Our First Community Exhibition: Determination- A Cambodian Experience

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Story by Jeff Kenyon:

A photo show portraying various aspects of life in Cambodia will take place at the Little Compton Historical Society, 548 West Main Road (Route 77) on November 16, 20, and 27-30 from 9 AM to 4 PM.  An artist reception and book signing will be held on Sunday, November 18, from 3 to 5 PM.  The exhibit and the opening are free and open to the public.

BOOK SIGNING:  ABOUT THE AUTHOR, MAKNA MEN

The show, Determination:  A Cambodian Experience, is taken from the title of a book written by Makna Men recounting his family’s journey in escaping from Cambodia during the horrific reign of Pol Pot, and their life in Rhode Island.  Makna arrived in Rhode Island in 1982, with his mother and four brothers, from refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines.  A graduate of Central High School and Rhode Island College, he earned Master’s degrees from Cambridge College and Brown University.  Currently the senior academic advisor at Bristol Community College, Fall River, Makna, his wife, Samoutta Iem, and their three children reside in Cranston.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

DON NGUON arrived in Rhode Island in 1981.  He graduated from Classical High School and graduated at the top of his class from the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering.  Don currently works in mechanical engineering in West Bridgewater, MA.  He and his wife Pov Ky live in Providence.  Don is active in documenting cultural events in the local Cambodian community and in using his engineering expertise to design buildings at a local Buddhist temple. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Water for Cambodia.

JEFF KENYON, who grew up in Providence, holds a B.A. degree from the University of Rhode Island and Master’s degrees from Providence College and Rhode Island College.  He has also studied ESL, photography, and Asian Studies at PC.  Jeff became active with the Khmer community while working at Rhode Island College in federal programs for high school students.  He was introduced to Maha Ghosananda, founder of the first Khmer Buddhist temple in Providence, Wat Thormikaram on Hanover Street.  This meeting served as the genesis of his Buddhist studies.  A longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Middletown Rotary Club’s Water for Cambodia, Jeff has followed his interest in street photography both locally and on the streets of Siem Reap and Battambang, Cambodia.   He and his wife, Beryl, live in Little Compton.

Both Makna Men and Don Nguon have returned many times to Cambodia to find relatives separated by the Cambodian Holocaust and to spend time in their respective home villages.  They are active with Water for Cambodia in health and clean water projects that benefit villages throughout Cambodia.

For more information about the Water for Cambodia Project and NGO based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, please visit the web site at waterforcambodia,org.

The Little Compton Historical Society welcomes this community exhibition created by private individuals as the first to use its exhibit space during the winter season. Artists or non-profit organizations interested in exhibiting in the space should contact the Executive Director Marjory O’Toole at 401-635-4035.

 

Last Chance to See the Exhibition – Monday, October 8 – Cider Social – Antiques Sale

The Little Compton Historical Society invites community members to a final opportunity to see their 2018 Special Exhibition “Remember Me: Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries” on Monday, October 8 from 1 to 4 pm during their annual Cider Social.

As usual the Cider Social is free and open to the public.  There will be complimentary cider and donuts while supplies last, free tours of the Wilbor House Museum, a candy haystack, corn husk-doll making, and a station at which visitors of all ages can make reproduction mourning jewelry similar to the mourning rings on display in the exhibition. The exhibition also contains information on each of Little Compton’s 46 historic cemeteries, the history of cemetery preservation in Little Compton, and a variety of objects that shed light on historic burial and mourning practices including a wreath made from human hair and an impressive collection of mourning dresses dating from the 1860s to the 1920s. The Remember Me project was funded in part by The Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island State Council for the Humanities, and The Ocean State Charities Trust.

During the Cider Social the Historical Society will also host a sale of donated antique and vintage items. The Society is hoping to “clean house” and sell all of the items it currently has in storage, so shoppers can look forward to some very attractive prices especially as the day wears on. The items that are offered for sale have been donated specifically for that purpose and have been deemed inappropriate for the museum’s permanent collection.

For those unable to attend the Cider Social on Monday, the Special Exhibition will be open this weekend from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

Cemetery Tour – September 22

Tour 30 Historic Cemeteries in Little Compton

this Weekend

On-line tickets sales for the Cemetery Tour (Sept. 22) have ended, but you can still buy tickets tomorrow beginning at 11 am in these locations:
 
Wilbor House Museum – 548 West Main Road
 
Friends Meeting House – 234 West Main Road
 
Little Compton Community Center – The Commons
 
Adamsville Cemetery – Corner of Colebrook Road and John Dyer Road

8 Richmond-6

Little Compton:  Thirty volunteers are ready to great visitors in historic cemeteries and burying grounds throughout Little Compton this Saturday. The Little Compton Historical Society is hosting the town-wide cemetery tour as part of its “Remember Me” project and has spent the last year researching the town’s 46 historic cemeteries and sharing their fascinating histories and the stories of the people buried in them with the public; people like Pirate Dick Grinnell who was haunted by the clattering hooves of an Arabian Horse on his deathbed and Elizabeth Sisson who lived an unconventional life as a 18th-century single mother of three girls. Many of the burying grounds feature the gravestone carving of the John Stevens family.

Five of the cemeteries on the tour are not normally open to the public including the Captain Edward Richmond Burying Ground; the Stoddard, Gifford, and Tompkins Burying Grounds; and the misplaced gravestones of Adamsville’s Samuel Church. Seven other cemeteries on the tour typically require an appointment before visiting but will be easy to explore this Saturday. Each cemetery will have a knowledgeable guide ready to share the history of the cemetery and answer visitor questions.

The tour is scheduled from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 22. Ticket holders will receive a bracelet providing access to all 30 cemeteries and a map to help guide them on their tour. Visitors may choose which cemeteries to visit and may visit them in any order using their own car or bicycle. Parking is available in each location. In case of rain, the tour will take place on Sunday, September 23. If the tour is switched to the rain date an announcement will be posted on littlecompton.org.

Tickets for the tour are $10 for members of the Little Compton Historical Society and $15 for non-members. Children 12 and under are free and must be accompanied by an adult. Participants may purchase tickets in advance at the Wilbor House Museum (548 West Main Road) or on-line at littlecompton.org.

Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour at four locations including the Wilbor House Museum, the Little Compton Community Center, the Adamsville Cemetery at the corner of John Dyer Road and Colebrook Road, and the Friends Meeting House at 234 West Main Road. The Wilbor House Museum can accept credit cards. The four locations will also offer restrooms, and the opportunity to purchase cold drinks and the “Remember Me” cemetery guidebook which provides in-depth information for each cemetery on the tour. Anyone interested in purchasing the guidebook in advance may do so at the Little Compton Historical Society, Wilbur’s General Store, Earl’s Gas Station, Gray’s Daily Grind, and Partner’s Village Store.

Visitors to the Wilbor House Museum will be able to tour the old Wilbor Cemetery as well at the “Remember Me” special exhibition featuring information on each of the town’s historic cemeteries, the history of local gravestones and burial practices and a display of mourning attire from the 19th century. Visitors to the Friends Burying Ground will also be able to tour the Friends Meeting House which is not often open to the public. At the Old Burying Ground on the Commons, volunteers will share stories of Little Compton’s earliest English settlers including Colonel Benjamin Church and Betty Alden Pabodie, believed to be the first white girl born in New England, as well as the dozens of enslaved and free people of color buried with and without gravestones in the town’s Negro Burying Ground. Gravestone conservators Betty and Carlo Mencucci will also be repairing gravestones in the Old Burying Ground on the Commons throughout the tour.

The “Remember Me” project has been generously sponsored by the Rhode Island Foundation, The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Ocean State Charities Trust and numerous community members. One of the project goals is to recruit 100 volunteers to clean 1000 gravestones. The Historical Society reports that 95 volunteers have cleaned approximately 750 gravestones to date.

 

Last Remember Me Lecture – September 6

Two Historic Cemetery Programs in Little Compton this Week

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Final Lecture in the “Remember Me” Speakers’ Series

This Thursday, September 6, Marjory O’Toole, “Remember Me” Project Director and Executive Director of the Little Compton Historical Society, will present “Lessons Learned from Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries” at the Little Compton Community Center at 7 pm. The talk will focus on the new information discovered after a year of research and restoration in the community’s historic cemeteries. Ms. O’Toole will touch on issues of cemetery ownership, the Town’s Negro Burying Ground, recent and continuing restoration efforts, and the recent discovery of numerous unmarked graves using Ground Penetrating Radar.  The Little Compton Historical Society is presenting the lecture as the last in their “Remember Me” speaker’s series. It is free and open to the public thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.  No registration is required.

Gravestone Cleaning Workshop

Then on Saturday, September 8, Ms. O’Toole and other Historical Society volunteers will host the next gravestone cleaning workshop in the Old Burying Ground on the Commons from 9 to Noon. The “Remember Me” project’s goal is to recruit 100 volunteers who will each attend a workshop to learn safe gravestone cleaning techniques approved by the American Association for Gravestone Studies and then pledge to clean 10 gravestones this year. If successful the result will be 1000 clean gravestones. To date 90 volunteers have attended or registered for a workshop and the Historical Society estimates that these volunteers have cleaned 500 local gravestones to date. Volunteers age 14 and up are welcome and are asked to register for the Saturday workshop by visiting littlecompton.org or calling the Historical Society at 401-635-4035. Additional cleaning workshops will be scheduled this fall, including one in the Adamsville Cemetery. Gravestone cleaning is important to prevent lichens from slowly breaking down the stone and to enable visitors to read the inscriptions on the memorials.

The “Remember Me” project has been generously supported by The Rhode Island Foundation, The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, The Ocean State Charities Trust and members of the local community. A Town-wide Cemetery Tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 22 to explore and celebrate the town’s 46 historic cemeteries, a number of which are not normally open to the public. For tickets please contact the Historical Society.