A Useable Past: Making an Old House Relevant at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
, Lecture Room

How can a historic house to see our our communities and our nation through fresh eyes, to question what we take for granted, and to image the possibility of a different—better—world?  At the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center we use our historic resources to examine our communities and ourselves, to make visible the structures and beliefs that enforce inequality, and to draw energy and inspiration from the beauty that surrounds us. First among these resources are Stowe’s house and Stowe’s story. Both are incredibly rich in their contemporary relevance—racism, religion, the power of the written word, and women’s experiences are just a few of the themes they engage.

Briann G. Greenfield (MA’96, PhD’02) is Executive Director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, an innovative historic house museum that promotes vibrant discussion of Stowe’s life and work and inspires commitment to social justice and positive change. From 2014 to June 2018, Dr. Greenfield, was Executive Director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Previously, Dr. Greenfield was Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University where she administered the department’s Public History Program and taught broadly across the curriculum. Dr. Greenfield received her M.A. in Museum Studies and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University. She is the author of Out of the Attic: Inventing Antiques in Twentieth-Century New England (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2009).