First Wednesdays Lecture Series

Free talks on the first Wednesday of the month, October through May.

Middlebury First Wednesdays

Venue: Ilsley Public Library

75 Main Street, Middlebury
Library phone: (802) 388-4095
Library website
Directions to the library


Statewide Underwriters: The Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries; The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation.

Series Underwriter: The Residence at Otter Creek

Program Underwriters: A Friend of the Series; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Pulitzer Prizes; Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Nancy Linkroum Pennell; Tapia & Huckabay, P.C.

Library Sponsors: Friends of the Ilsley Public Library

Wed 03

A Life in Art and Activism

November 3
7:00 pm
Artist, legislator, and former director of the Flynn Center in Burlington, John R. Killacky draws on commentaries from his book Because Art to relate his experiences as a dancer in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s, the maelstrom of the Culture Wars of the 1990s, and his work advocating for artists with disabilities. Read More »
Wed 01

From “Little Jerusalem” to the “Lost Mural”: Preserving Jewish & Immigrant Heritage

December 1
7:00 pm
In 1885, a group of Lithuanian immigrants settled in Burlington’s Old North End, where they transplanted their religious traditions and culture. Archivists Aaron Goldberg and Jeff Potash describe the “Lost Mural,” a rare survivor of the lost genre of European painted synagogues and tell the story of conserving the mural in Burlington. Read More »
Wed 05

From Rembrandt to Vincent Van Gogh and Beyond

January 5, 2022
7:00 pm
Author and artist Carol Berry describes how Rembrandt, Delacroix, Millet and other artists inspired Vincent Van Gogh to develop a personal and universal language that ultimately resonated with 20th century artists. Read More »
Wed 02

Sermon From the Studio: Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

February 2, 2022
7:00 pm
Fifty years after its release, vocalist/composer Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, an extended work addressing societal (and personal) challenges, has grown more pertinent and haunting with age. Jazz archivist and poet Reuben Jackson shares tracks from and discusses this riveting recording. Read More »
Wed 02

*DIGITAL* “It Was I Who Did It”: Women in the American Revolution

March 2, 2022
7:00 pm
Why were women originally left out of the Revolutionary War narrative, and how did they eventually get written back in? Author Carol Berkin provides a close examination of the vital roles that women played in pre-revolutionary protests and in the revolution itself and describes how their participation helped create a new gender ideology. Read More »
Thu 14

Vermont Reads: We Contain Multitudes

April 14, 2022
7:00 pm
Author and professor Sarah Henstra visits Vermont to discuss her novel in letters, We Contain Multitudes. Our Vermont Reads 2021 choice tells how two very different teenage boys fall in love after being paired as pen pals. While it touches on domestic violence, bullying, and opioid addiction, the novel is also a beautiful story of friendship. Read More »
Wed 04

The Jewish Diaspora in 20 Recipes

May 4, 2022
7:00 pm
Food—like music and language—is a strong link to our past, no matter the shores on which we arrive. Natalie Neuert, director of UVM’s Lane Series, explores the recipes that Jews took with them to the Balkans, Europe, North Africa, and America, from British fish and chips to Bubbe’s brisket to the ubiquitous Shabbos supper of cholent. Read More »