Drink Beer | Talk History!

Join the Phelps Mansion Museum in both learning history and drinking beer on November 18th. Local historian, Matt Hollis, hosts a presentation detailing the transformation of music following the Civil War.

“Jelly Roll, Joplin, & Jim Crow: Music in the Late 19th Century”

Musical styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States mirrored the very real social and cultural changes in the decades following the Civil War and Reconstruction. As the US transitioned from slave economy to one of free labor, sentiments of hope and nationalism dominated the American musical landscape.

Yet these expressions also included a whimsy or nostalgia for a “lost age.”

While some of these were innocent reflections on the inevitable changing of the national landscape, others tapped into long-held stereotypes in support of the Jim Crow-era racial hierarchy. Nonetheless, innovative currents of musical structure and performance paralleled massive waves of immigration and internal migration, giving birth to some of the United States’ most beloved musical genres: ragtime, blues, and jazz.

Matt Hollis is a historian who has studied numerous topics ranging from the American Revolution to slave societies in the Atlantic world. He has edited a vast collection of papers and taught courses on world civilizations and American history at several universities.


*Reservation ONLY*

    • Non-Members: $10.00/person
    • Members: $8.00/person
    • First drink is free is with admission.

NonMember $10.00 USDMember $8.00 USD

Charlene Thomas with autoharp on left and a black and white photo of Stephen Foster on the right

(Left) Charlene Thomas with her auto-harp | (Right) Stephen Foster circa 1860

Charlene Thomson is a local musician and composer of both dance and folk music; talented at the accordion, auto-harp, and piano. Thomson enjoys sharing the connection between music and its history. In this program, in particular, she will share songs and stories of the famous local composer, the late Stephen Foster.

Stephen Foster grew up in PA and became one of the most famous American composers in the 19th century. Charlene will share stories of the beloved composer, accompanied by equally beloved and familiar songs of Foster including: “Oh! Sussanah,” “Camptown Races,” and “My Kentucky Home.”

The Stephen Foster program will follow the luncheon at the Phelps Museum. From 12:00 – 1:00pm, food will be served to participants that reserved a seat. Those who attend the luncheon will also be able to attend the program from 1:00-2:00pm if they wish.

A menu will be available online at a later date!


  • Lunch and Program: $20/person | Reservations By Phone Only!
  • Program Only: $5/person | No reservation required

In accordance with NYS Safety Guidelines during the COVID-19 Pandemic: all visitors, volunteers and staff regardless of vaccination status will be required to wear a mask or other appropriate face covering while in the building.

For more information email us [email protected] or call us at (607)722-4873.