock Sarah Dopp, South BurlingtonBen Doyle, Montpelier, Vice ChairDan Fogel, ColchesterCarole Gaddis, PutneyTraci Griffith, Williston, Secretary Huck Gutman, Burlington Christine Hadsel, BurlingtonMajor Jackson, South Burlington, ChairDaniel Lerner, JerichoPenny McConnel, NorwichDavid Moats, SalisburyNancy Pennell, ChesterGilbert Steil, RyegateRobert F. Wells, South LondonderryJames Wilbur, South Londonderry

    Vermont HumanitiesThe Vermont Humanities Council newsletter, published three times a yearEditor: Jeff Euber


    perseverance, the nature of leadership, and the spirit of adventure and exploration. Readers will learn about the expedition itself, consider its historical context (including World War I, and Arctic and Antarctic

    exploration generally), and come to understand better what is happening today to ice in the Arctic, Antarctica, and glaciers worldwide. And they will marvel at Frank Hurleys spectacular photographs that survived, forming a stunning visual record of the expedition.

    2016 will be the fourteenth year of the Vermont Reads program, in which VHC invites Vermonters to read the same book (or, in this case, one of two related books) and participate in a wide variety of collaborative community activities related to its themes. To date, 197 different Vermont towns and cities have participated in Vermont Reads.

    VermontHumanitiesAutumn2015Page 3

    Exactly one hundred years ago, Sir Ernest Shackletons ship, the Endurance, was imprisoned and crushed by sea ice near Antarctica. It nearly cost his crew their lives, but all twenty-eight of them would survive one of the greatest adventure and survival stories of the twentieth century.

    The Vermont Humanities Council is pleased to announce the Vermont Reads books for 2016: Jennifer Armstrongs Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World and Caroline Alexanders The Endurance, Shackletons Legendary Antarctic Expedition. 2016 is the one

    hundredth anniversary year of the climactic and dramatic conclusion of the Endurance expedition (19141916).

    Vermont Reads Shackleton will afford Vermonters the opportunity to consider, among other things, the power of vision, courage, and



    The Endurance: Shackletons Legendary Antarctic ExpeditionbyCarolineAlexanderandShipwreck at the Bottom of the WorldbyJenniferArmstrong

    Take Part in Vermont Reads!

    Join Vermonters statewide by reading and exploring Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World and The Endurance: Shackletons Legendary Antarctic Expedition. With a brief application, schools, libraries, historical societies, service groups, businesses, churches, local governments, and others can partner in activities that promote literacy, encourage lifelong learning, and strengthen community.

    Application deadlines: December 4, 2015 and June 3, 2016

    Applications: vtreads.org or call 802.262.1355

    Underwriter Media Sponsor

    With support from the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation


    A brief application, submitted by a school, library, service organization, church, business, environmental group, or other community-based organization, is all it takes to get started.

    Join the Vermont Humanities Council, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his crew in an adventure in reading, discussing, and learning about the dramatic story of the Endurance expedition.

  • Page 4VermontHumanitiesAutumn2015

    News andNotes

    Revamped Speakers Bureau Catalogue Offers More Than Forty New Talks

    Staff and Board Farewells and Welcomes

    After more than twelve rewarding years, VHC bid farewell to Director of Communications Sylvia Plumb, who has moved on to exciting new professional opportunities. Sylvia has been in charge of VHCs publications, website, social media,

    e-newsletters, Civil War Book of Days publication, technological infrastructure, and more. She brought a consistent, compelling design to its publications,

    designed two clear and engaging websites, oversaw the creation of its logo, tag line, and much more. Her contribution to VHC has been enormous, we are enormously grateful, and we wish her the very best.

    After two and a half years, VHC also said goodbye to Max Matthews, Community Programs Assistant, who has relocated to Philadelphia. Max brought tremendous knowledge, skill, and ability to his critical and careful work administering six different Council programs. He also brought to

    his work a can-do attitude, a delightful sense of humor, and a rare ability to attend to administrative detail and accuracy while at the same time seeing

    opportunities to do things more efficiently and effectively, and implementing those changes.

    Soon after Maxs departure, VHC welcomed Michael Dougherty as its new Community Programs Assistant.

    Michael brings several years program management experience from StoryCorps, the national oral history project based in Brooklyn, NY.

    A DC-area native and longtime New Yorker, Michael moved to Montpelier temporarily in 2012, returning to the area full-time this summer. He holds a BA from New York Universitys Gallatin School of Individualized S