Norwich First Wednesdays

See the lineup of lectures for 2021-22 and sign up to attend via Zoom

*DIGITAL* History in Hot Water: Climate Change and the Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain

October 6
7:00 pm

Image of boat under green water with a rope tied around the bow

Lake Champlain is home to hundreds of well-preserved shipwrecks that help tell the story of our region. But climate change is altering the lake’s underwater cultural heritage. Susan Evans McClure and Christopher Sabick from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum consider the impact of historical objects changing before our eyes. (Registration required.) Read More »

*DIGITAL* What Should We Do? The Civic Question, and How More Americans Can Ask It

November 3
7:00 pm

Seated audience with books open on their laps

Americans are now less likely to belong to groups that ask of their communities, “What should we do?” This decline weakens our society and threatens our democracy. Tufts University professor and author Peter Levine reflects on how we can reverse the trend and revive civic life. (Registrations required.) Read More »

*DIGITAL* Vermont Humor: “I Could Hardly Keep from Laughing”

December 1
7:00 pm

Vermont farmer sitting on snow bank laughing

Author Bill Mares and cartoonist Don Hooper share drawings and tales that illustrate the understatement, comeuppance, and subtlety of Vermont humor. Enjoy this ramble through the decades as the pair show how Vermont’s true character shines in dry (and occasionally tables-turned) jokes and stories. (Registration required.) Read More »

*DIGITAL* Sherlock Holmes: The Game’s Afoot

January 5, 2022
7:00 pm

Sherlock Holmes statue against sunset

Scholar Barry Deitz looks at the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. He discusses the inspiration for Holmes and examines what other writers, actors, and directors have done with the character over the past 30 years. Read More »

*DIGITAL* My John Dewey Problem

February 2, 2022
7:00 pm

Portrait of John Dewey sitting in a chair, hand at his temple

What are the ways that John Dewey, America’s greatest democratic philosopher, still speaks to us—or fails to speak to us—at a moment of great peril for our democratic society and political institutions? UVM professor Bob Pepperman Taylor explores the relevance of Dewey’s political and educational ideas in the 21st century. Read More »

*DIGITAL* From Little Jerusalem to the Lost Mural: Preserving Jewish and Immigrant Heritage

March 2, 2022
7:00 pm Norwich Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Norwich

Construction staging in front of colorful Lost Mural painting

In 1885, a group of Lithuanian immigrants settled in Burlington’s Old North End, where they transplanted their religious traditions and culture. Archivists Aaron Goldberg and Jeff Potash describe the “Lost Mural,” a rare survivor of the lost genre of European painted synagogues, and tell the story of conserving the mural in Burlington. Read More »

*DIGITAL* Disability and the Poetry of Natural and Supernatural Worlds

April 6, 2022
7:00 pm

Young woman seated cross-legged in front of wall with wings painted on it

Four poets—Eli Clare, Judy Chalmer, Deborah Lisi-Baker, and Toby McNutt—reflect on the ways disabled poets write about natural and supernatural spaces. In this wide-ranging discussion, they consider how poetry invites us into an embodied experience, and how supernatural poetry can expand or question traditional understandings of the “natural.” Read More »

*DIGITAL* Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction and America’s National Parks

May 4, 2022
7:00 pm

River in Yosemite National Park

Central Park and Yosemite Valley became public parks during the tumultuous years before and during the Civil War. UVM historian and former National Park Service superintendent Rolf Diamant explains how anti-slavery activism, war, and the remaking of the federal government gave rise to the American public park and the very concept of national parks. Read More »

Host: Norwich Public Library and Norwich Historical Society


Statewide Underwriters: The Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries; The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation.

Program Co-sponsors and Underwriters: Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Norwich Bookstore, Otto & Associates, University of Vermont Humanities Center

Library Sponsors: Friends of the Norwich Public Library, Norwich Historical Society, the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation.