netanel crispe cemetery

In this file photo, Netanel Crispe examines the gravestone of Elisa Cane, the third person buried in East Poultney’s Jewish cemetery. The grave of her husband, Marcus, is to the left.

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GRANVILLE, N.Y. — Netanel Crispe, director of the East Poultney Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project in Poultney, Vt., will share his experiences in local historic research and preservation efforts during his July 25 talk, “Recovering Lost History: Unearthing the Past to Inspire the Future.”

Crispe, a resident of Danby, Vt., and 2021 graduate of Burr and Burton Academy, has a genuine passion for local history. A recent graduate bound for college in the fall, Crispe has spent seven years using a metal detector to explore and discover signs of history in the world around him. He is most widely recognized as being the high school student who led the effort to save the oldest Jewish cemetery in Vermont, a story first reported in the Bennington Banner.

In addition to the project in Poultney, Crispe has helped to locate and document some of the state’s earliest historic sites. He enthusiastically pursues lost history throughout Vermont with the goal of preserving it, often by empowering others with the knowledge and confidence they need to follow through. Crispe’s drive comes from a very basic question about humanity: how can we know where we are going if we don’t know where we are coming from?

His answer is simple: “There are clues buried all around us.”

Crispe reached out to the Slate Valley Museum last fall to share his cemetery project. His work struck the staff there.

“Netanel’s work is tied in many ways to our mission here at the museum,” explained Executive Director Sarah Kijowski. “We explore the lives and experiences of people who worked in and around the industry, including local Jewish communities, and much of what we do focuses on sharing and preserving their past.”

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Beyond the content and shared interest, Kijowski explains that Crispe’s zeal and tenacity caught her attention.

“What he’s done is a real testament to what’s possible when we believe in our work and have the drive, courage, and the will to forge ahead,” Kijowski said. “We are certain that our audience will appreciate Netanel’s energy and find relevance and purpose in his work, maybe even feel compelled to help preserve pieces of history and share the stories that they hold in their own communities. That’s at the heart of what we do.”

The program will take place on Sunday, July 25 at 1 p.m. It will be offered on-site at the Museum and it will be online for people to stream live in their homes.

The price for in-person attendance is $10, or free for museum members. Pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Those who wish to attend can RSVP by calling 518-642-1417 or by emailing associate@slatevalleymuseum.org. Given the ongoing pandemic, program attendees should come prepared to wear masks.

The program will be streamed live online for free to all. Pre-registration information for the virtual event will be available on the Museum’s website and Facebook pages.

The Slate Valley Museum is located at 17 Water St. in Granville. More information is available on its website, www.SlateValleyMuseum.org. The museum also has pages on Facebook and Twitter.


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