The Ransomville Speedway: History, Community, & Culture at a Dirt Track is the Castellani Art Museum’s newest folk arts exhibition, on view now at Niagara University.
The Ransomville Speedway is one of the most storied dirt tracks in New York state, founded in the 1950s by a group of local racers who started a club known as the Ransomville Slowpokes. Today, the Ransomville Speedway remains an important community space for the Buffalo-Niagara region and a hotbed of cultural expression, from narratives and customs to foodways and skilled techniques.
Edward Millar, curator of folk arts at Castellani Art Museum, conducted interviews with workers, drivers, and race teams at the speedway, helping tell and preserve its story in a national archive. The exhibition is a select preview of the fieldwork materials that will become an official collection of the Library of Congress and available online through the Occupational Folklife Project at a later date. Millar did this work through an Archie Green Fellowship awarded by The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 2020.
Supplemental objects on display include a Slack kart, door panels, helmets and a racing tire.
The museum is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free. The exhibition will be on view until April 8, 2022. Museum visitors are required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.
Castellani Art Museum has the only folk arts program in the Greater Buffalo-Niagara region, celebrating artists of diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic traditions that are typically underrepresented in arts and cultural institutions. The program collaborates with local communities to preserve and present their traditional arts to a wider audience and recently received a Library of Congress Fellowship.