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
An ad like the one in the January 21, 1869 issue of the Malone Palladium which announced the opening of a new writing school in Malone, NY, was not uncommon during the post-Civil War era.
According to the ad, Professor T.M. Tobin, a former teacher at the Vermont Business College in Burlington, was offering to teach “ladies and gentlemen the Spencerian system of penmanship.”
Students were expected to provide their own foolscap paper, “good” ink, and pens. Tobin’s ad stated that specimens of his penmanship could be seen at the post office and that he would award a gold pen to the student who showed the most improvement. His fee for twelve lessons in today’s money was about $35.00, payable in advance. Continue reading
In Fordham University & the United States: A History (E-Lit Books, 2013), Debra Caruso Marrone delivers a breezy, informative book for American history lovers and anyone associated with the 172-year-old institution.
Founded as St. John’s College in 1841 by New York Archbishop John Hughes, the university began as a vehicle to educate young men and deliver Catholics to the upper class. Continue reading
Peacefully sharing a space-time continuum does not come easily to our species. The challenge of doing so was played out in colonial New Amsterdam/New York in the 17th and 18th centuries especially from Albany and Schenectady westward throughout the Mohawk Valley.
There, and north to the Champlain Valley and Canada, multiple peoples who had not yet become two-dimensional cliches struggled to dominate, share, and survive in what became increasingly contentious terrain. Battles were fought, settlements were burned, and captives were taken, again and again.
By the 19th century, much of that world had vanished save for the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. By the 20th century, that world existed in state historic sites, historical societies and local museums, Hollywood, and at times in the state’s social studies curriculum. Continue reading
PLEASE HELP, Santa. What we really want for Christmas is a women’s trail.
When members of the U.S. Congress and the New York State Legislature open their doors in January 2014, chances are that they will have received notice of our holiday appeal.
The reason for asking Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves for assistance is because of the urgent need for help in obtaining funding to advance women’s trails on both the state and federal levels. Realistically Santa might not be able to deliver on trails by December 25th, but that’s no reason to give up. Continue reading
When the Borden family arrived in the nineteenth century, educational opportunities in Ulster County were limited; classes rarely extended beyond the eighth grade. This changed when the philanthropic Bordens established their Borden Condensed Milk Company and gave Wallkill the means to construct one of the area’s first high schools.
That history is presented in detail in A History of the Wallkill Central Schools (2013, History Press) by A.J Schenkman and Elizabeth Werlau. Continue reading
Several recent news items and posts here on The New York History Blog have focused on the Common Core educational standards. Anyone interested New York state and local history should take a look at the draft New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework.
This was developed in 2012 and was discussed here on the blog then. It apparently has been in draft form for over a year. Continue reading
What follows is a guest post by Gordon Bonnet, author of the blog Skeptophilia.
If you want to get a near-violent response from 98% of current public school students, about 75% of teachers, and unknown (but probably large) percentage of parents, administrators, and various other folks associated with education, all you have to do is utter two words: Common Core.
It’s a funny thing, really. On the surface, it seems like such a good idea — creating a set of uniform standards, high ones, that establish what students at every level should know and should be able to do. Of course, there’s the immediate knee-jerk reaction from both the Right and the Left — Right-Wingers resent the intrusion by the federal government into what rightfully should be state or local decision-making, and Left-Wingers hate the infringement that the new mandates will have on the freedom of teachers to teach as they see fit and as their students might need. Continue reading
Teaching is in the news. Especially the apparent lack of it. The initial test results under the Common Core standards are abysmal and they are wreaking its havoc in the school systems of America. The Common Core now being implemented may not be garner the same attention as Obamacare, but it has generated considerable vociferous and intense condemnation, including calls to cease and desist here in New York. John King, the Commissioner of Education in NYS, cancelled his original statewide tour of public forums when the first one spun out of control, although he has begun a new round.
The new social studies curriculum is scheduled for 2015, the first update since 1996. That curriculum is sure to be a topic of discussion at the annual conference of the New York State Council of Social Studies in Albany in March. The theme of the conference is “Linking Communities Together: Academic, Civic and Cultural.” Continue reading
Individuals and organizations desiring to present programs at the annual conference of The New York State Council for the Social Studies and The New York Social Studies Supervisory Association at the Hilton in Albany on March 27-29 can now do so online.
The theme of this year’s confernce is Linking Communities Together: Academic, Civic and Cultural. In order to submit a proposal you will first need to become a member at a cost of $25 by clicking here. For each program delivered, presenters will receive $25 to cover personal expenses (travel, copying, etc.) related to program delivery. Continue reading
Southampton College, the easternmost campus of Long Island University, opened with great promise in 1963 and closed in 2005 amidst great acrimony. Located in an idyllic environmental setting on the Atlantic shore of Long Island, it had a nationally recognized marine science program that produced an unprecedented number of Fulbright awards and an impressive number of alumni who went on to careers in prestigious universities and research centers.
David Steinberg, the president of Long Island University since 1985, referred to Southampton as “the jewel in the university crown.” However, an accumulating yearly deficit led Steinberg and the Long Island Board of Trustees to view the campus as an “albatross around the university neck.” Continue reading