Tuesday Talks at the Atwood
ALL LECTURES BEGIN AT 5:00 PM
Admission: $10.00, free for current members. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED
Tuesday Talks at the Atwood Archives
Missed one of our Tuesday lectures? Interested in unique stories related to Chatham’s history? Please take a look at our recordings from the Atwood Museum’s virtual series of lectures.
Virtual and Recorded lectures are posted 1 month after they occur.
Archives of 2023 Lectures:
Jeni Wheeler: When Passion and Purpose Collide: The Story of the Family Table Collaborative
January 17th, 2023
Jeni Wheeler is the Co-Founder and Director of the Family Table Collaborative. She will tell the unique story of how the Family Table Collaborative, whose mission is to increase nutritional security on Cape Cod, using a social enterprise model, layering business concepts to solve societal needs, came to be, and why it’s a critical component in changing the dialogue around what’s possible in this space. Jeni‘s leveraged her personal journey and experiences and combined them with her Babson MBA, with a focus in Social Entrepreneurship, to be able to see collaborations where others did not, bridges where previously there were none, and a way to message the possibility instead of the stigma around nutritional security, where the bottom line is that healthier people create healthier communities. Please join us for what is bound to be an educational and entertaining evening, where love is sure to be the secret ingredient.
Senior Chief Ross Comstock: The History of the Coast Guard in New England
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2023
Today’s Coast Guard, as we know it, was derived from several services that were combined in 1915. Two of these services were the Lifesaving Service and the Lighthouse Service, which had their beginnings right here in New England. Much of the Coast Guard’s history comes from Massachusetts alone. Please join us as BMCS Ross Comstock, commander of the Chatham Coast Guard Station, discusses this fascinating and little known history of one of the most historically relevant military branches in Massachusetts.
Archives of 2022 Lectures:
Bill Burke: The Cape Cod National Seashore at 60: A Dream Come True
January 25, 2022
“A great public project that seemed almost hopelessly visionary when first proposed five years ago became a reality in Washington yesterday when Congress gave final approval to the bill establishing a 26,666-acre national park on the outer shore of Cape Cod. The bill can probably be labeled as the finest victory ever recorded for the cause of conservation in New England.” – The Berkshire Eagle, August 3, 1961
Bill will take us on a brief journey through the creation of the national seashore, including the obstacles, opposition, compromises, establishment, growing pains and today’s management challenges. The communities and seashore supporters from the 1930’s to the visionaries who crafted the park legislation signed in 1961 would feel satisfaction knowing their fears of honky-tonk development and loss of public access has not happened. The contrast to overdeveloped and privatized seashore sections through New Jersey to Florida demonstrate what this area could be today. Every year, millions visit the National Seashore, and all of our citizens can experience the dunes, walk the trails, fish, visit the wetlands and ponds, explore the cultural history, see a lighthouse, take a swim or just walk on the 40 miles of the Great Beach, and know it will still be there for their children and grandchildren to do the same thing.
Bill Burke is the Cultural Resources Program Manager for the Cape Cod National Seashore.
A wash-ashore from Western Massachusetts, Bill Burke is a National Park Service employee who serves as the Historian for the National Seashore. He has worked there in a number of roles over the past 25 years. He assists researchers and educators by providing access to the park’s collection of archives, historic photographs and objects. The National Seashore contains a treasure trove of historic things, including homes, archeological sites and landscapes. Bill enjoys pondering the meaning of it all, and teaching as well as learning from others about our small universe of the Outer Cape.
Bill holds a BA in History summa cum laude from Providence College and a MA in Colonial American History and Historical Archeology from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He has worked at several National Parks from MA to VA. He also coaches the Monomoy High School Girls Tennis Team which reached the quarterfinals in last spring’s Southeastern MA state tournament. He occasionally lectures for the Open University of Wellfleet and lives in Harwich with his wife Stasia and 3 daughters.
Casey Sherman: Chatham’s Finest Hours: The 70th Anniversary of the Pendleton Rescue
February 15, 2022
Casey Sherman, co-author of The Finest Hours, will discuss the 70th Anniversary of the historic Coast Guard rescue of seamen stranded in the waters off Chatham on the SS. Pendleton on February 18, 1952.
Sherman is a multiple New York Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of 15 books including The Finest Hours (now a major Walt Disney motion picture starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck), Patriots Day (now a major CBS Films motion picture starring Mark Wahlberg), and James Patterson’s The Last Days of John Lennon. Sherman is an award winning journalist and contributing writer for TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, Esquire, Boston Magazine and The Boston Herald. He has appeared on more than 100 major television and radio programs.
Peggy Jablonski: Cape Cod Camino Way
March 8, 2022
The Cape Cod Camino Way explores history through the lens of social justice, and brings the past to life. In this program, you will digitally “walk” across Cape Cod with Peggy Jablonski, founder of the Cape Cod Camino Way project. We will travel to the past examining issues such as women and people of color in science, the sea captains of Brewster and connections to the Triangle Trade, the Wampanoag story connected with the Mayflower, the free spirit and artistry of Provincetown, and more.
Since 2013, Jablonski has lived in Brewster full time, only crossing the bridge to the “mainland” for consulting and higher education work. As a university administrator, she became exposed to theories multiculturalism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She worked as an “ally” for decades to create and sustain programs and services that would meet the needs of all students. Starting with a Master’s degree program at UMass Amherst in the early 1980s, and continuing throughout her career, she sought to understand the systems she was a part of, and to change them for the better.
Ingrid Steffensen: Solving for Alice Stallknecht
April 12th, 2022
As a late-blooming woman artist in the mid-twentieth century who existed outside the established gallery system, Alice Stallknecht resists artistic pigeonholes. She has been characterized on the one hand as an outsider, a naif, a folk artist; on the other hand, she has been associated with German Expressionism. At a time when abstraction became the dominant mode and religion in art was an all but taboo subject, she forged a highly individualistic path that appropriated elements from sources as diverse as Byzantine art, the Italian Renaissance, the American mural painting movement, and Regionalism–but in the end, she must be considered in her own light as a powerful individualist with the strength to remain true to her vision.
Ingrid Steffensen earned her PhD in art history from the University of Delaware. She has taught art and architectural history at Princeton, Rutgers, NJIT, and Bryn Mawr, and is the author of numerous articles and books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and architecture. Her memoir Fast Girl: Don’t Brake until You See the Face of God and Other Good Advice from the Racetrack (Seal Press, 2012) tells the tale of a college professor and New Jersey dance mom who discovered her inner speed demon at the racetrack. She currently lives and writes in New York City.
Brian Harrington: Changes in Chatham & Orleans Migratory Shorebirds
May 10, 2022
The Orleans/Chatham region is a world-renowned refueling station for sandpipers and plovers (shorebirds) in their journeys between Arctic breeding areas of Alaska and Canada and their wintering places, which, for some of the species, may be at the southern tip of South America. Many of the 35 kinds of shorebirds that visit our coast will fly non-stop over the ocean between Cape Cod and South America. The fuel they gain at places like Pleasant Bay and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is critical to the success of their migrations.
Brian Harrington has been watching shorebirds at Monomoy since the late 1950’s. Over the decades there have been amazing changes of the coast, especially including Monomoy island, and shifts in how the migratory shorebirds use this region; this talk aims to give an overview of how migrant shorebirds use the Chatham/Orleans region, and a time-lapse perspective of how this has affected migratory as well as resident-breeding shorebirds.
Brian Harrington is an emeritus biologist retired from The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, where he has been a research biologist since 1971. During his tenure most of his work focused on shorebirds (sandpipers and plovers) and their migrations, and especially on conservation issues associated with the long-distance migration strategies that many shorebirds employ. His research has been throughout North and South America. One species he has especially focused on is the Red Knot, chosen because it illustrates many of the conservation issues he has documented. Much of this work is described in a popular book, The Flight of the Red Knot (WW Norton Co., publisher) authored in 1996. Since retirement Brian has continued his work with knots in Massachusetts, and especially in the Orleans/Chatham region of Cape Cod. The Massachusetts coast continues to be a major migration stopover area for Red Knots, which sadly, have become a highly threatened bird since Brian’s work on them began in the early 1980’s.
Citizenship activities include service to the Town of Plymouth’s Beaches Advisory Board and Open Space Committee; a founding board member, Director and past President of the Herring Ponds Watershed Association; Trustee of the Wildlands Trust, and Trustee of Manomet, Inc.
Barbara Semple: Women at Sea (Then)
November 1, 2022
Women At Sea relates the experiences of being the only woman aboard a sailing vessel embarking on the China Trade in the late 1800s. Frances Carleton Brastow Amesbury captured these adventures through her five line a day journal entries and her own photography. When not at sea, she wrote of her life in the seafaring town of Rockport Maine.
The types of vessels she and her husband Captain Stanley Amesbury sailed on, what life aboard those months at sea were like, and the various places they made passage to are all documented in her diaries and photographs.
Frances is the great aunt of Barbara Brastow Semple, our presenter. Through Barbara’s reading of her great aunt’s 15 years of journals, as well as several books and diaries by other women of that era, she has put together a travelogue highlighting women’s voyages at sea, with an emphasis on Frances Amesbury’s experiences sailing the high seas around the world.
About Barbara Semple: Barbara is a South Chatham resident and researcher and docent at the Atwood Museum. She also sings with the Cape-wide Chatham Chorale and its Chamber Singers.
Barbara spent most of her career before retirement as a children’s librarian at public school, public library and private school in New Hampshire. After living for 38 years in New Hampshire, Barbara and her husband Paul retired to South Chatham 13 years ago. Having grown up in Fairfield Connecticut, three blocks from Long Island Sound, sailing boats, and having spent summers in Chatham for 55 years, moving to South Chatham was like coming home.
Archives of 2021 Lectures
Bob Heppe: Joseph C. Lincoln: A Captain's Son Writes of Cape Cod
January 12th, 2021
Join the Atwood for an insightful virtual lecture about the famed and prolific author, Joseph C. Lincoln. Our speaker, Bob Heppe, has been a docent at the Atwood Museum for the past three years. As part of his duties, he has responsibility for the Joseph C. Lincoln gallery. Understanding that a good docent needs to know his subject, he has collected and read 38 novels, 2 books of short stories, and 1 book of verses. He does not claim to be an expert on Mr. Lincoln, just an ardent enthusiast. He is especially indebted to Katherine Manson, Atwood archivist and Joe Lincoln expert, for her help in preparing him for this talk.
Bob is a retired attorney and a retired Colonel, US Army. He now spends his leisure time as a docent at the Atwood, a member of the marine mammal rescue team for IFAW, a member of the Coast Guard auxiliary and as Master of the Pilgrim Masonic Lodge. He works as the first mate on the Harwich Port to Nantucket Freedom ferry. He lives in Harwich Port with his wife Gaylene, docent and volunteer manager of the Atwood Gift Shop.
Hannah Carlson: My Dearest Friend: John and Abigail Adams' Love During War and Peace
February 16th, 2021
Brighten up your Valentine’s celebrations with a heartwarming story of the quintessential love between John and Abigail Adams, dearest friends for more than 50 years. They made international headlines for contributing to the American Revolution, working to build a new nation, serving tirelessly at home and abroad, yet privately maintaining an unprecedented correspondence of personal letters expressing compassion, tenderness, and deep love for each other and newborn America. Hannah Carlson, the author of John Adams: The Voice Heard ‘Round the World, will be discussing the Adams’ dramatic, timeless tale accompanied by original symphony music from the Boston Landmark Orchestra and readings by Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough and followed by some of John and Abigail’s intimate letters.
Writer and educator, Hannah was a syndicated newspaper columnist writing for parents about education in the home. After teaching in the Lexington and Newton public schools where her programs received special recognition from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she turned to writing high interest stories about American history to ignite students’ interest in our rich heritage.
She won the New England Book Award and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for her book on John Adams. Her other books include American Genius: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Great American Writers, Yankee Doodle’s Pen, and The Adventures of Plimoth Plantation As Told by the Mayflower Mouse.
Ted Keon: Chatham's Dynamic Shoreline
March 9th, 2021
Join the Atwood Museum on March 9th for an informative lecture on Chatham’s ever changing and dynamic coastline. This lecture will be presented by Ted Keon, Director of Coastal Resources for the Town of Chatham, who will discuss how shoreline change and inlet development impact many aspects of Chatham life as well as the management challenges that these changes create.
Keon first started as the Director of Coastal Resources in 1998. He is Chatham’s primary contact regarding coastal processes and issues related to the marine and shoreline environment. Keon is directly in charge of the town’s comprehensive dredging, shoreline change, and sediment management program. Prior to his position with Chatham, Keon was the Chief of the Coastal Planning Section of the Philadelphia District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During his tenure with the Corps, Mr. Keon was actively involved in the planning and development of numerous shore protection, navigation and other coastal related projects and activities along the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware and Delaware Bay.
Dr. Michael Tompsett: My Story of 'Digital' Imaging Inventions
April 13th, 2021
In 1973, British engineer Dr. Michael Tompsett took the world’s first digital photograph using a digital camera of his own invention. Tompsett continued his work on imaging technology at Bell Laboratories for decades and has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and an Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering, amongst many other accolades. Join the Atwood Museum on April 13th at 5 pm to hear Dr. Tompsett, now a full-time resident of Chatham, talk about his work and the foundations that it set for the technology that we use every day.
Mike Abdow: The Life of a Charter Fisherman
May 11th, 2021
Join the Atwood Museum on May 11th to hear about the work of a charter fisherman from Captain Mike Abdow of Magic Charters! Abdow has been fishing for over 50 years, starting in Provincetown as a young child, working in Orleans for 10 years, and finally fishing out of Chatham for the last 20 years. He helped to start the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association in the 1990s, which was the precursor to the Fishermen’s Alliance. Make your reservations today to hear Abdow’s many stories of how fishing has changed over the last half-century.
Janet Uhlar: Dr. Joseph Warren: Had He Lived, The Name Washington Might be Obscure
June 15th, 2021
Join the Atwood Museum on June 15th to hear the story of Dr. Joseph Warren, who once was one of the Revolutionary War’s most famous figures. It was Dr. Warren who sent Paul Revere out to warn everyone that the British were coming, and who helped unite the First Continental Congress. Janet Uhlar, author of Liberty’s Martyr: The Story of Dr. Joseph Warren, will explore the impact of Dr. Warren two days before the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill when he lost his life.
Author, lecturer, and screenplay writer, Janet’s genre is rarely seen; and her passion for the American Revolution is evident. Janet firmly believes that when the private lives and unique personalities of historical figures are presented, and the dynamics between these characters brought out, history becomes much more than cold black print on a stark white page. History takes on a life of its own, with true flesh and blood individuals whose acts of courage, indifference, or cowardice shaped the world we live in today. This living history helps us relate to those who have gone before – offering inspiration, courage, and a sense of determination.
Paul Kemprecos: The Birdmen of Cape Cod
July 20th, 2021
On July 21, 1918, a German U-boat surfaced off Nauset Beach in Orleans and fired on a tugboat and the four barges it was towing. Some crew were injured, the tug was set ablaze and the barges sunk, despite the efforts of a plane from the Chatham naval air base to defend them, and a few shells hit the mainland. Little more than ten years later the Germans were back for a second, more benign invasion, when a team of three German glider experts, led by ace pilot Peter Hesselbach, launched historic glider flights from Highland golf links and Corn Hill in Truro.
In the aftermath of the flights a German-American glider school was established high on a South Wellfleet bluff overlooking the Atlantic. The school closed a year later, a victim of the stock market crash, and its buildings were used for a cottage colony.
Paul Kemprecos was a reporter for The Cape Codder when he heard about the Germans from the cottage colony owners.
Decades later, after Kemprecos had become a best-selling author, he was trying to come up with a concept for a new novel and recalled the glider story and conversations with locals who remembered the dashing young pilot and his colleagues. He wondered if any of the Germans from the school ever returned to Cape Cod. And if so, why?
The result of those recollections was Killling Icarus, a suspense-mystery set mostly in Truro, which was released this month. He will talk about how the story he heard at the top of a cliff in Wellfleet planted the seeds for the book, in which an art historian discovers a World War Two secret in an Edward Hopper sketch that links back to those days when German bird men soared above the beaches and dunes of Cape Cod.
Paul Kemprecos is the author of eight books in the Cape-based Aristotle “Soc” Socarides private detective series. He co-authored eight best-selling novels with adventure writer Clive Cussler, and two Matt Hawkins thrillers in addition to Killing Icarus. He and his wife Christi live in Dennis.
Ian Ives: Vernal Pools: Our Backyard Ecosystem
September 14th, 2021
Vernal Pools are seasonal depressional wetlands that are scattered around the Cape Cod landscape. They are home to a variety of secretive creatures and are essential to the lifecycle of many species of frogs and salamanders. Discover their unique characteristics and the life they support.
Ian Ives is the Director at Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture, Ashumet Holly, Barnstable Great Marsh and Skunknett River Wildlife Sanctuaries on Cape Cod. His job responsibilities include overall management of the sanctuaries and staff, community outreach, advocacy, environmental stewardship and education. One of his primary goals is to engage the community in Mass Audubon’s mission work and expand activities at the wildlife sanctuaries he oversees. He holds a Master’s degree in conservation biology from Antioch University – New Hampshire.
Ian has a strong background in wetland restoration and endangered species management and is leading environmental advocacy and conservation projects across the Cape to help protect rare wildlife and threatened natural resources they depend on. Formerly, Ian was a Field Biologist for Hyla Ecological Services in Concord MA and was a zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.
Andrew Singer: Sailing to Cathay
October 12th, 2021
Andrew Singer’s lecture “Sailing to Cathay” explores the vibrant maritime trade routes that linked Europe and Asia before and after the Europeans arrived directly on Asian shores at the turn of the sixteenth century. The Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the South China Sea were the highways of the Ancient World, carrying commodities, art, ideas, people and religion in both directions. On the China side, the Chinese overseas maritime tradition was already more than 1,500 years old when Vasco de Gamma showed up on the West Coast of India in 1498. Chinese porcelains, Southeast Asian aromatics, and Indian pepper — amongst so much more — were the stock and trade. Maritime trade brought Asia to Europe and Europe to Asia with lasting influences on each. The legacy of the Ancient Maritime trade routes remains alive today, and is a story worthy of our time.
Camille Broderick Rodier: Life in a Glass
November 16th, 2021
How does one become a sommelier? A radio show host? A video producer? A truism in life is that it is unpredictable. Follow the story of someone who learned how to follow her nose and passions with one common denominator, working with inspiring people who have fine tastes and a great sense of hospitality.