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About our leading programs

The Niagara Falls Underground Heritage Center’s core programs support our vision, To be at the forefront of Underground Railroad interpretation by encouraging visitors to take action for civil and human rights and creating global change that begins in the Niagara Falls community.” Funding is critical in upholding our most signature programs by instilling change in the Western New York community and the museum field. Support to the Heritage Center in the name of these programs will make a lasting impact to support our organization’s vision.

Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to any of our programming initiatives at info@niagarafallsundergroundrailroad.org

Denise Easterling Fellowship Program

The Denise Easterling Fellowship Program aims to lift up and honor a local heroine who served as a powerful role model for youth and others in the community.  Ms. Easterling, who passed away in February 2021, was instrumental in the creation of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center.  Ms. Easterling was the founder of Underground Railroad Tours by Denise (UGRR TBD). Since 1993 UGRR TBD provided consultation, research, guided tours, lectures, and presentations about Underground Railroad (UGRR) activity in Niagara Falls/County, specifically, and general African American history surrounding the UGRR. She served as a founding member of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Commission’s board of directors.

The Easterling Fellowship Program is envisioned as a holistic framework for creating and maintaining a supportive pipeline for museum professionals at the Heritage Center that accommodates the nuances and challenges of traditional entryways into and upward mobility within the museum profession for individuals from historically underrepresented communities. Fellows in the program will come from historically underrepresented communities in the museum field.

Freedom Conversation Program

During a Freedom Conversation program, our professional staff uses the facilitated dialogue arc of questioning method to encourage visitors to make connections between the institution of chattel slavery and present-day social injustices. Moreover, through the facilitated dialogue format, they begin to understand the universal desire for personal freedom. A goal of the program is to inspire visitors to take this awareness and find their own role in creating a just society after they leave the Heritage Center.  The viability of this program relies on maintaining professional staff to deliver the program through the Visitor Experience Team and the ability to market this program as an adaptable program suitable for children and adults.

Accessibility for All

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is dedicated to making museums accessible and equitable to underserved populations. We understand that there are many social and financial barriers to many children and families coming to museums that we aim to make more accessible.  Museums inspire understanding and connections for communities and the Heritage Center is dedicated to the Of/By/For model to make museums more equitable.

Support to this initiative allows us to grow, maintain, and offer these free programs by providing staff and resources to invest in them. 

Learn more about the programs outreach programs we offer here. 


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