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Sunday, February 5 11 a.m.
Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke – Lecture and book signing by Ellen Alden
Free (Books for sale – $15)

First time author Ellen Alden presents her book, Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke, which is based on nineteen original Civil War letters from her great, great grandfather to his wife and children. It is a story of one Irish immigrant struggling to make it in America at a time when the nation is divided.

Irish immigrant Florence Burke lived in Massachusetts and worked as a tenant farmer. He came to America for a better life, but found his adoptive country less than hospitable. An opportunity arises that could make his dreams come true, but it involves great personal risk to both himself and his family. He recalls the gamble he took when he fled the Potato Famine in Ireland, and wonders if he could make a gamble on his life one more time? Will his wife and children understand his decision to join the war?

Ellen Alden is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont. She earned teaching degrees from Pepperdine University and Merrimack College Graduate School of Education. She worked as an Elementary School teacher and lives in Andover, MA.

This event is free, but registration is required.

Tuesday, February 7 3 p.m.
Docent Information Session

Are you interested in art, Irish history, communicating with people, and giving back to your community? If so, join us as a volunteer docent. An information session will be held on Tuesday, February 7 at 3 p.m. for potential docents to learn more information about the program (please RSVP to if you plan to attend). Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2017, and will be available at the information session and also online for those unable to attend.

Thursday, February 23 5 p.m.
The Irish on Elizabeth I: Queen or Conqueror – A Lecture by Dr. Brendan Kane

Did the Irish see Elizabeth I as their monarch, as an illegitimate leader of colonial aggression, or some combination thereof? This talk explores the fraught relationship between those resident in Ireland between the years 1558-1603 and “The Virgin Queen” who claimed sovereign lordship over them. Elizabeth I’s long reign is thought to have been one of England’s finest historical moments as it emerged on the international stage as a strong nation and budding empire. By contrast, her rule had dire and lasting consequences for Ireland and the Irish, most notably plantation, rebellion, forced religious change, and human and cultural destruction. How could “Good Queen Bess” and great literary lights of the English Renaissance like Edmund Spenser have been so “bad” when dealing with Ireland? What did the Irish themselves think of the Queen, and of the newly-arrived English living among them? Were Irish-English relations in the period always terrible, or were there moments of cooperation and areas of shared interest? This talk explores those questions from a range of English and Irish (Gaelic) sources, and aims to spark conversation on one of the most important and consequential periods in Irish and English history.

Dr. Brendan Kane is from Reading, Pennsylvania, and received a B.A. in history from the University of Rochester, an M.Phil in Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a PhD from Princeton. Prior to coming to the University of Connecticut in 2005, he spent a year as the NEH/Keough Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough Institute of Irish Studies. Currently he serves as UConn’s representative to the Folger Shakespeare Library and as Vice President of the Northeast Conference on British Studies.

This event is free, but registration is required.

Thursday, March 23 6 p.m.
Helena Byrne Storyteller/Singer Performance

Helena Byrne returns to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum. For those who missed her visit last year – please take this opportunity to attend!

Combining her love of Irish folklore and passion for the performing arts, Helena regularly performs as a seanchaí (Irish storyteller). Helena interweaves tales of the mysterious Fairy Folk with traditional Irish songs and wonderful insights into the Irish life of days gone by. Akin to the traditional travelling seanchaí of times past, Helena is renowned for bringing her spellbinding stories and songs to diverse audiences in settings large and small.

Helena has created a special program for Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum which tells the story of the Irish and their reliance on the potato, Irish emigration to the ‘New World’ and the growth of the Irish Diaspora. She also tells of the beliefs that Irish people had in times past, including superstitions, belief in the Fairy Folk and the Other World, and stories about these magical creatures. A selection of Irish folk songs are interwoven between these stories.

This event is made possible by the generous support of George Waldron.

This event is free, but registration is required.

Wednesday, April 26 3:30 p.m.
Pictures vs. Words? Public History, Tolerance, and the Challenge of Jacob Riis: A Lecture by Dr. Edward O’Donnell

Through his pioneering use of photography and muckraking prose (most especially in How the Other Half Lives, 1890), Jacob Riis earned fame as a humanitarian in the classic Progressive Era mold. Yet in recent years some revisionist scholars have denounced Riis as an unreconstructed racist who merely posed as a benevolent reformer. Riis’s words and photos provides the public historian with an extraordinary opportunity to delve into the complex questions of assimilation and Americanization, labor exploitation, cultural diversity, social control, and middle-class fear that lie at the heart of the American immigration narrative.

Edward O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a professional historian, author, speaker, teacher and podcaster. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. He is an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA.

O’Donnell is the author of several books, including: Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age America (2015); Visions of America: A History of the United States (co-author, 2012); and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History (2002).

This event is free, but registration is required.

Thursday, May 18
“Rebel Rossa” Documentary Screening

More information to follow.