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Converging on the Canal: The 19th Century Through Food

April 22, 2021 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

As part of the Erie Canal Museum‘s ongoing Erie Eats: Erie Canal Foodways Project, April’s Lunchtime Lecture features Amanda Massie and Valerie Balint, Thursday, April 22 at 12 PM EDT. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the program will be streamed live on the Museum’s Facebook page. Please consider making a $5 donation, as is typical of all Lunchtime Lectures. Everyone who donates will receive a personal link to watch the lecture live on Zoom and participate in a Q&A session. Donations may be made through the Shop page of our website.

Few things are more universal than a need for food.  The 19th century in America brought massive growth of industry, movement of people, and avenues for social uplift. This had a direct impact on the evolution of food production, consumption, and dining practices across geographic and socio-economic lines. At the center of much of this change was the opening and expansion of the Erie Canal and the people who lived and worked on it.  Amanda Massie and Valerie Balint will discuss how the technology and ideas that moved along the Erie Canal shaped how Americans ate in the 19th century. They will discuss different communities associated with
the canal highlighting the diverse people who played a role in supplying American tables.

Amanda Massie is a curator with New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, serving 37 historic sites which encompass much of the state’s history. She works on exhibitions teams, develops furnishing plans, and provides research support for site staff. She received her B.A. in History from Virginia Tech and her M.A. in Public History from the University at Albany. She has been lecturing on historic foodways for nine years and has been a home cook for many more.

Valerie Balint is the Senior Program Manager for Historic Artist’s Homes and Studios (HAHS), a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is administered at Chesterwood (the former home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French) and the author of the newly released Guide to Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (Princeton Architectural Press, June 2020). HAHS is a nation-wide consortium of 44-member sites, that were the home and working studios of American artists. Prior to heading HAHS in beginning in spring 2017, Ms. Balint served for seventeen years on the curatorial staff at Frederic Church’s Olana, most recently as Interim Director of Collections and Research. She was co-organizer and co-curator of Olana’s annual exhibitions and accompanying publications. It was there that she began her research on historic foodways, in particular, those of the 19th century and Frederic Church’s family at Olana. She is a frequent lecturer and writer on preserved artists’ spaces, and American art and social history of the mid-19th and early 20th century. She is a classically and formally trained cook. Her previous work also includes curatorial positions at Chesterwood and the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio (also a HAHS site). She served as the New York State Coordinator of “Save Outdoor Sculpture,” a program of the Smithsonian American Art Museum to document all public sculpture in the United States. She holds her MA in Public History from the State University of New York, Albany.

Funded in part through the generous support of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

The Erie Canal Museum is partially supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


April 22, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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Erie Canal Museum