2016 Adirondack Coast Museum Days This Weekend


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adk coast arts and history passportThe Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance (ACCA) again celebrates Museum Days throughout the Adirondack Coast from June 4-5, 2016, inviting visitors and residents to explore the area’s wealth of museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.

For these two days, participating locations will offer free admission, including demonstrations, exhibits, hands-on activities, and more. As the backdrop for many historical events and happenings, lakeside villages, charming hamlets and the historic city of Plattsburgh, the Adirondack Coast offers visitors the opportunity to relive some of the most pivotal moments in our country’s history. Continue reading

Caesar of Albany County: New York’s Last Living Slave


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caesar of albany countyIn the spring of 1811, the Albany Common Council banned Pinkster Day celebrations because of “rioting and drunkenness.” Two centuries later, in an effort to revive a tradition from Albany’s past, members of the University Club petitioned the Common Council to repeal the prohibition. The Pinkster ban was lifted on May 16, 2011.

On Friday, June 3, the Club will welcome award-winning author Scott Christianson to its 6th Annual Pinkster Celebration at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany. Scott Christianson, Ph.D. is an award-winning author of several distinguished non-fiction books, as well as a journalist, criminologist, historian, filmmaker, teacher and human rights activist. Continue reading

The 2016 Season At Schoharie Crossing


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schoharie crossing state historic siteThe Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site Visitor Center in Fort Hunter, Montgomery County is open the 2016 season. Hours at the Visitor Center are 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Saturday and Sundays 1 pm -5 pm from May until October 31st.

Visit the site to witness the engineering marvel of the Erie Canal and check out the “Little Short of Madness” exhibit as well as artifacts from the colonial Fort Hunter and the Lower Castle Mohawk Village. Schoharie Crossing is the best place to witness Erie Canal history and enjoy a day walking the towpath trails, kayaking the creek or cycling the Canalway trail. Continue reading

Lt. Joseph Petrosino And The Italian Squad


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joseph petrosinoOn Tuesday, April 14, 1903, an Irish woman named Frances Connors leaned out of her window from the fifth floor tenement house at 743 East 11th Street on Avenue D, New York City, and discovered a man’s body stashed inside a wooden barrel.

The man, who sported a thick mustache speckled with gray hairs and a scar shaped like the letter ‘v’ on his left cheek, had been viciously stabbed, his neck almost severed from side to side. Inspectors on the scene had an inkling the man was one of the many Italian immigrants who had recently made their way into New York, and who perhaps had become involved with La Mala Vita, the bad life. Continue reading

John Jay Medal Awarded Historian Joseph Ellis


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John Jay Medal AwardsOn May 14th, the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) held its second John Jay Medal Dinner and recognized two individuals whose efforts have helped elevate and strengthen the legacy of native New Yorker, John Jay.

JHC’s first honoree was Prof. Joseph J. Ellis, one of the nation’s leading historians and the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation.  Ellis’ exhaustive and illuminating research for his newest book The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution 1783-1789 restores John Jay to the pantheon of nation-builders alongside Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Continue reading

Johanna Yaun: A Public History State Of Emergency


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New York State MapThis week I came across an article about Joe Bagley, the 31-year- old archaeologist who has been put in charge of one million mostly un-cataloged City of Boston artifacts. Underpaid and overburdened, he’s found ways to triage the projects that come at him each day. He has to be a historian, a fundraiser, a bureaucrat, a volunteer coordinator, a social media guru, an artifact guardian, a cheerleader for preservation, a meticulous registrar, and a broad minded strategic planner, all at the same time.

You’re not alone, Joe. This has become the narrative of the post-recession workplace. It’s like a reality TV premise: we give you poverty level pay and a mountain of responsibility, and expect you to turn this organization around with your hipster ingenuity. I see it so often that I’ve started to refer to it as the martyr-hero motif. Continue reading

Erie Canalway Photo Contest Call for Entries


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erie canalway pic contestEntries are being accepted through August 26, 2016 for the 11th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. The contest captures the beauty, history, people, and character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit images in four contest categories: On the Water, Along the Trail, Canal Communities, and Classic Canal. Winning photos will be featured in the 2017 Erie Canalway calendar, which is available free of charge in December. Continue reading

Information & Communication in the Early American South


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ben_franklins_worldWe live in an age of information. The internet provides us with 24/7 access to all types of information—news, how-to articles, sports scores, entertainment news, and congressional votes.

But what do we do with all of this knowledge? How do we sift through and interpret it all?

We are not the first people to ponder these questions.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Alejandra Dubcovsky, an Assistant Professor at Yale University and author of Informed Power: Communication in the Early South (Harvard University Press, 2016), takes us through the early American south and how the Native Americans, Europeans, and enslaved Africans who lived there acquired, used, and traded information. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/082

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The Commissioner of Education and the NYS Historian


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Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesAt present the position of the New York State Historians lies deep within the bowels of the state bureaucracy, starved for resources, and scarcely able to see the light of day through all the bureaucratic levels above it.

Formerly, the State Historian reported to the Director of the New York State Museum, who reports to the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Culture and Education, who reports to the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Education, who reports to Commissioner of Education, who answers to the Board of Regents.

But what does that mean? Continue reading