Celebrating Freethought History at the Ingersoll Museum’s 25th Anniversary Conference


August 22, 2018

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More than ninety people attended the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum Silver Anniversary Celebration this past weekend, August 18 and 19, where attendees connected with west-central New York State’s vibrant history of reason and reform.

Saturday was devoted to lectures and a banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse, where speakers included CFI president and CEO Robyn Blumner, Ingersoll museum director Tom Flynn, abolition experts Norman Dann and Dorothy Willsey, Matilda Joslyn Gage scholar Sue Boland, CFI Libraries director Tim Binga, and Ingersoll Committee chair Jeff Ingersoll. Melinda Grube delivered a costumed presentation as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Downey performed as Eva Parker Ingersoll, wife of Robert.

Attendees stream into the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, Dresden, N.Y.

The keynote address was by noted author and historian Susan Jacoby. A special award was

presented to the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust, which has supported the Ingersoll Museum over many years and which generously underwrote the event.

On Sunday, August 19, conference attendees boarded two luxury motor coaches to tour freethought, suffrage, and abolition sites on the Freethought Trail, a collection of over 100 locations in west-central New York State, which in the nineteenth century was a cauldron of radical reform movements that changed the world, such as freethought, woman’s suffrage, and the abolition of slavery.

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, you can still visit the Ingersoll Museum and the Freethought Trail and check out the Trail’s newly redesigned website for much more.

Attendees view another orientation video at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center in Fayetteville, N.Y.

Image at top of post: Attendees view the orientation video in the Ingersoll Museum’s James Hervey Johnson Display Room.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.