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First Annual Director’s Lecture

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM
MSU Museum | Entry Hall


Rose’s Gift: Slavery, Grief, and Resilience in an Object of Memory

photograph of artifact Ashley's Sack New MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander shares his recent research on one of the most enigmatic artifacts on display in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Discovered ten years ago, “Ashley’s Sack” is a simple seed bag, on which is embroidered a haunting narrative of a nine-year-old girl, sold away from her mother in the mid-1800s. Dr. Auslander recounts his two-year quest to recover the identities of and the stories of the women recorded in the object’s needlepoint, and to reconstruct the history of their family across two centuries of slavery and freedom. As well, he discusses interpretive and display challenges posed by this heart-breaking object and reflects on the power and possibilities of museums, in our fractured, polarized era, for engaging diverse publics in productive explorations about race, power, and the burdens of history. 

Free and open to the public.

This lecture marks the start of the MSU Museum’s new membership drive.  Please support the work of the museum in safeguarding our shared heritages in science, culture, and art