There 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
About 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
This summer, a treasure hunt of sorts awaits visitors to some of the region’s museums, natural areas and cultural attractions. The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) created a passport stamp program that directs people to places that exemplify the area’s rich, varied and unique natural and cultural heritage. People that visit all 11 participating locations will get a limited-edition “Find Your Park” challenge coin. Continue reading
The 39th Annual Conference of the New Netherland Institute will take place for the first time in the state of New Jersey.
Located between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, New Jersey has often been neglected in favor of more dramatic developments to the east and west. However, as the site of Pavonia, an early patroonship with major agricultural potential, and as the geographic connection between New Amsterdam and the Delaware River settlements, the Garden State’s seventeenth-century origins well deserve attention. Continue reading
The one-year anniversary of the infamous Dannemora prison break recently passed, so here’s the story of an inmate linked to a pair of unusual breakouts, excerpted from my book, Escape from Dannemora.
Despite media stories claiming early on that Richard Matt and David Sweat were the first-ever escapees from Clinton Prison, some in the past did it in even more spectacular fashion, and overall, hundreds managed to escape under various circumstances. Among them was Jack Williams, a participant in two Clinton exits involving unusual components featured in no other Dannemora escapes. Continue reading
The Board of Directors of the Museum Association of New York (MANY) has announced the appointment of Erika Sanger as Executive Director. Sanger brings with her more than 30 years of experience as an educator and museum professional, and a background in program planning connecting museums and their collections with new audiences.
MANY represents more than 1,400 museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums in New York State. Continue reading
New York’s history community is arguably the most diverse, energetic, and imaginative of any state’s. There is always more exciting work to be done to strengthen our programs, raise the visibility of state and local history, and help coordinate our work.
Here are five opportunities for consideration and action. Continue reading
Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Awards For Excellence program seeks to recognize and commend exceptional efforts among GHHN members. Awards are made to projects that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture and diversity of the region. Continue reading
The Ticonderoga Historical Society will celebrate the 90th birthday of the Hancock House, its architecturally significant headquarters building, on Saturday July 16th. The gala “Roaring Twenties” evening, will be complete with flapper dresses and hot jazz.
Burlington-based Hot Box Honey headlined the Hancock House’s 2015 USO Show. Led by jazz vocalist Jane Evans and guitarist Gregory Evans, Hot Box Honey is an eight-piece band with horns, multi-vocalists, guitar, double bass, piano and drums. They will showcase an upbeat mix of swing, Latin, and jazz standards from the 1920s era. Also entertaining during the picnic supper portion of the evening will be the Saratoga Springs barbershop quartet The Elderly Brothers. Continue reading
I wanted to give an update on some things I am working on currently.
I am happy to see the excitement generated regarding the history community coming together for a meeting [ed. – more on this as it develops]. I think it certainly shows both the passion members of the community have for the important work they are doing and the need for a concise and attainable priority agenda. Continue reading