Explore the history of the Erie Canal Corridor in more depth with these hybrid evening speaking programs. Registrants will be able to participate live either in-person or on Zoom and will receive a recording link that will be viewable for 30 days after the talk.

Note: We are unable to offer refunds for event reservations or donations. Please be sure you can attend prior to contributing. All event reservations/ticket sales/donations are final, unless the Museum cancels the event.

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Women in the World of Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, October 11 @ 6:00PM

In Women in the World of Frederick Douglass, Leigh Fought illuminates the life of the famed abolitionist off the public stage. She begins with the women he knew during his life as a slave: his mother, from whom he was separated; his grandmother, who raised him; his slave mistresses, including the one who taught him how to read; and his first wife, Anna Murray, a free woman who helped him escape to freedom and managed the household that allowed him to build his career. Fought examines Douglass’s varied relationships with white women-including Maria Weston Chapman, Julia Griffiths, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Ottilie Assing–who were crucial to the success of his newspapers, were active in the antislavery and women’s movements, and promoted his work nationally and internationally. She also considers Douglass’s relationship with his daughter Rosetta, who symbolized her parents’ middle class prominence but was caught navigating between their public and private worlds. Late in life, Douglass remarried to a white woman, Helen Pitts, who preserved his papers, home, and legacy for history.

By examining the circle of women around Frederick Douglass, this work brings these figures into sharper focus and reveals a fuller and more complex image of the self-proclaimed “woman’s rights man.”

Borderland Blacks: Two-Way Movement in Central and Western New York

Tuesday, August 8 @ 7:00 PM

In the early nineteenth century, Rochester, New York, and St. Catharines, Canada West, were the last stops on the Niagara branch of the Underground Railroad. Blacks in the two cities shared newspapers, annual celebrations, religious organizations, and kinship and friendship ties. Too often, historians have focused on the one-way flow of fugitives on the Underground Railroad from America to Canada when in fact the situation on the ground was far more fluid, involving two-way movement and social collaborations. Black residents possessed transnational identities and strategically positioned themselves near the American-Canadian border where immigration and interaction occurred. In all, this talk reveals that physical separation via formalized national barriers did not sever concepts of psychological memory or restrict social ties. This talk, featuring dann. J. Broyld, Associate Professor in African American History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and author of the recent published Borderland Blacks, will be available both in person and virtually.

History & Shipwrecks, A Legacy of the Erie Canal: A New Survey of Seneca Lake Reveals Canal-era Shipwrecks.
Thursday, May 18 @ 7:00 PM
Canal freight boats, which like todays tractor trailers, became the backbone of commerce, were built by shipyards all along the Erie Canal. This dynamic inland transportation system helped define New York as the Empire State and transform New York City into the nation’s principal seaport. When the Seneca Lake Survey began in 2018, very few examples of these first generation canal boats had been located or studied. Researchers from the Finger Lakes Boating Museum working in partnership with several New York State agencies, and in anticipation of the Erie Canal Bicentennial Anniversary coming in 2025, initiated a new underwater survey in Seneca Lake. Today, Seneca Lake is known for its beauty and the vineyards that surround it. What is little remembered is that by the mid-19th century, Seneca Lake had become a significant link in the inland transportation system and a connection hub to three early canals. The Seneca Lake underwater survey was initiated to determine what of that historic legacy might still be contained beneath the surface.

For more than four decades, nautical archaeologist Art Cohn has located, documented and advocated for the public value of shipwrecks. Art is an Affiliated Scholar at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology & Texas A&M University and the Principal Investigator of the Seneca Lake Survey Project. Art is Director Emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and his talk will present the project’s research findings to date.


After the Whirlwind: Maintaining a Haudenosaunee Place at Buffalo Creek, 1780-1825


Join the Erie Canal Museum and Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center in welcoming renowned Haudenosaunee scholar Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, PhD, of ATW Research to the Weighlock Gallery. Dr. Mt. Pleasant will discuss Buffalo Creek reservation focusing on the community’s history between the Revolutionary War and the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Buffalo Creek was a site of recovery and resistance where Haudenosaunee people debated rapidly changing circumstances and developed strategies that enabled persistence in the face of settler colonialism. This talk will be available both in person and virtually.

The Deeper Dive Lecture Series is made possible with the support of the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation.