Dr. Janet Ferguson: Crafting A Personal Story

June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Dr. Janet Ferguson, education expert, will lead a free webinar with the National Museum of Bermuda [NMB] on Wednesday, June 16th at 5:30pm.

A spokesperson said, “Dr. Ferguson, the former Executive Director of the Lifelong Learning Centre at Bermuda College is a storywork facilitator and a member of the board of StoryCenter [US]. She is also a Trustee of NMB and Chair of the NMB Education Committee.

“In this webinar, Dr. Ferguson will illustrate how personal stories and memories are anchored in everyday personal objects, and demonstrate how to create a polished, written piece documenting those memories.

“Using StoryCenter’s “Material Memory” storytelling approach, Dr. Ferguson will explore the associations we make with a cherished family photograph or object and how exploring those associations can reveal memory, sustain relationships, and provide new ideas and growth. This webinar is the next event in NMB’s “Tracing Our Roots/Routes” programme—a year-long programme that honours, explores and preserves participants’ family history.


When asked about this event, Dr. Ferguson said: “We all have treasured and quite often carefully preserved items. Sometimes they are family heirlooms, objects whose value is often well beyond anything that can be assigned by market: a grandfather’s watch, an aunt’s treasured sewing kit, a pair of carefully preserved 19th century binoculars, or a child’s porcelain doll.

“These objects carry stories, personal narratives and our community histories. These are the material objects in which the past lingers, a touch, a smell, a moment of reflection that helps us remember people, events, places and stories. What is your cherished object? Why is it important? What story is waiting to be told? Join me for this workshop to explore how to capture and share insightful and reflective narratives about your special object.”

A spokesperson added, “All participants will receive a free toolkit created by NMB which will includes resources to help participants on their journey of family discovery. Pre-register for this webinar to receive the toolkit and other information in advance: www.nmb.bm/tracing-our-roots.

“Early events in the “Tracing Our Roots/Routes” programme included the first, presented by Kenyatta Berry, American genealogist, author, attorney and television host of PBS’s “Genealogy Roadshow”, who provided tips on how to interview living relatives, use genealogy methodology, and access US and immigration records for those who left Bermuda for the United States.

“Event two featured local experts Jane Downing [NMB], Ellen Hollis [Bermuda National Library], and Mandellas Lightbourne [Bermuda Archives] who shared information about how to find and use local resources in Bermuda to discover your family’s history. The third event was held in partnership the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institute and explored how curators, museum specialists, and genealogists at The Smithsonian use multiple strategies to research collections for exhibitions and community archives.

“All events have supporting toolkits and were recorded: www.nmb.bm/tracing-our-roots. NMB staff recommend watching earlier presentations before participating in event four.

“Tracing Our Roots/Routes features online presentations by overseas and local experts with an aim to support and encourage family history research and connecting to the past. The programme includes an on-site contemporary art exhibit by Bermudian artist Gherdai Hassell, opening 16 July, 2021 at NMB, and a national crowd-sourcing project asking the community to share personal stories and photographs for on-site and digital display.

“Dr. Janet Ferguson, the former Executive Director of the Lifelong Learning Centre at Bermuda College, is a storywork facilitator and a member of the board of StoryCenter. She is an NMB Trustee and Chair of the NMB Education Committee.

“StoryCenter is a US-based international non-profit dedicated to creating “spaces for transforming lives and communities, through the acts of listening to and sharing sto- ries”. They developed the Digital Storytelling Workshop in the 1990s and, since 1993, have partnered with organizations around the world training thousands of people on how to share their stories.”

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