A New Deal at Slate Valley Museum
On First Friday, May 6, the Slate Valley Museum (SVM) opens their exhibition. ‘A New Deal for the Hills and Valleys’ that tells the story of the effect Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs had on the Slate Valley. Nearly 10,000 artists were out of work during the Great Depression when Roosevelt took office as president in 1933; over the next decade thousands were put to work through the WPA and like programs. A large mural in the museum’s collection by Martha Levy titled ‘Men Working in the Slate Quarry’ was commissioned in 1939 under the Works Projects Administration (WPA) to be hung in the Granville High School. Another of Levy’s painting will be on view during the exhibition from the Woodstock Historical Society. Research and education coordinator Bob Isherwood states “Martha Levy’s work as an artist in the 1930s and 40s celebrates another valley – the Hudson Valley – and the art community of Woodstock, N.Y.”
The exhibition also features photos, artifacts and art that will explain theNew Deal’s alphabet soup of agencies and tells of the slate industry during the Great Depression. The exhibit runs through November 4.
Starting May 18, SVM will host a monthly ‘Fireside Chats’ lecture series on the third Wednesday of each month through October. The first speaker is Dr. Christopher Breiseth, former President and CEO of the Franklin and Eleanor Institute at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, N.Y. and executive director of the Francis Perkins Center. Perkins served FDR when he was Governor of New York and President., and the talk will reflect on her role in developing New Deal programs as the first female cabinet member in her position as Secretary of Labor.
The museum will also have music programs related to the popular music of the time. Look for our full calendar of events at slatevalleymuseum.org.
Members of the Vermont Slate Quarry Association (VSQA) raised $3,650 in funding in support of the exhibit. “The Slate Valley Museum does an excellent job with preserving our region’s heritage and educating its visitors on the slate industry … a huge driving force for growth in this part of this region during the early 1900s, and still a pillar of our community today, so we are glad to see the Museum do things like this,” stated Clay Heald, member of VSQA.