Category Archives: Public History

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

New Book on Environmental Movement Illustrates Uses of History


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Climate of HopeA new book by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former executive director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope illustrates some interesting uses of history.

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Business and Citizens Can Save the Planet (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017) discusses how cities, businesses, and individuals can take action to confront global warming and improve the environment. There are lots of interesting examples and proposals. But these three themes may be of particular interest to readers of The New York History Blog. Continue reading

The Origin and Impact of the Adirondack Northway


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i87When my parents came to the Adirondacks in 1956, they believed they were moving to a place far removed – culturally and politically as well as geographically – from the cities in which they had worked as left-wing journalists.

Beyond the Adirondacks lay “the big world,” as our neighbor Peggy Hamilton called it. (It was a world she was familiar with, having been the companion of Vida Mulholland and, like Vida and her more famous sister Inez, an early advocate of women’s rights.) Continue reading