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Watch: Reliquary of Blackness Video

Since 2017, Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke has received several grants from Mass Humanities to support an extensive history of the city’s Black population.

A new video, directed by Evan Goodchild and produced by Mass Humanities, chronicles the work of historian Erika Slocumb, Executive Director Megan Seiler, Doug Griffin, and many community members to produce, Reliquary of Blackness, an exhibit celebrating the enduring legacy of Black individuals, families, and organizations that have profoundly shaped Holyoke’s culture and commitment to community betterment.

A Reliquary of Blackness Chapter 2: A Legacy of Hope opened at Wistariahurst in September 2023.

Wistariahurst is a cultural and educational center owned and operated by the City of Holyoke and supported by The Wistariahurst Foundation. Wistariahurst is dedicated to preserving Holyoke’s history and inspiring an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wistariahurst is the former home of William Skinner, a prominent silk manufacturer and was built in 1874.

The video is made possible by the funding provided to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by the American Rescue Plan. In September 2021, Mass Humanities awarded grants to 90 organizations across Massachusetts to support the response and recovery of the cultural sector from the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus. Totaling nearly $1 million, the SHARP grants, including a grant to Wistariahurst, were made possible by NEH. Most grantees used the funding to sustain or recruit staff members.

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