Social Justice

The Somerville Museum is committed to its role of reflecting the community it serves through its exhibitions and programming. The Museum has been in existence since the 1920s and has been a resource for learning about Somerville’s history, the art that continues to enrich it, and the culture we hope to create.

The Somerville community is a growing and evolving mix of working class families, young professionals, college students, and immigrants from countries like El Salvador, Haiti and Brazil.* It is also home to many families that have lived here for generations with their own immigration stories from countries such as Italy and Greece.

The Museum is continually working to welcome our new neighbors while creating a safe space for open, respectful conversation for all our community. We strive to connect community members by highlighting and celebrating diverse traditions, histories, and businesses that make our City unique. All of our programming is open to those in our community, nearby towns, and cities. 
Below is a list of past, ongoing, and future programs that address the Museum’s mission of reflecting our diverse community. 

* website

Reading Frederick Douglass Together

The Somerville Museum began participating in this statewide event in 2019. The first event was held on Thursday, June 27th at Bow Market in Union Square. Keidrick Roy, a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Harvard University, local resident and volunteer, led the reading and subsequent discussion. The event was a huge success and we decided to make this an annual program. This past year, we had to alter the program structure because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We collaborated with the Somerville Media Center to create a prerecorded video of community members reading sections of the famous speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” We then held a live zoom event for participants to view the video and participate in discussion led by Keidrick Roy. With the help of Facebook Livestream we were able to reach more than 500 people! This program is sponsored by Mass Humanities and many local communities work together and independently to create dynamic events to involve their communities.

To learn more about this program, Keidrick Roy and Mass Humanities, visit our Reading Frederick Douglass Page.

Race, Fragility, and Anti-Racism: A Summer Discussion Series

Rage, Fragility, and Anti-Racism: A Summer Discussion Series was a weekly program held during the Summer of 2020. The discussion was guided by Somerville residents Keidrick Roy (a black military veteran from Texas and Harvard PhD Candidate researching the legacy of slavery and racism) and Holly Roy (a white native Montanan and former Republican who has lived and worked in the middle of the country and on both coasts). The program was so popular that there was a weekly waitlist for those interested in participating. We hope to continue this or a similar program in the future.

To learn more about this program, visit our Race, Fragility and Anti-Racism Page.

Voices from Somerville: Culture, Community and History

Voices from Somerville: Culture, Community and History is an ongoing virtual program highlighting members and businesses of various immigrant groups in Somerville. Each event was coordinated by Charan Devereaux, member of the Somerville Museum Advisory Council, along with selected panelists and historian, Dan Breen. Follow links below to learn more about each event and view the recordings.

Voices from Somerville’s Greek Community – Recording

Voices from Somerville’s Brazilian Community – Recording

Voices from Somerville’s Haitian Community – Recording

This series has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This event series also has been made possible in part by Mass Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

Faith in a City: Exploring Religion in Somerville, MA

Faith in a City was an exhibition exploring religion in Somerville, Massachusetts through music, photography, interviews, video and history as a way of better understanding the City. The project included concerts, talks, panel discussions and an exhibition at the Somerville Museum. This exhibition was curated by Charan Devereaux, who is a member of the Museum’s Advisory Council. Devereaux also curated Union Square at Work, an exhibition in 2015. We are currently working to create programming related to this exhibition.

To learn more about this program and Charan Devereaux, visit our Faith in a City Page.

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