YesterWays’ hands on history at Monroe County Museum


The Monroe County Museum is connecting the past to the present with the YesterWays program.

This program takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the County Museum, 126 S Monroe St. People can participate in this free, hands-on, drop-in activity focusing on a skill or craft from the past. All the activities are inspired by Monroe County’s history.

Each month, a new activity will be offered. Participants will be able to receive one-on-one instruction from museum staff to create a take-home project.

The February YesterWays program is a painting workshop, which found inspiration from Robert Seldon Duncanson, the first internationally known African American artist. Robert is a celebrated pioneer of the landscape genre, often referred to as “the greatest landscape painter in the West,” per the museum’s research.

In 1828, the Duncanson family came to Monroe from Fayette, New York. Robert, still at a young age, developed a knack for art while working with his father painting houses. Ten years later, Robert established his own painting and glazing business, before relocating to Cincinnati to pursue fine arts as a career.

After relocating, he travelled a great deal and built a reputation for himself as a master artist. The YesterWays program wants to honor his forgotten legacy by hosting painting workshops inspired by his still-life oil paintings. For this workshop, though, participants will use simple watercolors and can take home any paints to finish your project if you do not finish during the workshop.

The workshop is free to all. The staff of the Monroe County Museum encourages people to share their finished paintings with its Facebook page to have a virtual celebration of his life in art.

Anyone ages eight to 80 is encouraged to come, and there is no need to make an appointment.

For more information, visit the Monroe County Museum’s Facebook page or website, or call 734-240-7780.