AMHERST – African Heritage Month will be celebrated at Cumberland County Museum this year in “Somebody Else’s Kitchen.”
The new exhibit will be on display during the month of February, beginning on Feb. 1. The traveling exhibit is, in part, a tribute to women who toiled endlessly and without complaint in somebody else’s kitchen in addition to managing their own homes, according to artist Darlene Strong, who created the exhibit in memory of her brother, Donald Cooke Jr., who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2012.
“On any given day, Donnie could be found with his children in somebody else’s kitchen, or welcoming others into his home for a good feed of Down east cooking,” said Strong.
The exhibit will showcase 10 panels of didactic work, walking an audience through more than 200 years of black history and featuring artifacts such as flour boards and flat irons. It also demonstrates the contrasts between healthy living then and now, and allows youth to explore those differences, she explained.
While women of the time were known as “domestic help” or “maids” Strong said they would more accurately be referred to as mentors, mothers and entrepreneurs; and the work they did then continues to be of great value and an essential necessity today.
“Not only did women manage other people’s homes efficiently but they were able to maintain order in their own homes simultaneously,” said Strong. “They worked with dignity and took pride in their jobs, never shirking responsibility.”
The exhibit was produced with support from the Office of African Nova Scotia Affairs, Spicer Graphic Design, and the Town of Amherst, as well as the museum.