Benjamin Franklin in London


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ben_franklins_worldOver the course of his long life, Benjamin Franklin traveled to and lived in London on two different occasions. The first time he went as a teenager. The second as a man and colonial agent. All told he spent nearly 18 years living in the heart of the British Empire.

How did Franklin’s experiences in London shape his opportunities and view of the world?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, George Goodwin, author of Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us on an exploration of Franklin’s life in London. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/086

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Bruce Dearstyne Wins AASLH Leadership in History Award


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the spirit of new yorkThe American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) have announced that Bruce W. Dearstyne is the recipient of an Award of Merit for the book The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State’s History, published by SUNY Press. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. 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 Funding Opportunity Celebrates Erie Canal


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01_LockportLocksDistrictNew York State’s rich cultural heritage and historic waterways will be central to a new, unique grant opportunity available through July 29 in a first-time inter-agency collaboration between the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the NYS Canal Corporation.

The Erie Canal Bicentennial Grant Opportunity will award funds to organizations producing, presenting or exhibiting arts and cultural activities as part of the ongoing Erie Canal Bicentennial (ECB) Celebration 2017-2025. The opportunity is available through the NYSCA REDC program, which is dedicated to the promotion of economic development through the arts. Continue reading

Shirley Dunn’s New Book: Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers


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Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers (2)Although it played a highly significant role in the settling and development of the Capital Region, Fort Crailo, the birthplace of “Yankee Doodle” and the manorial seat for generations for one branch of the Van Rensselaer family, remains relatively little known, even within the Capital Region itself.

Shirley W. Dunn’s new book, Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers: The Dutch Colonial Origins of Greenbush & the City of Rensselaer (Black Dome Press, 2016) traces the history of Crailo and the Van Rensselaers from the years leading up to the building of Fort Crailo in 1663, through the war years and through the many additions and renovations over the centuries and generations of Van Rensselaers, to the present day in its role as the museum of Dutch history in the Hudson River Valley. Continue reading

Mark Twain and John Hay: The Statesman and the Storyteller


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians” podcast Mark Zwonitzer discusses his book The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism (Algonquin, 2016). Author Mark Twain and Secretary of State John Hay were friends for many years. Hay began his career in public service as Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary during the Civil War. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading

Remembering The March On Washington 1963


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We March We Demand Courtesy of Library of CongressThe National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) will present a program at 2 pm Saturday, June 18 about the March on Washington August 28, 1963 to accompany the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.” NAHOF extends a special invitation to people who have memories of the March to bring those recollections, experiences, souvenirs, etc. to the program to share. Continue reading