Learning from Edgefield

Date and Time

Saturday, December 3, 2022

1–5:30 pm


The Met Fifth Avenue

The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Register now


Join us for presentations, performance, and dialogue to reckon with some of the complex issues at the heart of the exhibition Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, which features the work of enslaved potters in the 19th-century American South. With the insight of artists, historians, museum leaders, and preservationists, explore best practices around working with descendant communities and important African American cultural heritage sites, and consider how museums collect, display, and interpret objects created by enslaved makers.

This is the first in a series of public programs organized by the exhibition’s partner institutions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (exhibition on view through February 5, 2023), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (March 6–July 9, 2023), the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (August 26, 2023–January 7, 2024), and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (February 16–May 12, 2024).

1 pm

Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director, The Met

Introduction to the Exhibition
Adrienne Spinozzi
, Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts, The American Wing, The Met, and cocurator of Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

1:30 pm

Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian

2 pm

Session One: Memory and Place

Adebunmi Gbadebo, artist

Brent Leggs, Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, and Senior Vice President, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies, and Director, Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Columbia University

Moderated by Jason R. Young, Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan, and cocurator of Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

3:15 pm


3:45 pm


Helga Davis, vocalist and performance artist
Ashley Jackson, harpist

4:15 pm

Session Two: Collecting and Curation

Philip J. Deloria (Dakota descent), Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University

Tonya M. Matthews, President and CEO, International African American Museum, Charleston

Tiffany Momon, Public historian and Assistant Professor of History and Mellon Fellow, Sewanee, The University of the South

Moderated by Ethan Lasser, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and cocurator of Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

Free with Museum admission, though advance registration is required. Please note: For free programs, we generally over-register to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, though advance registration does not guarantee admission once the auditorium reaches capacity.

The program will be recorded and available to view on YouTube after the event.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

Masks are recommended, but not required.

See our visitor guidelines.

Assistive listening devices are available from the ushers.

Image: Storage jar (detail). Dave (later recorded as David Drake) (American, ca. 1801–1870s). Made at Stony Bluff Manufactory, Old Edgefield District, South Carolina. Alkaline-glazed stoneware; H. 22 5/8 in. (57.5 cm); diam. 27 in. (68.6 cm); circum. (widest): 72 in. (182.9 cm); 82 lbs (37.2 kg); approximately 25 gallon capacity. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Ronald S. Kane Bequest, in memory of Berry B. Tracy, 2020 (2020.7)


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