There is a special group of people who are remembered by a society. These are the fallen, those who die in battle on behalf of something larger than themselves. In the Bible there is an infrequently used term “nephilim” from the verb “to fall.”
Based on the archaeological evidence, the Nephilim appear to have been part of group who were remembered in Canaanite societies in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (second millennium BCE). These fallen warriors were remembered in feasts and stories just as warriors who have fallen in battle are still remembered today. It’s part of the human experience. Continue reading
Educators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to learn about the region’s culture, history, and future at Farms & Food: Teaching the Hudson Valley from the Ground Up, a conference to be held July 29-31 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park.
The keynote address, “Educating our Next Generation to Eat with Consciousness,” features Pam Koch, associate professor of nutrition education and executive director, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education, & Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, Koch will lead a workshop, “Empowered Eaters: Making Connections through Food and Nutrition Education.” To see Koch cooking with her own children, visit Kids Cook Monday. Continue reading
I recently returned from the 35th annual conference on New York State History in Poughkeepsie, which I attended for the first time. I understand this was the largest convocation of history professionals in New York State, and that the attendance at this conference was the highest ever. As my perspective and background is perhaps slightly different from most attendees at the conference, I feel it appropriate to provide certain observations.
Unfortunately, while others at the conference were somewhat more upbeat, my perception is that for the reasons set forth below there is at all levels an appalling lack of knowledge about critical elements of the history of New York State, and that we as a society suffer from this lack of knowledge every day. While I believe there are individuals in the history community who are in good faith seeking to address this problem, I am not sure that the efforts are close to adequate.
Nearly 2,000 fourth graders from the Buffalo Public School District are seeing the Erie Canal first hand this spring, as they study the canal that built Buffalo and made New York the Empire State.
The field trips are the result of the Erie Canalway Ticket to Ride Program, which funds transportation to canal sites and pays for educational programming. Continue reading
The Hudson Valley Writing Project at SUNY New Paltz (HVWP) will offer two “place-based” writing programs in Dutchess County in collaboration with the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site and the Friends of Clermont. Continue reading
The NYS Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education’s second Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core conference will be held in Albany on Tuesday, August 12, and Wednesday, August 13, 2014.
Proposals for an interactive lab in one of six curriculum areas are invited: The Arts, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Language other than English (LOTE), or Social Studies. Lessons or curriculum used during the lab must be aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards and must demonstrate inquiry through the use of primary sources and/or other cultural resources, such as historic objects, multimedia objects, maps, works of art, or natural resources such as plants, soil or rocks. Continue reading
Recently I wrote about my lobbying experience in Albany and offered a number of suggestions about what needed to be done. Those posts generated responses on the difficultly of lobbying and the need to have an agenda. The likelihood of the history community organizing around a single agenda seemed slim.
I am pleased to report however, that there is proposed legislation in the New York State Assembly which would mark such a giant leap forward. It’s so good, I can scarcely believe it exists. The legislation is from Steve Englebright (D- Setauket). Continue reading
Dr. Travis Jackson often quotes this African proverb: “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
As one of the 49 children at the center of a successful desegregation case in Rockland County in 1943, Dr. Jackson will be a special guest at a ceremony in Hillburn, New York on Saturday, May 17. The event commemorates the 60th anniversary of a subsequent legal decision, the landmark Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The program will also remember the lawyer who was on the winning side in both cases, Thurgood Marshall. As an eyewitness to this epic hunt for equality, Jackson has become the historian for the lions. Continue reading
The high school local history conference is something I recommend every county should do. For the past two years, Rockland County has held such a conference. I attended both conferences and spoke briefly at the first one. This post is dedicated to some of the lessons I learned from the conference.
First, the Historical Society of Rockland County and the County Historian are to be congratulated for organizing the conference and for the people who did attend. The list includes the County Executive, the County Clerk, the County District Attorney, the County Legislative Chair, along with various town supervisors and municipal historians. One never knows where one will find history. For example the District Attorney, who in this case followed in his father’s footsteps, may have tales to tell about prosecutions which became part of the fabric of county history. Certainly the presence of these officials delivered a powerful message in support of local history. Continue reading
The NYS Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education has announced Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core, the second conference bringing together classroom teachers and educators from all types of cultural institutions to support implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards. The conference will take place in Albany on August 12 and 13, 2014. Continue reading
I value the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). I have been a grant review panelist and recipient of grants. Indeed Acting NEH Director Andrea Anderson was the program officer I worked with 30 years ago on “The Great River: Art & Society of the CT Valley” (1985). Without NEH, that project would have been impossible.
I have always had a passion for local history and small museums and especially house museums. I started out in one in Vermont in the 1970s. I am not one who thinks there are “too many house museums.” I think there is too little equity in the way public funds and private foundations involved in the arts and humanities are distributed. I am concerned that too little of that support reaches down to that half of the museum industry comprised of organizations that are small. Continue reading
Fort Ticonderoga is now accepting applications from teachers to participate in the 2014 Fort Ticonderoga Teacher Institute July 13-17, 2014.
The focus of this year’s institute is “1776 at Ticonderoga” and will accommodate 14 teachers for a week-long exploration of the critical year of Independence as it unfolded at Fort Ticonderoga. Applications are due April 15. Continue reading
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site will host its popular Spring Break Mini-Camps for children aged 5 to 10, Monday through Friday, April 14th through 18th. Each camp will last two hours, and be operated as a drop-off program.
On Monday, April 14th, from 10 am to noon, the program will be “Then & Now”. What was it like living 200 years ago? What did people do for heat and light? Where did their food and water come from? Children will explore the Carriage Barn Discovery Center, interact with artifacts from long ago, and make hand-dipped candles. Continue reading
The staff of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Archives has digitized more than a century of The Polytechnic student newspaper. The Poly archive is available online through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Digital Collections, and can be searched by date or keyword.
The archive offers a window into the way Rensselaer students saw themselves and their Institute through history. Continue reading
Should New York students learn about the history of their own state in New York schools?
The question has not been resolved. The State Education Department has been seeking reactions to the latest draft of the New York State Common Core K-12 Social Studies Framework.
The current social studies curriculum dates from the 1990’s. A draft revision completed in 2012 was discussed a number of times in this New York State History Blog over the past couple of years. Continue reading
Teaching the Hudson Valley (THV) is has announced the results of its third annual K-12 “Writing about Place” contest. In the coming weeks many of the poems and essays submitted will be published on THV’s blog.
In addition, the following top-scoring authors will host their classmates as they visit the places they wrote about. Continue reading
Blowing snow, freezing rain, and bitterly cold temperatures – sound familiar? Find out what people did for winter fun during “Old Fashioned Winter,” the Second Saturday Children’s Program at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association at the Silas Wright House, 3 East Main St., Canton on Saturday, February 8th at 11 a.m. This is another in the SLCHA’s series of fun and free monthly educational programs for kids ages 4-10.
On February 8th kids can learn how to make a 3-dimensional snowflake and sample “Wax on Snow.” The 2014 Second Saturday Children’s Programs feature the Treasures from the Attic series, which begins each session with a mysterious old trunk that belonged to “Grandma Moody” (Clarissa Wright’s ancestor) and had been forgotten in the Silas Wright House attic. Each time the trunk is opened the magic begins, as a new object or objects are “discovered” in the trunk. Continue reading
The New York Lottery announced a new campaign Monday reminding the public that Lottery provides aid for education across New York State. As part of this program, a new television commercial was created featuring students singing “Thank You For Being A Friend,” written by Andrew Gold and made popular as the theme to the television show “The Golden Girls,” to unsuspecting people who buy Lottery tickets in a convenience store.
The Lottery has also launched a statewide contest to provide students with an opportunity to win $10,000, $5,000 or $2,500 to benefit their school’s music education program. Named “New York Sings” the contest offers students the opportunity to film themselves singing their own interpretation of “Thank You For Being A Friend.” Continue reading
How can educators meaningfully incorporate the wealth of local and regional cultural resources into our Common Core-based curricula?
The South Central New York State Regional Library Council is hosting a conference that hopes to provide opportunities for public school teachers, librarians, administrators, local and regional museums, art centers, historic sites, and other cultural institutions to get to know and interact with each other over Common Core. The keynote will be presented by Kate Gerson, Senior Fellow for Common Core and Educator Engagement for the NY State Department of Education. Continue reading
In anticipation of The Black Fives, an exhibition opening in March that explores the history of African American basketball teams that existed from the early 1900s through 1950, the New-York Historical Society is initiating a scholarship contest inviting New York City metropolitan area high school students to submit original essays, videos or photographs on the theme of breaking barriers in basketball and making history. A panel of judges will review applications and announce winners in each category.
The scholarship contest seeks entries that answer the question: How has basketball profoundly changed New York history, United States history, or your own personal history? Continue reading