Tag Archives: Museums

State Museum Exhibits Capture the Spirit of New York


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The New York State Museum’s exhibits are always outstanding. But the three special exhibits at the Museum now – on the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, New York State in World War I, and the centennial of woman suffrage in our state – are unprecedented and exceptionally strong. It is worth a trip to Albany just to see them.

The storylines and captions are superb, with clear development and explanations, enough text to tell the stories, but not so much that visitors’ interest will wane. The artifacts, photos, and documents are engaging, even dramatic. For instance, the canal exhibit features a reconstruction of a “windlass” – a large apparatus for lifting cargo from canal boats into a warehouse. It is a restoration of a 19th century windlass located by Museum staff some years ago in Mohawk, New York, dismantled, moved to Albany, and carefully restored and reassembled. Continue reading

Revealing The Regents Museum Advisory Council


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New York State Education BuildingDid you know that there is a Regents Museum Advisory Council? It reports to the Regents Cultural Education Committee. There is a story to be told about this advisory council and its meaning for the history community.

Back on January 6, 2012, Jeff Cannell, the former Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education, sent a letter to the Regents Cultural Education Committee proposing the creation of an advisory council. The Regents Rules provided for such a council and Cannell now sought to officially request that it be created: Continue reading

Albany Institute Of History & Art Names New Ed Director


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maria vannThe Albany Institute of History & Art has announced Maria Vann as the new Director of Education.

Maria Vann was the former Director/Chief Curator of the Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove. Vann has worked for institutions including the Iroquois Indian Museum, New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum, and as an adjunct history professor at SUNY College at Oneonta. Continue reading

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