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Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center’s Permanent Exhibition “One More River to Cross” Wins 2019 AASLH Award of Excellence

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center’s Permanent Exhibition “One More River to Cross” Wins 2019 AASLH Award of Excellence

NASHVILLE, TN—May 2019—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for One More River to Cross, the permanent exhibition at the Heritage Center. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 74th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

 

Opened May 4, 2018, One More River to Cross is the permanent exhibition at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. The goal of the project was to reintroduce the forgotten history of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls and share the unique and courageous stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in this city. The Heritage Center surpassed these goals by creating an experiential museum filled with stories grounded in academic scholarship and brought to life in an immersive experience that blends historic recreations, artifacts, original fine art, music, narration, and multimedia interactive exhibits. While the Underground Railroad must be set within the broader context of the institutionalized system of slavery that once existed in the United States, slavery, per se, is not a primary focus at the Heritage Center. Rather, we focus on the strength and agency of the individuals who used the Underground Railroad to claim their own freedom. Freedom seekers themselves are at the heart of our stories. Moreover, the Heritage Center connects their stories to the continued struggle for all people to live free from oppression.

This year, AASLH is proud to confer fifty national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2019 AASLH Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, on Friday, August 30. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and maintains numerous affinity communities and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national training in-person workshops, and online training.

 

Media Contacts:

Emily Reynolds

Emily@niagarafallsundergroundrailroad.org

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

 

Bethany Hawkins

hawkins@aaslh.org

615-320-3203

AASLH

PHOTO: Copyright Kim Smith

Shaq Lawson Will Host 10 Local High School Student Athletes on a Tour of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Shaq Lawson Will Host 10 Local High School Student Athletes on a Tour of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Shaq Lawson will be hosting 10 local high school student-athletes on a tour of the Underground Railroad Museum in Niagara Falls, NY. The student-athletes are all high school football players from WNY.

Event Information for visit to The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center
When: 4:30 pm on June 4th, 2019
Who: Shaq Lawson and 10 Student-Athletes football players from Lackawanna, Bennett, Niagara Falls, Bishop Timon, and Orchard Park.
What: Shaq Lawson will be hosting 10 local student-athletes and touring the historic Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center in Niagara Falls, NY.
Post Tour: After the tour, Shaq will answer questions and take photos with the kids, staff, and guests of the museum.
Shaq Lawson Will Host 10 Local High School Student Athletes on a Tour of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Black History Month at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

We do black history every month

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center puts black history at the center of their programming all year round. During Black History Month and throughout the year, they celebrate everyday heroes of the Underground Railroad and today.

Freedom Conversation Tours, Every Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30am & 2pm, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Freedom Conversation Tours are the Heritage Center’s signature program. Rooted in stories of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls, these tours spark conversation and offer a space to consider the relationship between race, human rights, and freedom. The tours are a way to foster empathy, increase knowledge, and encourage action.

Second Saturday Story Time, Saturday February 9, 10:30am, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

February’s story time will feature stories of everyday activism.

Seeker Speaker Series featuring Anthony Cohen, Saturday February 16, 3pm, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

Patrick Sneed was a waiter at the Cataract Hotel who escaped slavery himself. After an encounter with bounty hunters, he was fraudulently charged with murder. His descendent Anthony Cohen will tell Sneed’s story, followed by a book signing of The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada.

Freedom Readers Book Club: Steal Away Home, Tuesday February 19, 6:30-8pm, Doris Jones Community Center

“Frost’s calmness puts the reader at ease in the passenger seat. . . . Steal Away Home completely embodies the definition of one’s life being bittersweet.” – The Chronicle Herald

Presented in partnership with the Doris Jones Resource Center, this club reads books about the legacy of slavery and fights for freedom. February’s book is Steal Away Home by award winning author and historian Karolyn Smardz Frost. A compelling work of narrative nonfiction, this book captures Cecelia Reynolds’ epic story of courage.

Black History Celebration, Friday, February 22, 5–9pm, $5, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

Join in celebration of Black History Month with a new art installation by Iris Kirkwood, music, bites, and beverages.

Seeker Speaker Series featuring Karolyn Smardz Frost, Saturday February 23, 3pm, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

Cecelia Reynolds came to the Cataract Hotel with her enslavers. One night, she slipped across the Canadian border to freedom. Karolyn Smardz Frost is an award winning author and historian who tells Cecelia’s story in the book Steal Away Home. A book signing follows her one-hour talk.

Black Expo 2019: An Entrepreneurial Extravaganza, Sunday February 24, 1–5pm, Free*, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

The Community Health Center of Niagara and Niagara Falls Office of Economic Development / NF MWBE Program, in partnership with the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, will host the second annual expo for Black-owned businesses of all kinds. From restaurant and caterers, to clothing, jewelry and handbag makers, to fitness, health and beauty providers, to insurance agents, tax preparation and more, the Black Expo supports and celebrates local business, black history, and the Niagara Falls Community.

*Black Expo admission is free, standard admission applies at the museum.

Black History Month at the Underground Railroad Heritage Center is generously supported by M&T Bank.

About the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is a new, experiential museum that reveals authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls, and aims to inspire visitors to recognize modern injustices that stem from slavery and take action toward an equitable society. Open since May 2018, the permanent exhibition, One More River to Cross, features the rich stories of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls, the crucial role played by its location and geography, and the actions of its residents – particularly its African American residents. The Heritage Center’s immersive exhibits and cutting-edge interpretation affirmatively align with the principles of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, whose mission is to connect the past to modern social justice issues – “to turn memory to action.”

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Shaq Lawson Will Host 10 Local High School Student Athletes on a Tour of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center announces M&T Free Field Trip February – free field trips for all Niagara County K-12 Schools during Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, M&T Bank is sponsoring M&T Free Field Trip February at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center.

During the month of February, Niagara County K-12 Schools can take a free guided tour through the museum, learn about the everyday heroes of the Underground Railroad, and get connected to their local history. Reimbursements for transportation costs may also available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Heritage Center can accommodate groups of 10 – 60 individuals (including students, teachers, and chaperones). Groups of this size should plan to spend 60 – 90 minutes onsite, including a tour and activities based on grade level, which are designed to engage students with the content in the museum, the Underground Railroad, and black history.

Tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, with the first time slot at 10 AM. Tours can be booked by emailing or calling 716.300.8477.