The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for the museum’s multi-program project SISTERS. The AASLH Leadership in History Award, now in its 76th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
SISTERS is a KTM&HC initiative that includes public and school program components based on an original play titled “Sisters.” At the heart of the “Sisters” production lies the story of two women – Anna Resseguie, a white woman, and Phillis DuBois, a Black woman – who lived at the Resseguie Hotel, today the site of KTM&HC, in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The play explores the complicated dynamics of the women’s relationship. The play – co-written by Royal Shirée and Joanne Hudson, directed by Kimberly Wilson, and choreographed by Sharece Sellem – is informed by historical records from KTM&HC’s archives and the lived experiences and imaginations of its playwrights: Shirée is Black and Hudson is white. The play was staged for school and public audiences in 2020 (virtually, due to the pandemic), followed by programming and lessons for students and a community talkback for the public.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this award in recognition of the collaborative, meaningful work that went into producing and presenting the SISTERS project,” said KTM&HC Executive Director Hildegard Grob. “We are especially excited for KTM&HC to be acknowledged as a national leader in the field for our efforts to more authentically, intentionally, and inclusively tell our own site history.”
KTM&HC Director of Education Melissa Houston emphasized how the SISTERS project effectively delivered meaningful student programming about race and privilege despite pandemic-related restrictions: “This year brought many challenges for our students and heightened the importance of facing our town – and national – history head-on. We worked hard with the local teachers and our education volunteers to make sure that appropriate instructional technologies were used to engage with the difficult topics of race and gender in the nineteenth century. It is very humbling to have national recognition but also encouraging – KTM&HC’s school programs are a work in progress as we continue to build a more equitable presentation of history in our programs.”
This year, AASLH is proud to confer thirty-eight 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. The 2021 awards will be presented at a special reception on Friday, September 24 from 4:15-5:30 p.m., as part of the AASLH annual meeting in Little Rock, AR.
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.
Visit the Museum to learn more about the stories and collections behind our award-winning programming! KTM&HC is open for site admission, including tours and exclusive exhibits (including “A Land of Opportunity?” photography exhibit and film of the award-winning #HandsOnHistory project, “It Takes a Village”), Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Mondays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tours go out every hour on the half hour each day. The Museum Shop is open 12 to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. To book your next visit to KTM&HC, head to our website at www.keelertavernmuseum.org/visit.
About Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center