Gallery Talk: States of Incarceration

Installation view, States of Incarceration, image courtesy of The New School

Join Skidmore History Professor Eric Morser and student organizers of States of Incarceration for an introduction to the exhibition and an overview of the impact that their work had on Mount McGregor’s Rehabilitation Program.

History professor Eric Morser and student curators Deven Catalano, Meaghan McDonald and Isaac Selchaif will discuss how they became involved in the project, their efforts to reconstruct the history of Mount McGregor, the power of oral history to reveal the prison's hidden stories, and how they transformed a story of reform dreams into a museum exhibit.

This gallery talk is free and open to the public and will be repeated on Saturday, September 30, at 2:00 pm.

States of Incarceration is organized for the Tang Teaching Museum by Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs, Tang Teaching Museum, and Eric Morser, Associate Professor of History, Skidmore College with Skidmore College students from the course “Adventures in Public History: The Prison Project.” The exhibition is supported by National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and at Skidmore College by Project VIS, the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, and the Skidmore College History Department. For a complete list of public programs, visit the States of Incarceration exhibition page.

About Mount McGregor's Rehabilitation Program

The medium security facility had a long history of creative rehabilitation. In the 1910s, it was a tuberculosis sanitarium; after WWII, it welcomed convalescing veterans. As a prison it developed the state’s first Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program. As prison populations increased in the 1980s due to the War on Drugs and state politicians cut funding for carceral programs in the 1990s, teachers, counselors, and prisoners themselves empowered incarcerated men to change their lives. Programs provided incarcerated men with support to survive and thrive; ironically, many lost access to such support upon release.

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