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April 28, 2022
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JP O'Hare

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New York State Museum to Host Screening of Documentary ‘Searching for Timbuctoo’

Screening to be Followed by a Question-and-Answer Session with Filmmaker, Paul Miller

The New York State Museum will host an in-person screening of the documentary, “Searching for Timbuctoo” on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 7 p.m. in the Huxley Theatre, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. The film will be followed by a Q & A session with the filmmaker, Paul Miller. Visitors are also invited to visit the State Museum’s new exhibition feature on Timbuctoo, located in Adirondack Hall, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on May 5th.

The film “Searching for Timbuctoo” tells the story of Gerrit Smith, a wealthy New York landowner and well-known abolitionist leader who in 1846 gave away 120,000 acres of wild land to nearly 3,000 Black men so they could have the right to vote in the State of New York. One of the settlements from Smith’s land donation became known as Timbuctoo. The film also follows an archaeology team from SUNY Potsdam looking to unearth evidence of the forgotten community.

“Unknown to many, Gerrit Smith is a storied abolitionist and social reformer whose philanthropy contributed to the freeing of countless enslaved people of African descent at a time when the country was on the verge of civil war,” said Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “Many of the issues raised in the film are still being grappled with even today. It’s through historical lessons, such as Paul Miller’s film, that we can open a dialogue to address inequities and forge a sustainable path forward as a nation.”

“Bringing history to life through documentaries and film is one of the great forms of art and plays an important role in learning from our past as we look to create a better future in our communities,” said Commissioner Rosa. “I thank the filmmaker Paul Miller and our staff at the Museum for organizing this screening and telling this important story.”

Paul Miller is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer based in upstate New York. As a 20-year veteran of broadcast and cable television, he has worked for national shows and networks, including The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, PBS, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. 

Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit is available to educators who attend this program. The museum is an approved provider of CTLE. If interested in attending and receiving a certificate of attendance, educators can register by sending their name and contact information to the contact person listed on the registration page. More information about teacher workshops is available on the Museum’s website.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. In observance of Veterans Day this year, the Cultural Education Center will be closed on Thursday, November 11, 2022. It is also closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. For information about COVID-19 safety and policies, visit the State Museum’s website.