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Historic Smith's Tavern

Roebuck, SC
30 Bromley Road
Pittsford, NY 14534
Phone: (503) 308-0500

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Mad Dog Primer

University of Oregon

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Essex Heritage Announces New Virtual Fall Program Series “Redefining Heritage”

November 17 - December 8, 2020

October 23, 2020 – As a regional nonprofit that promotes the natural, cultural, and historic resources in Essex County, Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) believes it is important to recognize that these characteristics have deep roots within our communities in Essex County, and all aspects of those identities deserve recognition and understanding. As one of the many stewards in this region, Essex Heritage has a responsibility to be a catalyst for storytelling & community learning. That is why we are proud to produce three virtual panel discussions that seek to redefine aspects of heritage in the Essex National Heritage Area.

“We are very excited to introduce this new virtual series focusing on ‘redefining’ the various aspects of heritage in Essex County,” said Essex Heritage CEO, Annie Harris. “We are confident that the discussions will bring a new perspective to the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the regions and, because the series is offered without charge, we hope this information is accessible to a wider and more diverse audience.”

Essex Heritage hosted the first conversation in their new “Redefining Heritage” virtual fall program series on October 13. This informative talk covered the topic of “Redefining Access to Nature and Shaping our Environment”. Lesly Melendez, Deputy Director of Groundwork Lawrence, explained how the community of Lawrence has been instrumental in creating green spaces for the city, including the very successful Ferrous Site along the Spicket River Greenway. Rachel Schneider, Outreach Manager of Ipswich River Watershed Association, reinforced the importance of protecting and utilizing “our” environment, while conserving important natural resources. This talk in available online here:

The next conversion in this virtual series is “Redefining Heritage: The Struggle for Labor Equity in Essex County” and takes place on November 17 at 5pm. Salem State University Professor of History Aviva Chomsky, Ipswich Town Historian Gordon Harris, and Visitor Services Supervisor at Lawrence Heritage State Park Jim Beauchesne, will discuss the history of workforce strikes and protests in Essex County and the struggle for equitable labor practices, especially in immigrant communities. By looking at two examples from the early 20th century - the "Bread and Roses" Strike and the Ipswich Hosiery Mills Strike - we will examine how we are still fighting against the issues of inequity and unfair treatment of laborers today.

The final conversation entitled “Redefining Heritage: The Creative Economy and How we Value Arts & Culture” will take place on December 8 at 5pm. Chief Creative Officer for Creative Collective John Andrews, Planning Director for the City of Lawrence Pedro Soto, and Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Montserrat College of Art Nathan Lewis, will discuss how we can better integrate the arts and culture industry into our initial thinking and planning for our communities.

To improve accessibility for these virtual talks, live closed captioning is available during the presentation. The talks will also be uploaded to watch online. There will be a moderated Q & A session at the end of each presentation. All of these events are FREE but registration is required.

Thank you to our sponsors! Speaker Sponsors: Groom Construction, MerryFox Realty, Hall and Moskow-Tannery Marketplace,and Andrew Sidford Architects. Conversation Sponsors: DeIulis Brothers Construction Co., Inc.

About Essex Heritage and the Essex National Heritage AreaEssex Heritage is the non-profit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve and encourage recreation, education, conservation and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area comprises the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, MA. For more information, visit or call (978) 740-0444. 

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