Tag Archives: Museums

A Close Look at the Seneca Falls Historical Society

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Readers may be aware of the recent wave of disparagement around this notion that there are “too many house museums.” The “too many” campaign was launched about fifteen years ago by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in part to provide protective cover as they shifted more of the responsibility for their chain of house museums onto the communities where they are located; as they sold off others and also to make a point about adaptive reuse – that every old house worth saving does not need to become a museum – obviously.

It had corrosive effects and has influenced some organizations to disengage from past commitments. It has spawned a sub-culture of consultants offering themselves as a solution to sky-is- falling scenarios that they repeat at professional conferences and in various writings and lectures. To listen to most of what’s out there on the subject you’d think that Americans were turning their backs on local history at unprecedented levels and that the future of the past was grim and foreboding. Continue reading

MANY’s Erika Sanger: Advocate For Museum Funding

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Over the past hundred days, I have read with boundless admiration the passionate letters, emails, and social media posts that you have shared in support of the NEA, NEH, and IMLS. From the largest museums in New York City, to the smallest historical societies in the Finger Lakes, you are ALL speaking up, advocating for the importance of museums and, indeed, to quote Congressman John Lewis, making “good trouble.” Continue reading

NYSHA Defunct: New York State Historical Association Is No More

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The Hancock House in TiconderogaAfter nearly 120 years, the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA) is no more.  On March 13,  2017, the State Board of Regents approved NYSHA’s request to amend its charter to change its name to Fenimore Art Museum, revise its corporate purposes, designate the Commissioner of Education as agent for corporation service; and update the organization’s IRS dissolution language (pdf link).

The move follows years of debate over the role of the organization as a statewide advocate for the New York State History Community, a troubled history of publishing the State’s history journal New York History, and questions about NYSHA’s support for the long-standing annual spring meeting of the State’s historians, the Conference on New York State History. Continue reading

New Approaches for Historical Societies and History Museums

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Many of the posts in this New York History Blog report on new exhibits, public programs, outreach to schools, and other initiatives. This variety of initiatives reflects the fact that here in New York we have some of the most progressive, innovative programs in the nation.

But are there really any new ideas out there – new ways of looking at and carrying out our mission as historical societies, history museums, and other public history programs? Continue reading