Coming to Historic Deerfield in May, 2024! Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in the Early American North will be on view at Historic Deerfield’s Flynt Center from May 1 to August 4, 2024.
As a corrective to histories that define slavery and anti-Black racism as a largely Southern issue, this exhibition offers a new window onto Black representation in a region that is often overlooked in narratives of early African American history.
Through 125 remarkable works including paintings, needlework, and photographs, this exhibition invites visitors to focus on figures who appear in—or are omitted from—early American images and will challenge conventional narratives that have minimized early Black histories in the North, revealing the complexities and contradictions of the region’s history between the late 1600s and early 1800s.
Vermont Furniture from the Alley Collection features an impressive array of 18th and 19th-century Vermont furniture recently donated to Historic Deerfield by collectors William and Patricia Passmore Alley. The exhibition highlights both published and unpublished material from the Alleys’ collection, showing how these objects reveal varied techniques and ornament as well as the characteristics of the environment in which they were made. Many examples in the exhibit retain their vibrant, original surfaces and are organized according to their decoration: solid and highly figured native wood, painted wood, ornamental painting on metal and glass, and veneer and inlay.