Category Archives: Public History

Rethinking Outreach by Moving Outside the Museum


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Iszards Store Window DisplayThe Chemung County Historical Society has been working with new partners and new programs as part of our effort to be a greater presence in our community. As director, I feel that it is imperative that the museum be a part of everyday community life, analogous to our local library. In order to make a greater impact on our community, we need to find better ways to entice community members to visit our museum and for us to meet our fellow citizens where they are.

Over the past eighteen months, the CCHS has had the opportunity to place new exhibits throughout our community, develop new programming with an unexpected partner and strengthen ties to a traditional partner. Continue reading

‘Humanities in the Public Square’ Grant Opportunity


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NEHThe National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced a new grant opportunity called “Humanities in the Public Square” that will put humanities scholars in direct dialogue with the public on some of the most pressing issues of today –  through public forums, community programs, and the development of educational resources.

This new grant opportunity is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ agency-wide initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life. Continue reading

Interview: City Of New York’s Municipal Archives


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NYC Department of Records and ArchivesKen Cobb joined me on “The Forget-Me-Not Hour” podcast this week, talking about one of the richest repositories in New York City: the New York Municipal Archives.

Ken, Assistant Commissioner of Department of Records and Information Services for the City of New York, talked about the collections of the archives – vital records, tax records, police records, almshouse records, mayoral records, legislative records, and more. Continue reading

Inside New York State’s History Tourism Bubble


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Andrew Cuomo Path Through historyThe Albany-Manhattan bubble is a term I use to describe the alternate reality in which the New York State government operates regarding history tourism.

Recent events in New York, Albany, and Corning (The New York Times Travel Show, Tourism Action Day, a Tourism Advisory Council Meeting, and the Museum Association of New York Annual Conference), and the presentations and comments I heard from by the inhabitants of the Albany-Manhattan bubble, demonstrate a disconnect with the real world and little hope that anything constructive will be done to bridge that gap. Continue reading

Applying For History Money From New York State


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REDC RegionsAn excellent meeting was held on April 7 at the Wallace Center, Hyde Park with the history community in the Hudson Valley and Meghan Taylor, the new director for the Mid-Hudson Region Economic Development Council (REDC).

The subject of the meeting was MONEY: what funding does New York State have and how can the history community apply for it? A second purpose was to introduce Meghan to the history community and the community to her. Continue reading

Museum of the City of New York Director Retiring


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Susan Henshaw JonesSusan Henshaw Jones, the Director of the Museum of the City of New York, will retire in December 2015, according to James G. Dinan, Chair of the museum’s board.  Jones has been the director of the Museum since February 2003.  Museum board members are forming a search committee to find the City Museum’s next director.

Jones’ departure comes near the conclusion of a 10-year, phased expansion and modernization of the Museum, which will be completed in June 2015.  She presided over a $97 million expansion and renovation of the 83-year-old landmark building located on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street, and the creation of the new Frederick A. O. Schwarz Children’s Center. Continue reading

I Love My Park Day May 2nd


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Andrew Cuomo at I Love NY Parks DayThe fourth annual I Love My Park Day will be on May 2nd.  I Love My Park Day is a statewide event that seeks to improve and enhance New York’s parks and historic sites. Volunteers clean up winter damage and other debris on park lands and beaches, plant trees and gardens, restore trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and work on various site improvement projects.

Nearly 90 parks and historic sites are expected to participate this year, from Montauk Point to Niagara Falls. The annual event is sponsored jointly by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York. Continue reading

Report: Erie Canalway Trail ‘Closing The Gaps’


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Erie Canalway Trail Progress 2014Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) have released their fifth annual report, Closing the Gaps: A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2014.

The report is intended to update canal corridor communities and national, state, and local decision makers on recent progress and current trail status as well as underscore the need for the resources and political support to ensure the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail is finished. Continue reading

Historical Records Grants Available


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archives 2The New York State Archives has announced the application period for the Documentary Heritage Program grants for 2015-2016 is now open.

The Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) is a statewide program established by law to provide financial support and guidance to not-for-profit organizations that hold, collect and make available New York’s historical records. Funding is available to support projects that relate to groups and topics traditionally under-represented in New York’s historical record. Continue reading

Peter Feinman: Create Pathfinders In Your Region


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The PathfinderI attended The New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in January, as a member of the press for The New York History Blog. The event included a special session, “Focus on New York State Destinations,” moderated by Tim Lewis, of Viator Inc.

The company apparently has been hired by ILoveNY to promote tours in New York State. Its website lists 19 tours in New York at present: 16 in Manhattan and three to Niagara Falls, including one-day trips from the New York City. There is a two-day bus trip to Niagara Falls from New York with a “Bargain shop at one of the large outlet malls on the way back to New York.” New York State history does not appear to be a prominent part of its tour packages at present. Again, it should be noted, the company was hired to promote New York State tourism not history tourism in New York State. Continue reading

Willa Skinner Recognized As 2015 ‘Woman of History’


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FSHSHH_WS_MtGulianGalaEach year, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site sets out to recognize one woman’s demonstration of the character traits of Martha Washington. Throughout the American Revolution, including the time she spent with her husband at Headquarters, Newburgh, Martha Washington partook in activities displaying a myriad of traits that would cement her unique position as a woman of history.

Since 2003, fourteen leading women of the Hudson Valley have been chosen to receive the “Martha Washington Woman of History Award.” This year’s recipient was Town of Fishkill Historian Willa Skinner. Continue reading

Historic Hamilton and America’s Future


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Hamilton MusicalAlexander Hamilton is boffo at the box office. The heretofore unsung Founding Father best known for losing a duel is the subject of over two hours of song and dance in the new musical Hamilton. The Off-Broadway show is packing people in to rave reviews and reactions and is expected to move to Broadway this summer. Hamilton has become a bit of a phenomenon that has taken Manhattan by storm.

Hamilton also is of critical importance to health and future of this country. While that might seem like an over-the-top assertion, it isn’t. Continue reading

$900 Million Being Invested in State Parks


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NY Parks 2020Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a seven-point framework of the NY Parks 2020 Plan that is expected to use $900 million in public and private funding to modernize the State park system.

The plan is part of a multi-year commitment since 2011 to restore facilities, enhance visitor experience, update signage and create better access for tourists at parks across the State. The 2015-16 Executive Budget adds $110 million toward this initiative. Continue reading

Boscobel House and Gardens Appoints Curator


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Jennifer CarlquistBoscobel House & Gardens in Garrison, NY has announced the addition of Jennifer Carlquist as its new Curator (effective February 4, 2015). Carlquist is expected to oversee the museum’s collection of New York furniture and decorative arts from the Federal period and organize annual exhibitions.

Carlquist is an art historian specializing in American interiors and 17th- to 21st-century decorative arts and designs made, collected and/or retailed in America. Her 15-year career as a museum professional includes curatorial and fundraising positions at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Weisman Art Museum, and Glensheen Historic Estate and a fellowship at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library. Continue reading

Fort Ti President Named 2015 ‘Distinguished Patriot’


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Beth HillBeth L Hill, President and CEO of the Fort Ticonderoga Association, has been named the 2015 Distinguished Patriot by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York. The award was presented to Hill for her years of service in the historical profession and her strong leadership at Fort Ticonderoga.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Patriot Award include Senator Barry Goldwater, General William C. Westmoreland, Colonel Edwin E. Aldrin, Normand Vincent Peale, D.D, Senator James Buckley, Hon. Jean Kirkpatrick, and Senator Robert Dole. The award is given for outstanding academic or service performance.

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Historic Saranac Lake Hires Programs Coordinator


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Historic Saranac lakeHistoric Saranac Lake (HSL) has announced that Chessie Monks will serve as the new Public Programs Coordinator for the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Monks has a master’s degree in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons College in Boston.

In a statement to the press HSL Executive Director Amy Catania said, “The addition of Chessie to the staff will allow us to better connect with the public through improved exhibits, additional programming, and increased hours of operation. We’re so pleased that Chessie is joining our team and know that her enthusiasm and experience will serve us well.” Continue reading

NY History and Upstate Tourism Development Awards


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REDC RegionsThis post brings to a conclusion the series on the awards granted by the Regional Economic Development Councils in December 2014. The purpose of the series is to provide the history community with information about what actually is occurring in New York State funding.

It provides readers of these posts with the opportunity to draw on the primary source documents about what really is being done. It examines furthermore what Empire State Development is doing with the new money it has received and to determine if the Path through History has substance. Continue reading