Ste. Genevieve’s history is filled with the deeds of women actively engaged in their community — both during French and Spanish colonial times and during the town’s American period.
The French Colonial America (FCA) organization is bringing that history to life in two hands-on programs this month as part of Women’s History Month.
“Strong Women and Compassionate Hearts” will be presented both at the Gateway Arch Museum in St. Louis and at the Linden House in Ste. Genevieve.
The Arch presentation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. this Saturday [March 16]. The local presentation at the Linden House will be 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 22, coinciding with the Fourth Friday Art Walk.
The local presentation will be one day before French Colonial America [FCA] officially opens the “Hands-on History House” in the Linden House.
“It’ll be sort of a sneak peek beforehand,” FCA property manager Robbie Pratte said.
A silent auction also is planned.
Pratte explained that Jennifer Borque of the Arch Museum approached FCA about the program.
“The interesting thing is, about the same time that they approached us on this, I was talking with Bob Mueller about this,” Pratte said. “He said that he wanted to do a program on a larger scale, potentially in conjunction with another event like the French Heritage Festival. I asked him if he would be interested in working with us in making the two ideas married together on a smaller scale, and we could see how it goes.”
“If there’s enough interest and enough people willing to help, we could potentially do it for something later on in the year or next year for a festival,” Pratte said.
The events will include demonstrations of period crafts.
Deb Cambron will be portraying one of the local colonial era women, demonstrating her skills during the day. She dyes and spins wool by traditional methods, having appeared at several local historical events.
“What we’re basically doing is we want to portray just how the French women really had a large role in the community because of the lifestyles they were living here,” Sandy Puhse of French Colonial America said. “The men had to go out and hunt and farm; or they might be going up and down the Mississippi, trading. So the women were left here to keep things going in the community.
“We just picked a couple of projects that just kind of showed the public the way they lived.”
See complete story in the March 13 edition of the Herald.