Historic New England launches plan to expand storytelling at historic sites

Sep 8, 2021

Beginning this fall, Recovering New England’s Voices is a bold, multi-year initiative to take a more inclusive approach to sharing the region’s history.

As the leading voice for the region’s history for more than 100 years, Historic New England is committed to sharing history with truth and accuracy. Using research, art, storytelling, and technology, our historic sites will become catalysts for new conversations, recognizing historically marginalized communities and creating a more complete record of all the region’s stories.

We can no longer accept incomplete histories or stories that have been erased, suppressed, and ignored in the past,” said Historic New England Study Center Manager Alissa Butler. “Our work will be transformative. We will build a new way of sharing the past grounded in inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility.”

Recovering New England’s Voices involves three phases: Research, Reform, and Relaunch. Phase One includes making a significant investment to hire four research scholars who will support the necessary work to transform the stories we tell at our sites, creating spaces that share a complete understanding of the past, and engaging the broadest audience in the study of and discoveries about the region’s past.

Each research scholar will be part of one of four regional work groups. They will explore local and regional resources to uncover community stories that represent all perspectives in the region. They will focus on the lives and experiences of immigrants, racialized and Indigenous peoples, women, LGBTQ+ people, and others.

Meet our new scholars

Our Phase-One research scholars are Hannah Francis, Leo Lovemore, Scot McFarlane, and Tricia Peone. Each has experience conducting challenging archival research that focuses on oppressed, marginalized, and erased groups.

Hannah Francis of New Orleans, Louisiana, is based in the Southern New England region. Hannah is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Rice University and has an M.A. in history from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. in history from Jackson State University. Previously, Hannah was a research fellow for the North Carolina Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, an intern for the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History, and a Library Associate for New Orleans Public Library.

Leo Lovemore (they/them) of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is based in the Metro Boston region. Leo holds a Ph.D. in women’s, gender and sexuality studies from Rutgers University, an M.A. in humanities and social thought from New York University, and a B.A. in English and American studies from Mount Holyoke College. Leo was adjunct faculty at Rutgers University and a professional research assistant to Professor Kyla Schuller, and worked in Recovery Support Services for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Scot McFarlane of Brunswick, Maine, is based in the Northern New England region. Scot holds a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, an M.A. in history education from Tufts University, and a B.A. in history from Bowdoin College. Scot has served as an instructor of record at Columbia University, a history teacher at Chemeketa Community College, and a writing instructor at Kings Valley Charter School.

Tricia Peone of Dover, New Hampshire, is based in the North Shore, Massachusetts, region. Tricia holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Hampshire, an M.A. in history from SUNY College at Brockport, and a B.S. in history from SUNY College at Brockport. Previously, Tricia was a freelance historical consultant, a public programs director for New Hampshire Humanities, and a historian for SEARCH Inc.

Telling all the stories

Reimagining the storytelling at our sites is one of the most significant priorities in Historic New England’s new strategic agenda. In launching Recovering New England’s Voices, Historic New England will challenge traditional approaches to telling the stories of the past and introduce narratives that promote healing, community, collaboration, and inspiration.

What we are building on

For many years, Historic New England has been working to broaden the lens of representation at its sites. These include: