Posted: August 4th 2015
The Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights Program partnered with Women’s Rights National Historical Park for Convention Days in Seneca Falls this month with a two hour panel discussion entitled Defining Feminism Today. Four Girl Ambassadors, along with several college students from all over the New England area, shared their opinions and experiences in front of a packed Wesleyan Chapel. The discussion was based on the topics originally raised in the Declaration of Sentiments 164 years ago, including education, marriage and family, religion, voting and political participation, and media. The panel followed moving readings of the Declaration of Sentiments and the Declaration of Sentiments for Muslim Women.
Convention Days celebrate Seneca Falls as a center for the advancement of women’s rights and human rights as a whole. This year’s Convention Days marked the 164th anniversary of the first Women’s Rights convention in Seneca Falls, which took place in 1848.
Posted: July 31st 2015
Vote for the Gage Center now!
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation has been nominated for the 2015 Laci’s Tapas Bar Give Back Celebration!
Please visit Laci’s Tapas Bar’s Facebook page, and vote for Gage by liking our logo in the charities album.
All votes MUST be in by August 3rd at 3pm.
Don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and family so we can be the recipient of thousands of dollars from Laci’s Tapas Bar’s 5th Annual Give Back Celebration on Thursday, August 20, 2015.
(May only vote once)
Posted: July 24th 2015
It’s not often that you receive letters from people who are no longer present in body, but since I am so much with you in spirit I decided to reach out to you directly. I hope you can find it possible to make a gift to the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.
So much has been happening at my house and in my name! I am so proud of Sally Roesch Wagner and the board for their hard work over the past year to make sure the Gage Center kept going. I would say that I will miss Sally, who has retired to become our founding director, but we of course all know that where she goes, I am also always there.
You see, there is a lot of freedom in being a spirited spirit, for I’m able to be in several places at once. I am with Dave Kellogg as he gives tours and makes my old home come alive once again. At last Saturday’s tour, listening to a Junior Girl Scout quoting my old friend Lucretia Mott, I realized she was standing almost exactly where Lucretia once stood. I eavesdrop on inspirational and provocative dialogue concerning human trafficking (in the Underground Railroad Room) and Native-American rights (in the Haudenosaunee Room.)
I am with the 16 amazing teen women who are the current Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights. I even went along on their spring trip to DC!! Their monthly conversations and mentor interviews are complex and wide ranging. There is nothing that stirs me more than listening as these future leaders explore my ideas and their place in today’s world.
And finally I am with the board as they work so very hard to raise money – for the house, for the Girl Ambassadors, and for my legacy. I watch them writing grants, building the board, developing the gift shop – all to insure my house stays open, my beliefs are honored and my vision is empowered.
Will you help in this effort? Your support not only keeps my beautiful home in Fayetteville open for all to enjoy, but also keeps my voice alive into the future through the “Write on our Walls” campaign and the Girl Ambassadors program.
Thank you for believing in the power of change,
Matilda Joslyn Gage
P.S. I would love to hear about the best and most engaging experience you ever had in connection with my home and my legacy. Sarah Flick, our Site Director, tells me she would be happy to collect these stories if you email her. Thank you again for your support!
To send a tax-deductible donation now, click the PayPal* button below.
*If you do not have a PayPal account, enter the donation amount then click “continue” on the lower left:
Posted: July 16th 2015
Our summer newsletter is now available! Click here for an interactive version.
Posted: July 13th 2015
Special thanks to The Gifford Foundation for their recent funding of the first phase of our proposed gift ship renovation. Our unique combination of human rights, local history, and women’s issues positions us a “one-stop-shop” for civic minded shoppers. The gift shop is a direct extension of our mission, which is to engage the public on contemporary social justice issues. It is because of the Gifford Foundation’s generous support that we can begin to move forward and truly realize this vision.
For those who have visited the house and have seen our current gift shop, we would love your input on our decor, layout, and stock! Check out our current offerings by visiting our online gift shop.
Adena, an intern from FM
The Gifford Foundation’s grant will help fund Phase 1 of our proposed Gift Shop renovation.
The Gifford Foundation was established in 1954 as a private foundation serving Syracuse and the surrounding Central New York community. The Foundation supports individuals and organizations through grants and initiatives that build on community assets and promote positive change in the community. For further information visit the website at www.giffordfoundation.org.
Posted: July 9th 2015
This past month, the Matilda Joslyn Gage House hosted the end-of-year celebration for Girl Scout troop 10586. Through touring the museums exhibits and learning about the history rooted here, the troop was able to earn the “Playing the Past” badge. The badge requires each young girl to research strong women in history and present what they’ve learned, something we were more than happy to facilitate. We were blown away by the depth of research and obvious passion for women’s rights displayed by each of the 10 5th graders. Three of the girls chose to research suffragists, and one member focused specifically on Matilda Joslyn Gage.
After both parents and girls got an interactive tour of the house, it was the girls’ turn to present! Each group was allotted 15 minutes to convey their interpretation on their respective role models in the woman’s suffrage movement. Their obvious enthusiasm for women’s rights continues the legacy of equality and activism that began in this very house. It is nice to see a new generation step forward, and we hope some of these girl will apply to our Girl Ambassador Program when they’re older!
As with the many other Girl Scout Troops that we’ve hosted this year, it was a true pleasure to share an afternoon of ideas (and snacks!) with Troop 10586. We wish them well as they continue their journey towards embodying the Girl Scout mission of “courage, confidence, and character.”
Posted: June 25th 2015
The Gage Foundation will be featured in an upcoming documentary! Celebrate local history with us by attending the premiere:
Trailblaze a Path Through History: Central New York premieres July 15 at the American Foundry in Oswego. This short film shares the stories behind Central New York’s history, and uncovers a trail of innovation and reform that has shaped our region to this day. Many forward thinkers from years past are featured, including influential suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Hope to see you there!
For ticket information please click here.
Posted: June 2nd 2015
Girls Ambassador Reflection: Trip to Washington D.C.
Written by: Athena Czerwinski Burkard, a sophomore from Manlius Pebble Hill
On April 6th, the Girl Ambassadors and mentors traveled down to Washington, DC. We played games, sang, and talked about the next two exciting days while on the bus. We arrived at the 4H Conference Center, unpacked our bags and headed out for our first adventure, the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to women’s art. We saw many paintings and sculptures from modern day and Renaissance periods. These many art pieces showed us the perspectives of different women over time. Next, we walked a few blocks down to the National Portrait Gallery, where we saw a beautiful portrait of some of the most influential women of our time: The Four Women Justices! To finish the first night, we ate at a Thai restaurant, and then headed back to the 4H. The Girl Ambassadors and mentors all played games then went to bed.
The next day, we started by going to the Smithsonian Museum and The Museum of the American Indian. We had a tour guide, who explained the amazing architecture of the building, and the connections of the Native American culture to where we live in Central New York. From there, we walked to the Holocaust museum. We split up into groups and saw the different exhibits. One exhibit that I found especially interesting was the Cambodian genocides. This was an eye-opening exhibit for many of the girls. It was fascinating to see the primary sources from this exhibit, such as quotes and videos of the people affected by the event. The last museum we went to was the American History Museum. We received a special presentation from many of the curators at the museum. We learned about what their jobs are like, and their upcoming exhibit on immigration. We then saw some of the most famous artifacts including Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Julia Child’s kitchen, and the First Ladies’ dress collection. This was a great way to end our visit of the Smithsonian Museums! After that we walked the National Mall, ending at the Lincoln Memorial.
The third day was filled with Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) visits. We started off at Plan International, learning about how the organization developed their program for women. Second, we visited Women for Women International, which talked about their program and how they educate many women. They also spoke about how they educate men as well, and how that has affected the women they worked with in a positive way. It was very interesting to hear about their experiences in many different countries, and how they make it easier for women to be educated by paying them every month for their participation in the program. After Women for Women, we got to see the DC area a little more. We ate lunch, finding restaurants full of crepes and frozen yogurt. Then we headed to our last NGO, Oxfam America. Oxfam works mostly in foreign countries, but also works with American companies to make them more accountable for where they buy their goods. They also work in areas with natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
This trip was an invaluable experience to have. All of the Girl Ambassadors bonded during the trip and got to know each other even better. We learned about women’s rights history throughout many different time periods, cultures, and modern times. It was exciting to hear everyone’s opinion during the trip on what we visited and how it connected with human and women’s rights!
To learn more about the Girl Ambassadors program, join us at this year’s Girls Ambassadors Celebration Brunch. The event is free, but seating is limited. Click here to reserve your tickets now!
Posted: May 22nd 2015
This Memorial Day, join us in remembering Fayetteville’s Civil War veterans with a new, self-guided tour of the Fayetteville Cemetery.
Download the full brochure here.
Posted: May 11th 2015
Every year, Pat Bentley’s 7th Grade English class at Manlius Pebble Hill School holds an essay contest. The student who writes the most persuasive essay about an activity or local destination wins a trip for the whole class. This year’s winning essay, written by Lucia Oesterlund, brought the 7th graders to the Gage home. Check out her winning essay, as well as photos from the class trip.
The car stops in front of a colonial style mansion, with towering Doric columns reaching to the roof. This is the Matilda Gage house. A historic wonder that takes you back to the early nineteenth century, a time of great social change. In the middle of all this social turmoil was Matilda Gage, a woman who spoke her mind and fought for about every social justice issue there was in her day, including abolition, women’s rights, religious freedom, and Haudenosaunee rights. Not to mention that her house was one of the stops of the Underground Railroad. So now imagine learning about all these important historical movements in just one museum and about how one woman could do so much. Why go to five different museums to learn about local history, when you can go to the Matilda Gage house and learn it all? I think this would be the optimal location for the seventh grade class trip.
When visitors enter the Matilda Gage house through a lovely white door, the first thing you see is a cute little gift shop containing postcards, soaps, books and much more. This room even has an antique cash register open to be examined and played with. Here the tour guide will greet the class and escort us to a new room where a screen shows a short film incorporating a timeline of Matilda Gage’s life and accomplishments. After this the tour guide will lead us through several different rooms each containing a new topic and many interactive activities. The tour ends after about an hour in the gift shop where you are welcomed to buy books and souvenirs related to Matilda. Some items have a fun exception that they cost about thirty cents less for women. This is to emphasize the fact that for every dollar a man would make a woman would make seventy cents.
This tour is not just fun and interactive; it’s also very educational, including information on slavery, the Huadenasonee and 19th century local history that can easily be related to what we’re learning in history class today. The significance of Matilda Gage in US History is not well known because Susan B. Anthony attempted to erase her from history because of their different perspectives on woman’s suffrage. While Susan B. Anthony believed that the woman’s suffrage movement should combine forces with conservative religious groups to fight for the right for woman to vote, but Matilda disagreed. After Matilda Gage died Susan B. Anthony slowly began to take her name out of books Matilda had helped to write, until she became a minor figure in history. The Matilda Gage house tour also relates to what we are learning in history about slavery and abolition. A famous quote by Matilda Gage on slavery is, “there can be no permanent peace until the cause of war is destroyed. And what caused the war? Slavery! And nothing else. That is the cornerstone and keystone of the whole. The cries of the down-trodden millions arising to the throne of God.” Matilda Gage had a strong commitment to abolition, as well as woman’s rights. All students should know the inspiring story Matilda Gage’s life.
After everyone has learned, shopped and experienced everything the Matilda Gage house has to offer, the whole class can be treated to tea and biscuits, for only an extra payment of $3 to complete this wonderful experience. The trip only costs $5 per student and is 3.7 miles away or ten minutes drive from MPH. The director of The Matilda Gage House is an MPH graduate named Sarah Flick.
Matilda Gage’s inspiring life should be known to all young women and men. She’s a great role model and her life story teaches children of all ages never to give up and never to let anything stand in the way of your dreams. Matilda Gage once said, “Do not allow the Church or State to govern your thought or dictate your judgment.”
– Lucia Oesterlund, 7th Grade
“Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.” Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
“Matilda Joslyn Gage.” Famous Quotes by. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Savion, Susan. Quoting Matilda. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2014. Print.
Flick, Sarah. “Matilda Gage.” Interview by author. March 2, 2015
Wagner, Sally Roesch. Matilda Joslyn Gage: She Who Holds the Sky. Aberdeen, SD: Sky Carrier, 2002. Print.
Posted: April 3rd 2015
Join us at Cafe at 407 for our Spring Fundraiser on Saturday, April 18th at 6:30 PM.
Posted: December 29th 2014
Our winter newsletter is here! Click below to download a PDF, or email us at email@example.com for a clickable version.
Winter Newsletter 2014
Posted: December 18th 2014
With your support, we continue to put the ideas and ideals of Matilda Joslyn Gage into practice in the 21st century in new and exciting ways:
- The Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights Program continues to grow, now with students representing a record 12 different high schools from Syracuse, Onondaga Nation, Onondaga County, and surrounding counties
- New partnerships and collaborations developed, including Cazenovia College’s CreateAThon and Syracuse University’s Community Link Program
- Volunteers, from docents to gardeners to office helpers, logged over 1,000 hours this year as we shared Matilda’s message from our house in Fayetteville to the wider community
Thank you, for the part YOU have played in this story, as a financial donor or as a volunteer. With your ongoing support, we can do even more in 2015, including:
- A revamped gift shop, with exciting new inventory
- Girl Ambassadors’ trip to Washington, DC, to meet with leaders from Women for Women International and other influential NGOs
- More regularly scheduled hours for visitor-inspired AND docent-led tours, to make it even easier for individuals and groups to plan their visits
Your year-end gift (tax-deductible) will help us take Matilda’s legacy – of an inquiring mind, an activist spirit, and a passionate commitment to human rights – into the future.
Thank you for joining us in this vital and enGAGEing work.
Best Wishes to You and Yours in the New Year,
Sarah Flick, Site Director Holly Austin, Board President
Posted: September 30th 2014
Bernice Ende left the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home and rode her horse through Fayetteville. Her destination was the Canal Feeder. The “clip-clop” sound of horseshoes over a wooden bridge echoed the long-forgotten sounds of the mules that pulled boats along the Erie Canal more than 150 years ago.
Bernice is a Lady Long Rider. A Long Rider is someone who takes extremely long horseback rides, and a Lady – well, that is self-explanatory. She politely and patiently answered questions from this reporter. “Where did you start your journey, and where are you headed?”
Bernice Ende with Montana Spirit and Essie Pearl standing in front of the Gage Home
“I started at my home in north-western Montana and will eventually complete an elliptical round trip between Vancouver in Canada and the coast of Maine. Half will be in the United States and the other half in Canada.”
“Do you mean you will ride your horses all that way?”, the reporter asked incredulously.
“Of course!”, Bernice replied. “The only place I could not ride was Detroit. I had to use a horse trailer to go 100 miles around the city.”
“Where do you stay at nights?”
“I camp out and sleep with my horses; no motels or hotels at all. I don’t carry a cell phone, and I’ll be gone for 2 ½ years, traveling 8,000 miles.”
“Did you have a specific reason for undertaking this near-impossible journey?”
“Yes, I am celebrating the 100th anniversary of women winning the vote in Montana.” [*Note: women could not vote in the U.S. until 1920, but Montana was more progressive.] That is why I came to the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home. I also stopped at Seneca Falls [site of the 1st Women’s Rights Convention] and the home of Susan B. Anthony.
The reporter asked Bernice what she thought of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home.
“It was the best experience of all. Matilda was the strongest leader of all of them.”
“Do you always ride the same horse?” “I’m riding Spirit today. Pearl is the packhorse. Tomorrow, I’ll switch and ride Pearl.”
“What will you do in winter?”
“I’m going to return to Central New York. There is a lot I can learn here. All I’ll need is a shed for the horses.” “
What! Do you know what our Central New York winters are like!”
“Do you know what a northern Montana winter is like?”
And so this reporter said farewell to the Lady Long Rider. He stood by the bridge over the Erie Canal and watched Bernice ride along the towpath, trailing a horse behind her. He wondered where she would find a camping place later in the day.
– Dave Kellogg
Board Member, Docent Extraordinaire
Read the Syracuse.com article about Bernice’s visit here. Visit Bernice’s website to learn more about her epic journey!
Posted: September 11th 2014
Oh, September in Central New York. For Matilda, September was the month when she gave her first public address at the third National Women’s Rights Convention in Syracuse, NY (1852). The month she and Henry moved from the Village of Manlius to the beautiful Fayetteville home (1854) we know so well, and the month she spent hard at work planning her famous protest with the New York City Woman Suffrage Association at the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty (1886).
For the Gage Center, it’s the kickoff of a season full of exciting new and returning programming! Here are some highlights of the season’s events:
- The Gage Center will host Spooky Story Time from 5:30-8:30PM on September 26, 27 and October 3, 4 (the same nights as OHA’s “Fayetteville Phantoms” ghost walks). Enjoy OHA’s ghost walk while Matilda and friends entertain your children (ages 5+) with tales of the past in the Oz Family Parlor. Arts and crafts will also be available. Light refreshments will be provided. Reservations required by September 19th. $6 per child, $8 after deadline. Parents may attend for free! Please contact Sarah at 315-637-9511 for more information and to make reservations.
- Sue Boland, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center historian, will again offer her popular walking tours of historic Fayetteville. All walking tours start at 2PM. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors. Download the complete schedule of walking tours, including descriptions of each tour, by clicking here. Fall2014WalkingTours
- You can also visit our Facebook page for detailed event info and updates.
Sunday, September 14: Fayetteville’s Boom and Power of Water (Neighborhood Tour)
Saturday, September 20: Fayetteville Festival
Monday, September 22: Girl Ambassadors application deadline
Friday, September 26: Spooky Story Time
Saturday, September 27: Spooky Story Time
Sunday, September 28: Matilda and Friends, Together Forever (Cemetery Tour)
Friday, October 3: Spooky Story Time
Saturday, October 4: Spooky Story Time
Sunday, October 19: The War Against Slavery in the North (Neighborhood Tour)
Sunday, November 2: Votes (and voting) for Women (Neighborhood Tour)
Posted: September 11th 2014
Please note that the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation has been experiencing technically difficulties with our email accounts. We have now successfully transferred to a new system, and all problems have been resolved. If you attempted to contact us between August 25th and September 9th and have not heard back, please resend your message to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Thank you for your understanding!
Posted: August 19th 2014
The latest Gage Center newsletter is here! Click below to download it as a pdf, or join our mailing list by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August Newsletter 2014
Posted: July 3rd 2014
Join us for an engaging evening with Kimberly Hamlin, author of From Eve To Evolution, as she explores the fascinating relationship between evolutionary science and Gage-era feminism.
While you’re here, be sure to check out the museum and reacquaint yourself with all things Gage!
6:30PM – 8:30PM
July 9, 2014
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center
210 E. Genesee Street
Fayetteville, NY 13066
– Donations Requested –
About From Eve to Evolution
In her landmark book Woman, Church and State, Matilda Joslyn Gage challenged literal interpretations of the Genesis creation story and urged readers to resist any religion which held that women were inherently inferior to men. Darwinian evolutionary theory offered a new creation story and provided forward-thinking women like Gage with scientific evidence that perhaps Adam and Eve never existed. From Eve to Evolution traces many of the women in Gage’s circle and analyzes the ways in which they used evolutionary science for feminist purposes. It provides the first full-length study of American women’s responses to evolution and illuminates the role science played in the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement. Kimberly A. Hamlin reveals how a number of nineteenth-century women, raised on the idea that Eve’s sin forever fixed women’s subordinate status, embraced Darwinian evolution as an alternative to the Genesis creation story and as evidence for their beliefs that women’s professional labor and reproductive autonomy were “natural.”
About Author Kimberly Hamlin
A native of Syracuse (West Genesee High School class of 1992), Kimberly Hamlin directs the American Studies Program and is Associate Professor of American studies and history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Hamlin’s teaching and research focus on the intersections of science, gender, and culture. She is the author of From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2014). Her article, “‘The Case of a Bearded Woman': Hypertrichosis and the Construction of Gender in the Age of Darwin” (American Quarterly, Dec. 2011), earned her the Nineteenth Century Studies Association’s Emerging Scholar Award for 2012. Hamlin has held research fellowships at the Huntington Library, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard, the Sophia Smith Collection, and the Countway Library on the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, among other institutions. Her dissertation (University of Texas, 2007) was a finalist for two national awards: the Organization of American Historians’ Lerner-Scott Prize for the Best Dissertation in U.S. Women’s History (2008) and the American Studies Association’s Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize (2008). Hamlin also served as historical consultant for the PBS documentary “Troop 1500:Girl Scouts Beyond Bars” and as a research assistant for Ken Burns’ documentary on the national parks.
Learn more here.
Posted: June 26th 2014
It has been a very exciting time at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation over the past six months and we are happy to report that our reorganization is complete and the future of the organization continues to be carefully shaped by the mission and vision from which it was founded. The following three statements by Founding Director, Sally Roesch Wagner, Board President, Holly Austin, Esq., and new Site Director and Girl Ambassador Program Director, Sarah Flick will give you a measure of the direction, dedication and passion involved in the future of Gage.
In the words of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center’s Founding Director, Sally Roesch Wagner, “I was well aware of the “founder syndrome” – the all-too-frequent case where the founder sticks around too long, the organization stagnates, and finally dies. I’m an innovator. I like to start things but not keep them going in the day-to-day operations. So I was ready to step down as the Executive Director last fall. Quite honestly, it wasn’t clear where the Foundation would go. It was at a crossroads.
I’d led us in the creation of a nationally-recognized, award-winning innovative historic house museum turned into a Center for Social Justice Dialogue. We were beginning to appear in museum books and journals and taught in museum studies classes. Would the Gage Foundation continue in the same direction or would they retrench into one more dusty museum? Rumors floated: The Onondaga Historical Association was taking over the Gage Center. Or it was closing its doors. In truth, neither of these were ever considered as options. The board of directors wisely hired Beth Leibrick, a savvy, thoughtful consultant and began a reorganization process. The result? More than I ever could have dreamed possible; a potential model for how a museum redefines itself after the founder steps down. With the direction of the consultant, the board has committed to moving forward with renewed energy with the innovative museum concept we began.
I stayed on as Director of our Girl Ambassador for Human Rights program until the end of the school year, and now I say with a grin on my face a mile wide, I turn it over to Sarah Flick, a brilliant young woman whom I’ve mentored over the past six months, and watched her brilliantly organize and innovate. The board took my advice and hired her as my successor, adding on the role of Site Manager. How many founders get to turn over the reins to someone they admire, someone with creative and enthusiastic energy well beyond their own? I feel blessed and grateful to the board who, under the dynamic leadership of President Holly Austin, will carry on the vision in new and innovative ways.
I’m not going away. I’ve agreed to continue as a consultant for a while, to ensure the institutional memory is preserved and assist Sarah with the Girl Ambassador program. Beyond that, I am pursuing with enthusiasm the vision of the late Joanne Silverstein, assistant research professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and our first Local Advisory Committee chair, of making all of Gage’s writing available through an interactive, dialogue website, using the model we’ve created in the Gage Center. Partnering with the Gage Foundation every step of the way, the synergy of the Gage Center and Gage 2.0 will move ahead our shared dream of bringing Matilda to the attention of the world.
I thank you for your support and commitment – we’ve created something amazing together. And together we’ll now create even more.”
As Board President, Holly Austin, Esq., stated, “It is my pleasure to report that the Gage Foundation remains a vital and powerful place. In the two and a half years that I have been on the board, I have seen how people come to our museum and leave changed. They leave more thoughtful about social justice issues, and inspired by Matilda Joslyn Gage – the woman she was and the legacy she has left behind. The young women who participate in our Girl Ambassador Program will be leaders throughout their lives. They are amazing, living examples that the work of the Gage Foundation is so very important.
And working is exactly what we have been doing! It has been 6 months of intensive financial, succession, and strategic planning by the Gage Board and by Sally Roesch Wagner, with the help of an organizational consultant, Beth Leibrick. We are finally able to have Sally step back from running the Foundation as Executive Director and move to being Founding Director, so she can do other remarkable things with her time, which she has been asking the Board to plan for several years now. We have just hired Sarah Flick to be our new Site Director and Director of the Girl Ambassador Program. Sarah has been deeply involved in the Girl Ambassador program this past year, and brings amazing energy and excitement to the Gage Foundation.
It feels wonderful knowing that we have made significant strides to ensure the Foundation, the House, and our Programs will exist and thrive long into the future. Now all we need is your help. We invite you to come visit us, and bring friends. Become a member. Tell people about the Gage Foundation and invite them to visit.
Most importantly, your financial support will ensure we continue to be innovative and influential in educating current and future generations about Matilda Joslyn Gage’s work and its power to drive contemporary social change.”
Sarah Flick, Site Director
And finally, Sarah Flick, Gage’s new Site Director and Program Director is poised to lead the Gage Foundation into the future with the following comments, “I am excited for the opportunity to grow with the Gage Foundation during this dynamic time. Through my work with the Girl Ambassador Program, I have witnessed the inspirational power of Matilda Joslyn Gage’s legacy. Everyone who meets our Girl Ambassadors, from the social activists we met during our trip to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, to the many local professionals who donate their time and expertise, has come away impressed by the passion for and grasp of social issues each girl possesses. When these incredible young women join the program, they already have an enthusiasm for social justice. But it is the enduring power and cultural relevance of Gage’s ideas that bring them together, bind their collective knowledge, and inspire a dialogue that they will continue and share as they move through the world.
It is dialogue that sets the Gage Center apart. There is a vibrant international conversation growing about social justice. I can think of no better place to join that conversation than right here in Central New York: the cradle of the women’s rights movement. Through cross-generational dialogue and thought-provoking exhibits, we provide a gateway to those who seek real social change. As the foundation continues to grow, we seek to combine Matilda’s vision, Sally’s vision, and the evolving vision of our Girl Ambassadors.
As we move forward, I encourage you to rediscover what the Gage Foundation has to offer. I welcome you to come to the house; I would love to meet you. Schedule a tour for a group of your friends. Keep an eye on your inboxes for information on upcoming events and program information. Follow our new social media presence. And, of course, encourage your teenage daughters to apply for our Girl Ambassador Program this fall.
Remember, it is your intellectual and financial contributions that make everything we do possible. Please join us, contribute to the museum, and become a part of Matilda Joslyn Gage’s powerful and continuing legacy.
Thank you for your new and continued support of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. We look forward to continuing and building upon Sally Roesch Wagner’s award winning vision through 2020 and beyond.”
Thank you for your interest in the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, we appreciate your past support and your continued support as we move into this next exciting phase as an organization.
Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D.
Holly K. Austin, Esq.
Sarah M. Flick
Site Director, Program Director
Posted: November 22nd 2013
In the winter of 1999 I moved into a leaky apartment in a paint-chipping house at 210 East Genesee St. in Fayetteville, NY. My goal: restore and open to the public the home of Matilda Joslyn Gage, one of the unsung heroines of the women’s rights movement. Fourteen years later, after a million dollar capital campaign, the Gage Home is an award-winning Center for Dialogue on Social Justice Issues, lauded as a model for the new participatory, dialogue-driven museum of the future. The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience awarded us a grant to develop a pilot dialogue program on reproductive choice, and then asked us to be the U.S. partner with museums in Chile and Sri Lanka in creating a Girl Ambassador for Human Rights program. In the past several years we have been recognized nationally and internationally– and I have been traveling extensively to present at conferences, seminars and even to testify on Capitol Hill. Last year I received the Katherine Coffey award for museum excellence, presented by the Mid-Atlantic Museum Association.
All of this unexpected attention, while gratifying, places a burden not only on my own time, but also on our other ongoing programs. We need to pause, take a breath, and look closely at our goals, succession planning and capacity. The board took a first step by establishing the Girl Ambassador program as our signature initiative. Twenty Girl Ambassadors were chosen this year from 11 local high schools, a richly diverse group learning from each other as well as our international connections, with five girls returning from last year as mentors. Seven of the Girl Ambassadors presented at the recent CNY Social Studies conference on women’s rights, and the girls are all interviewing women leaders locally and nationally and planning a March trip to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The second step involves exploring ways to continue both the local and national work without straining either endeavor. We maintain our local footprint, with a museum embraced by residents and tourists alike. Visitors are invited to break all the rules of museums – sit on the furniture, eat and drink, try on the clothes, play the piano and write on the walls. We use dialogue as the language of the organization, and social-justice themed rooms as the interpretive plan. We are not closing our doors, but will require patience as we work through best next steps.
While the Gage Foundation Board of Trustees reorganizes and plans for the next phase of our work I am transitioning from Executive Director to Founding Director, concentrating on the Girl Ambassador program. This is an opportunity I welcome and have long sought. I want to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and to thank the community for your generous welcome and support of the new kid on the block, seeing the potential of the Gage Center and ensuring that it would become a vital part of this community.
I invite everyone to join us – board, volunteers and donors – in envisioning the future. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com. The community has been an integral part of creating this Gage Foundation legacy and I want to thank you for your faith and encouragement and support. Together we have done great things. There are more great things awaiting us together in the future. Stay tuned….
Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D.
Founding Director, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
Adjunct Faculty, Honors Program, Syracuse University