Category Archives: Public History

New York State Reduces Role of State Historian


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Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesThe role of New York State Historian has been downgraded by the Office of Cultural Education to a lesser paid position reporting to the Chief Curator of the State Museum.

Members of the historical community from across New York State – including former State Historian Robert Weible, who retired in July – had been quietly advocating for a stronger, more independent State Historian with a focus on Public History. Continue reading

Former NYS Historian Weible On State Ed Bureaucracy, Responsibilities


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State Education BuildingWhen New York’s governor appointed the first State Historian in 1895, the Progressive Era was just getting underway. The appointment was part of a much larger reform movement to strengthen American democracy by professionalizing government and promoting more active and knowledgeable civic participation in public affairs.

Progressives were especially focused on public education, and in 1911 – seven years after the establishment of the State Education Department  – New York moved its State Historian from the Governor’s office to the newly formed department. Continue reading

National Parks Maintenance Backlog Reaches $11.9 Billion


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National Park Service NPSThe National Park Service (NPS) has released its Fiscal Year 2015 deferred maintenance statistics for national parks. The $11.9 billion nationwide total was up from the $11.49 billion reported at the end of FY2014.

Locally, Women’s Rights National Historical Park has $1.4 million in deferred maintenance – part of the $11.9 billion deferred maintenance backlog across the National Park System. Continue reading

History Resources To Watch In 2016


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New-York-State-Map1As we look forward to the new year ahead, we continue to search for and try out ideas that will strengthen state and local history here in New York.  What follows is a short list of resources that might be of interest:

Of course, the best place to publicize, monitor, and comment on historical programs and issues in our state is this New York History Blog. John Warren continues to provide a unique forum here to keep up with history community news and exchange ideas. Without this blog, we would not have any way to keep in touch. We wouldn’t be able to follow news from historical programs, updates on the work and role of local historians, or discussions of New York History Month, Path Through History, the State Historian’s position, or the proposed Museum Education Act, just to cite a few examples. But keeping the blog going requires support from the state’s history community. Continue reading

Help Keep The NY History Blog Going: Contribute


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NY HIstory Blog Logo 2015 CampaignIt’s that time of year again, when I’m on the stump asking for your help to finish funding the New York History Blog for 2015.

Over the past seven years this site has published over 5,000 stories about New York State history, we’ve promoted hundreds of history initiatives in an effort to foster a sense of shared mission and purpose among New York historians of every stripe – all because readers like you provided the little operating funds we need to keep going.

We’re now just $705 from our 2015 goal. Please help us with this final amount before the end of the year.

You can contribute to our Rally.org campaign here – https://rally.org/f/hmP6uuhdXnT – it’s easy and secure.

If you’ve already given this year, please consider a gift in the name of your favorite organization – or purchasing an advertisement for your next big event – it all goes toward the goal. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at jnwarrenjr@gmail.com.

My First Year As A Local History Librarian


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2015-12-12-ScannersIn mid-October, I marked my first anniversary as the “local history librarian” at the White Plains Public Library. Four years earlier, I was a library clerk at an urban public library trying to figure out how to make a job out of my seemingly varied interests. I liked direct service, helping people, but I also valued more solitary, research driven work. I knew Intellectual freedom and a progressive, supportive community were a necessary part of any job I might hold, but I did not want to obtain a PhD or set out on my own for the wilds of self-employment. I knew I loved education, but I didn’t want to be a teacher. So the world has another librarian.

Through a friend, I began working at Albany Public Library as a Library Clerk and found the public library united my passions for working with people and knowledge in a democratic, autonomous space. Librarians can be educators without being constricted by the bureaucracy that comes with teaching. Librarians can also be historians, but don’t have to work within the traditional academic or museum systems, where publishing requirements or institutional obligations can take up lots of time. Attracted as I am to intellectual autonomy and the propagation of alternative historical voices, working as a local history librarian looked like a perfect opportunity to see if I could manifest some of these values. Continue reading

Regents Makes Museum Education Act A Priority


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CapitolThe New York State Board of Regents has made the Museum Education Act (MEA) a Legislative Priority for 2016. The Act would provide museums and other eligible institutions access to grant funding to conduct curriculum-based educational programs for students and teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and adults enrolled in continuing education programs.

The grants are expected to be competitive in nature and could be used for a variety of curriculum-based educational programming, including funding for the transportation of students to museums or museum staff to classrooms. Continue reading