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

Free Family Saturdays At Hanford Mills Museum


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Hanford Mills in summerHanford Mills Museum will hold the first of four Free Family Saturdays on June 18. The event offers hands-on activities for families as well as tours and demonstrations of the Mill’s historic water-powered sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop.

The event is part of the statewide Path Through History, which showcases New York’s rich heritage. Hanford Mills Museum is on the Path Through History’s Innovation and Commerce track, because it highlights the how the Mill used a variety of power sources, including waterwheels, water turbines, steam power and gas engines, over its 121-year history as a business. Continue reading

Harriet Tubman: The Long Road To The $20 Bill


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harriet tubman on the 20In April, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman will be featured on the front of new $20 bills. Tubman is the first woman to appear on modern U.S. currency. She displaces former president Andrew Jackson, whose image will move to the back of the bill.

Lew’s decision came after a year’s discussion, including soliciting public input, on images for redesigned currency. 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

Witherill Hotel Plattsburgh Presentation June 14th


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welcome to the witherill susan hamlinJoin the Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) on Tuesday, June 14th at the Plattsburgh Public Library for a book signing and encore presentation of Welcome to the Witherill with Sue Howell Hamlin.

The presentation features rarely seen photographs of Plattsburgh’s Witherill Hotel and its owners, the Howell family, in addition to stories from Sue regarding her time spent as a child living at the hotel. Continue reading

#MyLongIslandLandmarks Exhibit Opens


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Spirit of Long BeachThe #MyLongIslandLandmarks Art Exhibition at the SPLIA Gallery will be taking place from June 9 through November of 2016.

This exhibit is the culmination of a Social Media invitation for Long Islanders to submit their ideas of Long Island landmarks. SPLIA received hundreds of entries of paintings, photographs and other mediums depicting beach scenes, lighthouses, bridges, landscapes, historical sites and much more. Continue reading

Material Culture: Reading Historical Sources


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ben_franklins_worldWhat do historians do with historical sources when they find them?

How do they read them for information about the past?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Zara Anishanslin, an Assistant Professor of History at CUNY’s College of Staten Island, leads us on an exploration of how historians read historical sources by taking us through the documents and objects left behind by four everyday people. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/084

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Results Of Recent National Park Service Tourism Studies


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National Park Service NPS

A recent National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors have spent $16.9 billion at NPS lands in 2015.

The report shows the $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent). This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion. Continue reading