Public Memory, Place, and Belonging

Maryann Gobern Mathews, Jessica Frazier, Amelia Moore
Ongoing Project Funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the New England Humanities Consortium, and other regional grants.

In collaboration with the Gobern family and many other members of the local and regional community, we are developing a temporary, traveling exhibit, tentatively titled “Public Memory, Place, and Belonging: Unearthing the Hidden History of the Native and African American Presence on Block Island” about the multicultural history of the island that pays particular attention to the evolution of the Manissean community and interracial relationships over time. Scholars at the University of Rhode Island are collaborating with curators at a number of local museums with an interest in hosting this exhibit, which will include audiovisual content created by an award-winning documentarian, Native and colonial cultural material, archival and contemporary photographs, written records, and interpretive materials designed to provoke audience engagement. After its initial display at a number of regional museums, the exhibit may eventually find a permanent residence at the Gobern family homestead on Block Island, the future site of a Manissean community center.