Niagara Falls has stood for a lot of things: the horror of the wilderness, the sublimity of nature, the power of industry, the scourge of pollution, the thrill of a honeymoon, and even the promise of freedom. Ginger Strand, author of “Inventing Niagara,” will share both the well-known and the hidden history of North America's most famous waterfall at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum.

The illustrated slide lecture, which is free and open to the public, kicks off the university’s Vincentian Heritage Week celebration, an annual observation that highlights its rich history of education and service in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.

In “The Meanings of Niagara,” Strand will explore the sometimes surprising meanings layered onto the Falls, introducing mythical Native American maidens, double-crossing town fathers, fugitive slaves, unknowing Manhattan Project workers, missing pharaohs, and 280,000 radioactive mice. Registration is required; to register, visit: www.castellaniartmuseum.org/events/

A curator-led tour of the exhibition, “Niagara in Summer and Winter” will take place at 1 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

Strand is the author of one novel and three books of narrative nonfiction and has published essays and fiction in many places, including Harper's, The Believer, Tin House, The Iowa Review, The New England Review, and the New York Times, as well as This Land and Orion, where she is a contributing editor.

Your Thoughts