Dresden’s Ingersoll Museum Opens Memorial Day Weekend for 25th Consecutive Season

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.net - 207-358-9785

Original Birthplace of “The Great Agnostic” Honors Nineteenth Century’s Famous Orator

This Memorial Day weekend the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden opens for its 25th anniversary season. For a quarter-century, the Ingersoll Museum has restored this incomparable orator and champion of reason to his rightful place in the great story of America, and now serves as the anchor for the historic Freethought Trail.

Opened to the public for the first time on Memorial Day in 1993, the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum was purchased in 1987 and restored by the Council for Secular Humanism, a program of the Center for Inquiry. The museum takes visitors to New York's Finger Lakes region on a journey through one of America's most transformative eras through the eyes and voice of the nineteenth century's most popular, erudite, and electric public speaker, known as "The Great Agnostic" for his powerful and persuasive speeches advancing reason and secularism.

"There has never been a better time for Americans to rediscover the words and ideas of Robert Ingersoll," said Tom Flynn, museum director and editor of Free Inquiry magazine. "As science and reason are under assault, and as the country is awakening to entrenched inequality, Ingersoll's wit, eloquence, and sense of justice are more relevant than ever."

Ingersoll the man comes to life through the museum's historical artifacts, informational displays, and a video presentation on his life and times, as well as actual audio recordings of Ingersoll in his own voice, produced at the laboratories of none other than Thomas Edison. Refurbished in 2014, the museum also features the actual room in which Ingersoll was born, restored with authentic period furniture, as well as a room dedicated to the local history of Dresden, New York.

“The flourishig wine industry of the Finger Lakes region has been a real boon for the museum,” added Flynn. “The Ingersoll family could not have intended to make their home on what would one day become a favorite Seneca Lake wine trail, but the result is that more people will appreciate the life and wisdom of Robert Ingersoll today and into the future. We think Robert Ingersoll himself would have most certainly appreciated it.”

On August 18 and 19, the museum will celebrate its 25 consecutive years with a conference, the Ingersoll Museum Silver Anniversary Celebration, highlighting west-central New York State’s unparalleled place in history as a flashpoint of radical reform causes, and featuring a keynote presentation by bestselling author and Ingersoll biographer Susan Jacoby.

The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum is located at 61 Main St. in Dresden, New York, on the west shore of Seneca Lake. The 2018 season begins May 26, open Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. Suggested donation is $5.

For more information, visit ingersollmuseum.org or get in touch at (716) 636-7571 or tflynn@centerforinquiry.net.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.