The Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden opened for its 25th anniversary season Memorial Day. 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 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 on a journey through one of America’s most transformative eras through the eyes and voice of the 19th 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 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 Aug. 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. Dresden, on the west shore of Seneca Lake. The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Suggested donation is $5.
For more information, visit ingersollmuseum.org or call 716-636-7571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. For details visit www.centerforinquiry.net.