What is it? A brown bag lunch program is where people bring their lunch to an educational meeting, where they learn about some facet of their community. There is usually a theme to try and catch people’s interest but it can just be general learning about the community. As these people take their lunch break, they are learning about some aspect of their community, oftentimes related to the history of the area, they were not aware of before. By having it at lunch, people who are normally busy can take a little time that they already have set aside to come connect with their community. This series can be either a few sessions or be an ongoing program that is a constant presence in the community. Either way, it helps people learn to think about their communities in new ways over a time when they have to stop working anyway.
How has it been used? Farmville, VA is home to the Roberta Russa Moton Museum, which is focused on the civil rights struggle in the area. As time passes, people are less and less familiar with the events of, and situation surrounding, the civil rights movement. Farmville had its own struggles against segregation and the museum wants to remind the area about these events. So they have started a brown bag lunch series to look back at the civil rights history of the area. Over the course of 4 Mondays, they brought in speakers who were involved in the movement locally or have studied it to share their knowledge with the public. Community members are encouraged to come eat lunch while they learn and discuss the issues around this important part of local, and national, history. (Source: Roberta Russa Moton Museum)