Christine Bacon - Board Member

Christine Bacon

Christine Bacon, a graduate student at Niagara University, has been awarded an honorable mention designation by the nation’s top professional museum association, the American Alliance of Museums.

Bacon’s paper, A Thousand Invisible Cords, was part of the AAM’s Education Future Fiction Challenge and included in an application for the Ford W. Bell Fellowship with the AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums.

A resident of Williamsville, Bacon is studying toward a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at NU. She is focusing on the disciplines of history, museum studies, education, writing, tourism, economic development, architecture, historic preservation, and urban planning, among others.

Bacon was “shocked and excited” to be selected for the AAM award, “because of the prestige of the sponsoring organization and the national scope of the fiction challenge.”

A Thousand Invisible Cords is a fictional short story set in Western New York in the year 2040. It envisions a lifelong public education program grounded in constructivist and experiential learning theories, rather than the behaviorist models that dominated K-12 public schools in previous decades.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the contest appealed to me,” Bacon said. “I was able to combine elements I learned in my history and museum studies classes at Niagara University with a love of creative writing to envision a future where museums play an integral role in K-12 education.”

Bacon credited her Niagara University professors, Dr. Mustafa Gokcek, director of the MAIS program and associate professor of history, Dr. Shannon Risk, associate professor of history and director of the public history minor, and Marian Granfield, director of the art history with museum studies program, for guiding her studies.

Whitney Mallam - Board Member

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Whitney W. Mallam has been a practicing attorney in Niagara Falls for over 40 years.  He has served both on community boards and as volunteer for several organizations.  

Whitney's Great, Great, Great Grandfather is Parkhurst Whitney who came to Niagara Falls in 1810.  Mr. Whitney was one of the owners of the Cataract House.  The hotel was located right on the bank of the Niagara River by the Falls.  Under his ownership, it became the largest hotel in Niagara Falls at the time.  Mr. Whitney's wife, Cylinda, traces her roots to the Mayflower in 1620.   The Three Sister Islands are named in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Whitney's daughters.  Little Brother Island is named after their son.  Both Parkhurst and Cylinda are buried in Oakwood Cemetery, as are their children and grandchildren.

Mr. Mallam resides in Lewiston, NY.

Ralph Aversa - Board Treasurer

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Ralph Aversa serves as President of Oakwood Cemetery. He also serves as Oakwood’s Treasurer. In addition Aversa is also the Project Manager for Oakwood’s $425k+ Crematory Project expected to break ground sometime in May.  Aversa is retired from KeyBank,N.A. where he served as a Banking Officer, Appraiser and Sr. Loan Officer in Key’s Community Development Banking Department. He is also retired from The City of Niagara Falls having served two terms on the City Council as well as Director of the Department of Water Facilities. In addition he also served as Executive Director of the NFC Development Corporation and Sr. Business Officer of the Niagara Falls Urban Renewal Agency serving in total five Mayors dating back to the Late Mayor Michael C. O’Laughlin.

He is married to the former Rachele Satarian, the father of four and grandfather of six.