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Valley Talks kicks off at the Museum of Work & Culture With Architect Jonathan Bell and Exploration of French Mills NOW VIRTUAL DUE TO WEATHER


The series will kick off with Making the French Connection: Industrial Architectural Heritages of Woonsocket, Roubaix, and Tourcoing, a talk from architect Jonathan Bell.

Due to a combination of economic, labor, and cultural conditions, Woonsocket became the perfect American city at the turn of the 20th century for several French and Belgian textile companies to expand their operations. Bell will share the legacies of Woonsocket’s counterparts in northern France and the architectural heritage of these former mill complexes.

Admission to the Valley Talk is free, but registration is required. Guests can register online here.

Bell, AIA LEED-AP, is an architect and educator in Providence, where he is principal at Jonathan F. Bell, Architect, and teaches in RISD’s Interior Architecture department. Bell was the 2021 Fellow of the Richard Morris Hunt Prize, which enables an American architect to spend six months in France researching a topic related to historic preservation practice. Bell’s project centers on the preservation and reuse of industrial architecture in France, including the legacy of the textile industry in the Hauts-de-France region, from which Making the French Connection is drawn.

Other Valley Talks will include:

January 21: Filmmaker Christian de Rezendes presents the story of the decade-long process of creating his award-winning documentary series Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village.

February 4: RIHS Executive Director Christiana Morgan Grefe and sculptor Gage Prentiss detail the history of gifted artist Edward Mitchell Bannister and the process of creating a public tribute to his legacy.

February 18: Civil War reenactors Denise and Paul Bourget discuss the research and dedication of living history performers, particularly when returning to one of the country’s most difficult periods.

March 3: Historian Pierre Lavoie takes a fresh look at how early 20th-century Francophone celebrities helped shape the collective identities of Francophones in Quebec and New England.

The Museum’s 2024 Valley Talks series is presented by Amica Insurance, with additional support from the Museum of Work & Culture Preservation Foundation and the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park.



Jan 7
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
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Museum of Work & Culture


Museum of Work & Culture
42 S Main St
Woonsocket, RI 02895 United States
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