An outdoor interpretive display that looks to both the past and the future was installed at the Clinton Church Restoration project site on May 10, 2021. The eight-panel kiosk, which was developed in collaboration with the UMass Amherst Public History Program, uses images and text to convey information about the church’s 150-year-old history and CCR’s vision for the African American cultural center being developed for the site.
“We are very pleased to help Clinton Church Restoration bring the story of this historic church and congregation to the public,” said David Glassberg, a professor at UMass Amherst who serves on the nonprofit’s advisory board. “The exhibit’s handsome look and innovative design nicely complement its educational quality and value.”
Research and writing for the eight 2’ x 3’ interpretive panels was conducted by Mike Mederios, Nichole Green and Danielle Raad, graduate students enrolled in Glassberg’s Museum and Historic Site Interpretation class during the 2018-19 academic year.
The exhibit, titled “Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church: A Sustainable Future for a Historic Church,” also highlights prominent African Americans in the Berkshires, the relationship between W.E.B. Du Bois and church’s founding congregation, and the centrality of the Black Church in the civil rights struggle and everyday community life. Another panel is dedicated to Reverend Esther Dozier, the first female pastor of Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church and a beloved community leader who was at the forefront of regional efforts to celebrate Black history and the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois. In the tradition of the “freedom church,” as the A.M.E. Zion denomination is known, Dozier also spoke passionately against injustice and intolerance.
Clinton Church Restoration board member Beth Carlson, who collaborated with Glassberg and his students on the project, designed the windmill-shaped display that allows each panel to be turned by hand. With funding from Housatonic Heritage, the panels were designed by Karen Glaz, and fabricated by Ghi Sigh. The display will remain in place during the building’s restoration.