Category Archives: Public History

Bruce Dearstyne: Historians and the Public Good


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Every issue of History News, the publication of the American Association for State and Local History, is worth reading for its reports and insights into our field, but the latest “Emerging Professionals Takeover Issue” (Winter 2018) is particularly fascinating.

It was written and edited by emerging history professionals – people recently entering the field or holding their first professional or management positions. The issue touches on several topics of concern today and even more important for the future of the field. Continue reading

NYS Museums Advocacy Report From Erika Sanger


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NY Museum Professionals in the Washington, DC office of New York Senator Charles SchumerLast week we were in Washington, D.C. for Museums Advocacy Day sponsored by the American Alliance for Museums. We learned some important things about New York’s Museums that made us proud to speak up for our sector.

Oxford Economics’ 2017 national report “Museums as Economic Engines” found that the total annual economic impact of Museums in New York State is $5.4 billion dollars – equal to that of the state’s agricultural industries and second only to California in contributions to our nation’s economy. Continue reading

Effort Underway To Move NYS History Month To October


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Legislation has been introduced which would amend the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law to change New York State History Month from November to October according to an announcement made by the Office of State History.

The move comes on the heels of a revival of sorts for New York’s History Month, which suffered from years of being ignored.  November was designed New York State History Month in 1997 by the State Legislature.

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Carol Kammen: NY Municipal Historians Report Lessons


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There are some obvious truths that emerge from the survey of New York State county and borough historians, submitted by the State Historian to all county and borough historians in September 2017 to which approximately 30 individuals responded.

What follows is apparent from the surveys and is a composite of their responses but cannot be considered absolute for all those who answered the survey. There are variables that will be discussed below. Continue reading

An Agenda for New York’s Historical Enterprise


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What does New York’s historical community want?

In the wake of NYSHA’s demise, Ken Jackson and his colleagues have addressed an open letter of concern and protest. Peter Feinman included the letter in a recent post and followed with a response from Paul D’Ambrosio in another post. John Warren continues to report on developments, attesting to the essential importance of the New York History Blog.

State Historian Devin Lander is doing an outstanding job but he is still working without staff. New York passed its 240th anniversary last spring with no official commemoration. The Researching New York Conference last month was one of the best ever, but the New York State History Conference has been discontinued. November, New York State History Month, has come and gone once again with little public attention. The demise of NYSHA leaves a big gap in the state’s historical enterprise. Continue reading

New Online Reporting System For Local Historians


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office of state history§57.09 of the NYS Arts and Cultural Affairs Law requires all appointed Local Government Historians to “make an annual report, in the month of January, to the local appointing officer or officers and to the state historian of the work which has been accomplished during the preceding year.”

New York State Historian Devin Lander and the Office of State History have made online submission of the required report available to allow historians to more easily make their required report via the web.

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Historians File Protest for State and Local History


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new york acadamy of historyWho advocates for New York State history? I have frequently bemoaned the absence of a history agenda, an organized history community, and history advocacy day here. Last year, Ken Jackson, Columbia University and plenary speaker at the kickoff of the Path through History program, ridiculed that very program in his plenary address to the Great Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN). That plea was followed up by a letter to the Governor through the auspices of the New York Academy of History. Naturally, there was no response, not even a form letter. Continue reading

Revealing The Regents Museum Advisory Council


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New York State Education BuildingDid you know that there is a Regents Museum Advisory Council? It reports to the Regents Cultural Education Committee. There is a story to be told about this advisory council and its meaning for the history community.

Back on January 6, 2012, Jeff Cannell, the former Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education, sent a letter to the Regents Cultural Education Committee proposing the creation of an advisory council. The Regents Rules provided for such a council and Cannell now sought to officially request that it be created: Continue reading

County and Borough Historians’ Institute Announced


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office of state historyOn August 25th, 2017 from 9 am to 5 pm the County and Borough Historians’ Institute will be held at the New York State Museum Huxley Theater, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany.

The County and Borough Historian’s Institute is a free learning opportunity for County and Borough Historians hosted by the Office of Cultural Education and facilitated by the New York State Historian, the Association of Public Historians of New York State and the Government Appointed Historians of Western New York.  Continue reading