“The Ransomville Speedway: History, Community, & Culture at a Dirt Track” is the Castellani Art Museum’s newest folk arts exhibition, on view starting this weekend.
The Ransomville Speedway is one of the most storied dirt tracks in the state, and was first founded in the 1950s by a group of local racers who started a club known as the Ransomville Slowpokes. Today, Ransomville Speedway continues to be an important community space for the Buffalo-Niagara region, and a hotbed of cultural expression: from narratives and customs to foodways and skilled techniques.
Through an Archie Green Fellowship awarded by The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University Curator of Folk Arts Edward Millar conducted interviews with workers, drivers and race teams at Ransomville Speedway. He helped tell and preserve its story in a national archive.
This 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.
This exhibition explores the cultural knowledge embedded in dirt track racing through interview excerpts recorded by Millar, and through video and photography by Tom Stevens, the track photographer at the “Big R.” Supplemental objects on display include a Slack kart, door panels, helmets and a racing tire.
The museum’s public hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is always free. The exhibition will be on view until April 8, 2022.
Museum visitors are required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.