The opening is a year later than planned because of delays in the restoration process. Residents were given a sneak peek of the work under way at last year's birthday celebration. Waiting a year, however, meant the museum opens for the 90th anniversary of Anthony's lifelong goal — passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women their long-delayed right to vote.
The former home of the Anthony family has been undergoing nearly four years of research and restoration. The 192-year-old house on East Road was built by Anthony's father, Daniel, who operated a store out of the first floor. Anthony was born in the house two years after it was built, likely in the south parlor looking out toward Tophet Brook where her father's textile mill stood.
Anthony and her parents moved from the area when she was a child to upstate New York, where she became a prominent writer and lecturer on abolitionism and women's right to vote. She frequently returned to the Mother Town to visit family until her death in 1906.
The house has been restored to reflect her childhood with exhibits looking at the wide-ranging legacy of Anthony including Quaker life, temperance, opposition to slavery and abortion, women's suffrage, and 19th Amendment, called by some the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
State Sen. Marian Walsh of Suffolk has been invited to be the guest speaker. She was the first woman from her district elected to both the House of Represenatives and the Senate. She is currently the Senate majority whip and is vice chairman of the Senate Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee and is a member of the Committees on Community Development and Small Business and on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.
Boston Magazine in 2003 named her one of "Boston's 100 Most Powerful Women."
"We are honored to have Senator Walsh address the Susan B. Anthony ribbon-cutting ceremony," said Sally Winn, the museum's executive director. "She embodies the ideals of women in leadership that was Anthony's life's work. Her service with Massachusetts tourism and cultural community is especially relevant to what we are doing with this Berkshire treasure, the childhood home of Anthony, indeed the nation's most famous daughter."
Following the ceremony, a birthday celebration with cake will be held at Memorial Hall in the Adams Free Library. Reservations are required for the party and limited seating is available for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Contact Mary Lou Beaudin at 413-743-3516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The museum and gift shop will be open for a free public preview from Monday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 21, from 10 to 4.
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I think that it would be appropriate for iBerkshires to do a story reflecting some of the discussion on this site a few months back, when the professional director was replaced with an executive director who's primary qualification for the job was having been a former director of "Feminists for Life". Ms. Crossed, who purchased the site is a leader in the anti-choice movement, and Susan B. Anthony is something of an anti-choice heroine, as of late. It's clear that the S.B.A. birthplace was not intended to be a straightforward historic site, but was intended as a subtle means of promoting the anti-choice agenda. The Transcript runs lots of straight press releases, and although iBerkshires has limited staff, it seems as if this might be an appropriate opportunity for some more in-depth reporting.
Editor: I want to see the exhibit in the museum before writing further on the issue.
That's fair enough, editor. However, I'd hasten to add that even if the content of the SBA birthplace isn't overwhelmingly political, I think that could work in favor of the founders' and executive director's intent. I'm sure they're intelligent people, and aware enough to understand that berating people with a political agenda is ineffective. Just the fact of having this birthplace, with a director who's experience and connections are in the political (not historic) arena, will make it an effective means of promoting the anti-choice agenda. Would the building have been purchased by Ms. Crossed if Susan B. Anthony wasn't a mascot of the anti-choice movement? Probably not. Would this particular executive director have been chosen? Certainly not.
Sounds like this editor is trying to do their job--view the exhibit before writing the story--kudos for gathering information before casting judgement. Aside from that, the historical record of Anthony's opposition to abortion is indisputable; of course the open question might be if she would still feel the same way today, after going through all the social changes of the 20th century--I don't think anyone can definitively answer that without their own personal prejudice on what is purely speculation anyway.
I find it interesting that NO media is willing to actually DIG into the truth behind these people. You would only need a little sand shovel. Their agenda is so clear that I wonder if the local media is actually afraid to dig. Perhaps positioning fact finders as opposition makes it easier. I hope someone has the integrity to explore the possibility of some truth. This mythological middle is tiring and draining. Give us some freakin truth eh? DIG! a little, please.