Category Archives: Public History

Sec. Jewell Celebrates Park Service Centennial In Hudson Valley


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National Park Service Roundtable - the next 100 yearsHow can we be more inclusive and engage future generations to be passionate advocates of historic sites and parks? That was the question at a recent gathering of national and state preservationists at Bear Mountain State Park in late August.

The National Park Service (NPS) is celebrating its centennial this year. With record breaking visitation, it is also mindful that more must be done to inspire new audiences and stewards in the next 100 years. As part of that planning, U. S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell started off on a nationwide tour of NPS sites beginning with a historic first time visit to New York’s Hudson Valley. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: Remembering and Forgetting History


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NYS MapGovernments are often challenged in developing policies about what to emphasize in public history programs such as statues and commemorations, and what to leave out, neglect, or relegate to the shadows. A few examples that may be of interest:

LOCAL DECISION MAKING

In March of this year, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill to prevent local governments from taking down monuments to the Confederacy. The issue is a sensitive one, especially so this year. McAuliffe framed it as an issue of the state needing to let communities decide on a case-by- case basis. Continue reading

History In New York: Where Are We Headed?


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Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesIs New York’s “historical enterprise” really entering a new phase, as Bruce Dearstyne contends in his recent post? There certainly seems to have been some change going on in the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Perhaps most notably, New York is now employing a full-time State Historian for the first time since 1976 (not 1994, as Bruce suggests).

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it would be naïve to allege that today’s State Historian position holds the same power and responsibility that it once did. Continue reading

Schoharie County Inns and Hotels Lecture Thursday


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Schoharie County Historian Ted ShuartSchoharie County Historian Ted Shuart is the guest lecturer at the Old Stone Fort Museum on August 18 at 7 pm for the final installment of the Summer Lecture Series.

His topic, “The Inns and Hotels of Schoharie County” will focus on some of the best known inns, hotels, taverns and tavern stories of Schoharie County. He will include a look at some of the historic taverns, most currently private residences, still standing in the area. The program is free and light refreshments will be served. Continue reading

18th Century Fashion Show at Knox’s Headquarters


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Tiffanie Downs, from Pine Bush, portraying an upper class lady in her silk gown (provided).On Saturday, August 13th from 5 to 7 pm, Knox’s Headquarters presents a fashion show of 18th century civilian and military clothing.

Visitors will see elegant ladies gowns of silk, gentlemen officer wear and the patched and worn garments of the lesser sort. Learn who would have worn the clothing, why it is constructed in that manner, and what function it served. Accompanying the clothing display will be a power point demonstration and narrator describing the portraits and research behind the gowns. Staff members of the New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Sites have painstakingly researched and constructed by hand reproductions of period clothing. Continue reading

A New Phase For New York’s Historical Enterprise?


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Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesThere is encouraging evidence that we may be moving toward a turning point for New York’s historical enterprise.

During the last several months:

The Education Department made the State Historian an independent, full-time position. This is unlike the previous situation, where the State Historian, Bob Weible, also served as Chief History Curator of the State Museum. In effect, that was two jobs rolled into one. The curatorial work left little time for the state history work. Creating a new, dedicated position required approval of the Director of the State Museum, the Commissioner of Education and the Division of the Budget. Those are positive signs of interest and support. Continue reading

1797 Fort Jay Letter Acquired By Jay Heritage Center


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john adler and his familyAbout seventeen years ago, inspired by the purchase of several volumes of a popular 19th century journal, John Adler had an idea – make the American narrative more accessible to the public. So upon his retirement, the former advertising executive launched a multi-year endeavor to create a database of articles, images and ads scanned from the iconic Harper’s Weekly Magazine.

Harper’s was the premiere chronicle of political events and literary commentary of its day, and Adler’s invention would help readers navigate thousands of stories from 1857 to 1916. One could find everything from headlines about Lincoln’s election to Thomas Nast’s cartoons denouncing slavery. This online trove christened “HarpWeek” was further complemented by academic essays and materials for educators. In 2003, Adler’s searchable scholarship “HarpWeek Presents Lincoln and the War” won recognition from the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Institute and an E-Lincoln Prize. Continue reading