2019 Newell D. Goff Lecture: “The National Sports Collection”
110 Benevolent St
Providence, RI 02906
On Saturday, September 21, the Rhode Island Historical Society is offering a double-header of compelling programming. On that day, the organization’s two museums — the John Brown House (52 Power Street, Providence) and the Museum of Work and Culture (42 South Main Street, Woonsocket) — will participate in Smithsonian Museum Day by offering free admission and special programming to all guests from 10am to 4pm at each site. That same afternoon, RIHS will hold its annual Newell D. Goff Lecture, an annual keynote talk delivered this year by Smithsonian Curator Eric Jentsch.
The Goff Lecture will be presented by Eric Jentsch, Lead Curator for Sports and Entertainment in the Division of Culture and Community Life at the National Museum of American History. Jentsch’s talk is titled “The National Sports Collection,” and it will expand upon the Smithsonian’s collection of sports-related objects. These pieces not only document the achievements of some of the nation’s greatest athletes, but also represent sport’s vital role in our shared culture. Jentsch will share stories around particular objects, revealing how these artifacts can provide dynamic explorations into our nation’s past.
“Every year, thanks to our affiliation with the Smithsonian Institute, we are able to invite an excellent national speaker to visit Rhode Island and share their work in the field of history and museums as our Newell D. Goff lecturer. And every year, we open the doors of our museums for free for the Smithsonian Museum Day. This year, we are pleased to be able to merge these two events,” said Geralyn Ducady, Director of the RIHS’s Goff Center for Education and Public Programs.
The Newell D. Goff Lecture and reception is free and open to the public, with advance registration at https://forms.gle/vDuDuyPZ6Q5AikBg6 or by calling (401) 331-8575 x360.
Jentsch serves as Lead Curator for Sports and Entertainment in the Division of Culture and Community Life at the National Museum of American History. He attended St. Louis University, where he studied American History and English Literature, and received his Master’s in Museum Studies at George Washington University. Jentsch has worked on a number of projects connecting American History to its popular culture, most recently curating the “Superheroes” exhibition opened last November. He is currently working as one of the curators for the upcoming Entertaining America exhibition. Jentsch is responsible for popular culture collections including sports, television, and comic books. Recent acquisitions include historic baseball materials related to Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron, props and costumes from the television show “The Walking Dead,” and materials related to artist Bob Ross and his program “The Joy of Painting.”
Last year’s Goff Lecture featured Cindy Brown, Smithsonian Gardens’ Manager of Horticulture Collections and Education, who highlighted the archives of American gardens. In 2017, Susan Evans McClure, former Director of Food History Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, gave a presentation. In 2016, Jeffrey E. Post, Curator-in-Charge of the Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, discussed the Hope Diamond.