Category Archives: Public History

Please Contribute To The NY History Blog For 2016

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2016 Funding New York History Blog Funding CampaignThe New York History Blog relies on contributions from readers to keep publishing important news relevant to the New York State History community. We’ve seen some successes in promoting the cause of New York State’s history, among them lending our voices to help revive New York State History Month, and toward the re-establishment of a full-time New York State Historian.  We’ve promoted thousands of exhibits, events, collections, historic sites, and new publications.

Now we need your help to keep going in 2016.  Giving is easy, and this year it’s even easier – you can simply send a check to The New York History Blog, 7269 State Route 9, Chestertown, NY 12817 – or  contribute via this year’s campaign here: Continue reading

Stonewall National Monument Dedicated In NYC

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The Stonewall Inn, taken September 1969On Monday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and White House Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett joined federal, state and local officials and LGBT leaders to participate in a public dedication ceremony to commemorate the designation of Stonewall National Monument in New York City.

President Obama designated Christopher Park in Greenwich Village as Stonewall National Monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act. The monument’s boundary also encompasses the Stonewall Inn, a seminal location in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) history, as well as the surrounding streets and sidewalks integral to the Stonewall Uprising. Continue reading

Digging For Our Dutch Roots Event In Rochester, June 24-25

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digging for our dutch rootsThe New Netherland Institute will be hosting the Digging for our Dutch Roots event in Rochester on June 24-25.

The event hopes to answer questions such as, “what were the Dutch doing in America in the seventeenth century, and why didn’t we learn this piece of our history in school?” The New Netherland Institute will offer a fact-filled program for teachers, students, genealogists, academics and the general public. Continue reading

Conscious Collaboration: Grassroots Opportunities for NYS Cultural Organizations

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Hart-Cluett Mansion and Rensselaer County Historical SocietyThis year’s Massachusetts Humanities conference focused on collaboration and community among cultural organization throughout the Commonwealth. As an attendee hailing from Central New York, I was of course interested in gathering useful insight to apply to New York’s current state of affairs regarding public history institutions. Organization representatives at the conference came together and agreed that maintaining or regaining relevancy at a cultural site or institution depended on institutions’ willingness and ability to look inward and outward – inward toward the organization itself, and outward toward the larger community outside its doors. Similarly, New York State’s cultural and heritage organizations stand to benefit from increased and tangible collaboration, between sites, organizations, and communities, as well as other state and local institutions. Continue reading

A Message From The New State Historian Devin Lander

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Seal of New York StateI am humbled and honored to be New York’s 16th State Historian. It is certainly a privilege to have the opportunity to work with an amazing network of dedicated historians across the State to further the study, preservation, and celebration of New York’s unique and vital history.

The position of New York State Historian has a long history dating back to the first Historian being named in 1895. During the past 121 years, the State Historian has worn many hats; archivist and records collector, editor of historical collections, historical researcher and writer, preservationist, director of historic sites, museum curator, advocate for State and local history, and facilitator of a matrix of municipal, academic, and agency historians. It is a potentially daunting and multi-faceted position. Continue reading

New York State Historian: The Weible Years

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New York State Cultural Education CenterNew York State now has a new historian. In some ways that should seem like a routine announcement since the State is required to fill that position. However as people in the history community well know, the State, like many counties, cities, towns, and villages does not always comply with regulatory requirements. There is no penalty to the State for the failure to comply either and only a trivial unenforced one at the municipal level.

Even when the State and the municipalities do comply with the letter of the law, they don’t necessarily comply with the spirit. The position is often disrespected and/or disregarded excluding some ceremonial occasions and is not taken seriously when the real decisions of government are involved. The diminishment of the State position sets a poor but accurate example to the county executives, mayors, and town supervisors that local and state history really aren’t important regardless of any lip service at the press release level. How often is the voice of the history community actually heard in the REDC funding process (which is now beginning again for the 2016 cycle). How much funding is there for collaboration in the Path through History project regardless of how often the jargon is spoken? Message received. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne’s Spirit of New York

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the spirit of new yorkIn his new book, Bruce W. Dearstyne presents New York State history by exploring sixteen dramatic events. From the launch of the state government in April 1777 to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, these events altered the course of state and US history.

Chapters describe great political changes, historical turning points, and struggles for social, racial, and environmental reform. Continue reading