Tag Archives: Office of Cultural Education

Uncommon Approaches to the Common Core Event


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State Education Building by Matt Wade Photography (Wikimedia User UpstateNYer)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

NYS Library Clearing Thousands of Items From Stacks


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TU StoryPaul Grondahl at the Albany Times Union is reporting that the New York State Library is rapidly discarding tens of thousands of items in the stacks of the old State Library beneath the State Education Building.

State Librarian Bernard Margolis, who is overseeing the reduction of the stacks, blames years of State Library budget cuts and an increase in state Education Department paperwork.  Opposition from State Library employees, who remain anonymous out of fear for their jobs, has gone unheeded.

Here are some of the details from Paul Grondahl: Continue reading

Bob Weible: Is NYS History Month Dead?


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poster1997lgIt’s true.  November is New York State History Month.

In 1997, New York’s legislature added Section 57.02 to the state’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law and 1) designated November as New York State History Month, 2) defined the purpose of the month as the celebration of state history and the recognition of the contributions of state and local historians, and 3) authorized the Education Department to undertake projects to recognize the month (while the legislation failed to identify any specific projects, it did suggest student essay contests as one possibility). Continue reading

Bob Weible: NY’s Historical Golden Age is Coming


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If there is one thing historians should know, it is that “things change.” After all, without change, history would have no meaning. And historians would have no jobs. Face it. Everyone may love history. But the reason some of us collect paychecks, practically speaking, is that we perform the unique and essential service of helping people understand history—not so we can all venerate the past but so that we can change the way things are and make history ourselves. Continue reading

Lessons From the French and Indian War Commission


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In the past decade, the New York State Legislature desired to create three anniversary commemoration commissions. The Commissions were necessary to bring together persons qualified by experience to coordinate and facilitate commemorations and activities.

In 2002 and 2004, the Hudson – Fulton- Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, and the French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration Commission (FIW) were created. In the past three years, three bills to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 (1812) with a Commission have been vetoed by Governors Patterson and Andrew Cuomo.* Continue reading

Some Sources for Ideas and Inspiration


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The posts here at New York History demonstrate the robustness of New York’s historical enterprise and the creativity and energy of people working in the field. But the posts also show the need for more leadership, coordination, resources, and new approaches. This post lists some sources from beyond New York that might provide useful perspectives for discussions about strengthening the historical enterprise in our state. (It is an expanded version of the list in my article in Public Historian last August.) Continue reading

What’s On Your New York History Reading List?


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Another one bites the dust. That was the message of a recent article in the New York Times (Mourning a Cultural Hub Disguised as a Used Bookstore, November 28, 2011) about the closing of a book store in Metuchen, NJ. As one patron of the bookstore noted of the owner, “(H)e turned it into a kind of a clubhouse for the community [where everyone knew your name] and somehow it worked.” Continue reading

Peter Feinman: County Historical Societies


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This is the third in a series of posts on the New York State History infrastructure. The previous ones were on County Historians and Municipal Historians. These posts draw on my experiences in initiating a series of county history conferences in the Hudson Valley this year and on Teacherhostels/Historyhostels I have conducted such as the one to the Mohawk Valley this past summer prior to Irene. Continue reading

State Museum Exhibits Burns Archives Photos


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A new exhibition – Shadow and Substance: African American Images from The Burns Archive – has opened at the New York State Museum, showcasing rarely-seen photographs from one of the largest private photography collections in the world.

Open through March 31, 2012 in the Photography Gallery, the exhibition allows the viewer to perceive how African-Americans were seen by others and how they wished to be seen. These images do not tell a complete story of the past, but their eloquent shadows provide unique glimpses into the lives of African-Americans over the past 160 years.

The 113 images in Shadow and Substance include portraits, snapshots and photographs of celebration, tragedy and quiet joy, work and family, strength and perseverance. From early images of slaves and Civil War soldiers to new voters and political activists, the exhibition is filled with illustrations of achievement and shocking evidence of intolerance. Some images may not be suitable for young children.

The images were culled from the comprehensive Burns Archive of Historic Vintage Photographs that include specializations in medical and health care, death and dying, sports and recreation, in addition to images of African-Americans. The collection was amassed by Dr. Stanley B. Burns, an ophthalmologist, collector and curator in New York City who was the founding donor for several photography collections, including those of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Burns has authored several books including “A Morning’s Work: Medical Photographs from the Burns Archive & Collection, 1843-1939”; “Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America” and “Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype and Decorative Frame, 1860-1910.”

The traveling exhibition is organized by the Indiana State Museum and curated by Dr. Modupe Labode, assistant professor of history and public scholar of African-American History and Museum Studies at Indiana University.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

New-York Historical Society to Reopen


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The New-York Historical Society will re-open its landmark building to the public at 11:00 a.m. on Veterans’ Day, Friday, November 11, 2011. A three-year, $65 million renovation of the Central Park West building has sensitively but thoroughly transformed the face of the institution — the first museum established in New York.

The Historical Society will remain open on November 11 until 11:00 p.m., offering free admission during that day to veterans and active service members and to children under 13, and free admission for all visitors after 6:00 p.m.

Entering the Historical Society, renovated by the firm of Platt Byard Dovell White Architects, visitors will encounter:

* an admissions area incorporating the ceiling from Keith Haring’s original “Pop Shop,” donated to the Historical Society by the Keith Haring Foundation

* a multi-media installation in the reconfigured Great Hall where the new Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History introduces major themes of American history through stories and figures from New York’s past; to include a selection of objects from the Historical Society’s collection

* a new facility, the DiMenna Children’s History Museum and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, designed especially to engage young visitors as History Detectives exploring the richness and wonder of America’s past

* the first major special history exhibition in the renovated building, Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn, an exploration of the interconnections among the American, French and Haitian revolutions

* an art exhibition drawn from works in the Historical Society’s collection: Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy offers for the first time an in-depth look at the 19th-century paintings and sculpture collected by the New Yorkers who founded and built the Historical Society

* an Italian-themed dining facility operated by the Starr Restaurants group, offering a light menu throughout the day and full restaurant service at night

“I believe 11-11-11 – November 11th, 2011 – will be marked as the most important date for our Society since its founding 207 years ago,” stated Roger Hertog, Chairman of the Board of the New-York Historical Society in a prepared statement to the press.

“The world has long known that the New-York Historical Society holds unmatched collections in its museum and library,” stated Louise Mirrer, President and CEO. “More recently, people have also begun to know us for our vibrant special exhibitions, which bring complex historical themes to life. But we have never before opened ourselves up to the public with such light and transparency, or provided the kind of immediate access to our objects and ideas that we will offer when we re-open in November. It’s as if, at entry level, we are going from being a beautiful treasure house to a great showplace of the American experience.’”

Renovating a Landmark

On the exterior, the renovation project creates a wider main staircase and expanded main entrance on Central Park West; better sightlines into the building from the street; a redesigned 77th Street entrance with improved accessibility for school groups and visitors with disabilities, and illumination to highlight the architectural features at night.

Inside the building, the project creates the Historical Society’s first new gallery on the ground floor, the 3,400-square-foot Great Hall; renovates and improves the adjacent Robert H. Smith Auditorium; provides for the new restaurant, renovated Museum Store and Rotunda on the 77th Street side; and establishes the DiMenna Children’s History Museum and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, designed separately by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership.

The building was designed and constructed in 1903-08 by York and Sawyer, a firm established by architects who had trained with McKim, Mead and White. York and Sawyer was also responsible for projects including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Bowery Savings Bank, New York Athletic Club and several of the buildings at Vassar College. In 1938, two new wings were completed at the Historical Society, designed by Walker and Gillette. The current renovation is the most ambitious construction project at the Historical Society since that 1938 expansion.

To increase the street presence gained through the renovation and heighten the building’s identity as a cultural destination, the Historical Society will install bronze statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass at the east and north stairways. The statues are fabricated by Studio EIS.

Creating the Great Hall Exhibition

For the first time, visitors coming into the Historical Society from Central Park West will immediately see into the heart of the building, thanks to a reconfiguration of the entrance space and the opening of a vista to the interior through a broad wall of glass. Visible at once through the glass will be the Great Hall— redesigned to house the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History. The Gallery is the first permanent installation at the Historical Society to illustrate the themes addressed by the institution, provide an overview of the priceless collection and orient visitors to the experiences they may encounter.

The principal components of the Great Hall exhibition will be:

Liberty/Liberté

Created by the New York-based artist Fred Wilson (who represented the United States at the 2003 Venice Biennale), this sculptural installation takes objects from the Historical Society’s collection and arranges them into a complex and engaging environment, where the possible meanings of the artifacts seem to shift as the visitor walks through the space. Originally conceived for the Historical Society’s 2006 exhibition Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery, the work incorporates items ranging from a section of wrought iron balustrade from the original Federal Hall, where George Washington took the oath of office as President, to slave shackles and an anonymous tobacco shop figurine of an African American man.

Through the Lens of New York

A dozen large-scale, high-definition digital screens affixed to the columns in the Great Hall will present a continuous, thematic slideshow of hundreds of treasures from the Historical Society’s collections. On the other side of the columns, touch-screen stations will allow visitors to investigate large themes that represent points of intersection between the histories of New York City and the United States: slavery, capitalism and commerce, toleration for dissent, immigration and diversity, expansion and westward movement, and the development of America’s low and high culture.

Monumental Treasures

A ten-foot-high display case beyond the columns will showcase large-scale maps, architectural drawings, documents and other works on paper, which previously could not be exhibited because of their size and light sensitivity. In its first version, this changing installation will include the 8-foot-square Popple map (1733) of British possessions in North America, flanked by the Montresor map of New York City (1776) and the Battle of Long Island Map (August 27, 1776).

Founding New Yorkers

The centerpiece of the Great Hall will be an installation about New York’s critical role in United States history during the early Federal period, from around 1776 through 1804, the year of the Historical Society’s founding. A contemporary reinterpretation of a nineteenth-century salon-style art installation, the wall will feature a dense hanging of paintings, documents, artifacts and video monitors, divided into five sections: The American Revolution in New York; Mercantile New York City, Coffee House Culture and the Expansion of Urban Space; The Inauguration of George Washington and New York City as the First Capital; The Hamilton-Burr Duel and the Political and Banking System; and The Founding of the New-York Historical Society and the Forging of an American Culture. A dynamic concept developed by the David Small Design Firm (Cambridge, MA) will allow visitors to learn about the web of relationships among the events, ideas and people depicted on the wall by using touch-screen monitors only a few feet from the objects themselves.

Here is New York

Facing Founding New Yorkers will be Here is New York, a display of approximately 1,500 photographs taken by the people of New York City on September 11, 2001, and immediately afterward. These images by 790 contributors were first collected in an almost impromptu exhibition in SoHo soon after 9/11. Accompanying the photography installation will be a large fragment of a fire truck destroyed during the 9/11 attack.

The Dying Chief Contemplating the Progress of Civilization

At the opposite end of the Great Hall from Founding New Yorkers and Here is New York will be an installation of Thomas Crawford’s sculpture The Dying Chief Contemplating the Progress of Civilization (ca. 1856). A version of this important work is installed in the sculptural pediment over the U.S. Capitol’s east front.

History Manholes and History At Your Feet: Floor Cases of Urban Archaeology

In 1918, the New-York Historical Society founded the Field Exploration Committee, headed by the amateur archaeologists William Calver and Reginald P. Bolton, to explore and document historic sites in New York City and State and to recover and catalogue their artifacts. This work made the Historical Society a pioneer in the field of urban archaeology years before it became a professional discipline. Twelve manhole-like, circular exhibition cases, installed flush to the floor, will be dispersed throughout the Great Hall, showcasing relics such as arrowheads, military buttons, a colossal oyster shell excavated at an extant nineteenth-century tavern and a clock from the World Trade Center debris. The manholes will be part of a lively history-themed, educational scavenger hunt for visitors called, “History At Your Feet.” Through these objects, visitors of all ages will be introduced to the notion that history is all around us, even underfoot, in the modern city.

Keith Haring’s “Pop Shop” Ceiling Fragment

The ceiling over the admissions desk will be adorned with a fragment from Keith Haring’s “Pop Shop,” a store in the SoHo area of lower Manhattan that sold the artist’s graffiti-inspired t-shirts and souvenirs until after his death in 1990.

Bringing History to Life for Children

Located in a 4,000-square-foot vaulted space on the building’s lower level is the new DiMenna Children’s History Museum and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, both designed to engage families.

The DiMenna Children’s History Museum, designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, invites children to become History Detectives, learning about the past through the use of historical artifacts and replicas, illustrations and interactive elements. The core of the experience is a series of three-dimensional pavilions, where children can identify with figures whose enterprise and creativity changed the course of our history. These biographical pavilions will introduce children to:

o Cornelia van Varick (ca. 1692-1733), daughter of Margrieta Van Varick, textile merchant in 17th century New York

o Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), the orphaned immigrant from the West Indies who became a Founder of the United States

o James McCune Smith (1813-65), the son of an enslaved woman who became the country’s first university-trained African American physician;

o Esteban Bellán (1850-1932), a Cuban youngster who became the first Latino to play professional baseball in the United States

o an Orphan Train girl (ca. 1890), one of the many New York City children transported by the Children’s Aid Society to new homes in the Midwest; and

o a New York “newsie” (ca. 1890), one of the children who eked out a living selling newspapers on the street

In other interactive experiences, young visitors will be able to go to the polls at the Cast Your Vote pavilion; deliver a presidential address at the First President kiosk, featuring a representation of Federal Hall; use the Historical Viewfinder display to see how selected sites in New York City have changed over time; and add their voices to the Children’s History Museum at the installation You Are An American Dreamer, Too.

At the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, young visitors and their families will find an area to sit and read children’s books, and to use interactive displays to explore rare books, manuscripts and maps from the Historical Society’s collection. Surrounding these interactive elements will be artifacts related to the volumes on display.

The development of Children’s History Museum and Library educational materials is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Tracing the Course of Revolution

The New-York Historical Society was born in 1804 in the aftermath of revolutions—in America, France and Haiti—that reverberated like rolling thunder back and forth across the Atlantic, with consequences that are still felt today. To mark its re-opening in 2011, the Historical Society will present Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn, the first exhibition to relate the American, French and Haitian struggles as a single global narrative.

Spanning decades of enormous political and cultural changes, from the triumph of British imperial power in 1763 to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, Revolution! traces how an ideal of popular sovereignty, introduced through the American fight for independence, soon sparked more radical calls for a recognition of universal human rights, and set off attacks on both sides of the Atlantic against hereditary privilege and slavery. Among the astonishing, unforeseen outcomes was an insurrection on the French possession of Saint-Domingue, leading to the world’s only successful slave revolt and the establishment in 1804 of the first nation founded on the principles of full freedom and equality for all, regardless of color.

Richard Rabinowitz, founder and president of American History Workshop, serves as chief exhibition curator. Thomas Bender of New York University and Laurent Dubois of Duke University have served as the co-chief historians for Revolution!, drawing on the scholarship of an advisory committee of distinguished historians and specialists.

Following its presentation at the New-York Historical Society (November 11, 2011 – April 15, 2012), Revolution! will travel to venues in the U.K., France, and elsewhere in the United States. Educational materials and programs will be distributed internationally, including in Haiti.

State Museum, Library, Archives Closed Saturday


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The New York State Museum, State Library and State Archives will be closed to the public on Saturday, September 24 due to semi-annual routine maintenance of electrical systems in the Cultural Education Center.

The Cultural Education Center is closed on Sundays. The State Museum, Library and Archives will reopen on Monday, September 26.

The State Museum, Archives and Library are part of the Office of Cultural Education (OCE) and are programs of the New York State Education Department. They are located on Madison Avenue in Albany. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the OCE website.

Meet New Netherland Center’s Resident Scholar


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Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars, the New Netherland Research Center’s first Senior Scholar in Residence and founder of Dutch Archives, a historical research firm in Leiden, will discuss his research at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 5 at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The buffet lunch will begin at 12:00 noon, with the presentation commencing at 12:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer period.

Although a specialist in the history of Russia and the Netherlands, he is also a scholar of the Brontë sisters’ time in Brussels and has published two books on the subject.

He is currently researching the life of Abraham Staats. In 1642, Staats arrived in the Dutch colony of New Netherland to serve as a surgeon on patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck, which is now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties. Over the course of his life, Staats became a magistrate of the court, a captain of the burgher guard, the owner of a sloop that made regular trips to New Amsterdam (New York City), and an Indian language translator. Something of an oddity in rough-and-tumble New Netherland, he remained a very respectable man and was, for that reason, regularly called on to mediate disputes between his less respectable and more litigious neighbors.

The New Netherland Research Center is a partnership of the New Netherland Institute and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. It continues and extends the work of the New York State Library’s New Netherland Project, which since 1974 has preserved, transcribed, translated, and published 17th century documents in order to make the history of the Dutch colonial presence in North America more broadly accessible for study.

The University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc. is presenting this event, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The cost for the luncheon and lecture is $25. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-463-1151.

Photo: The Abraham Staats House, one of the finest surviving buildings from the Dutch Settlement of the Raritan Valley in New Jersey.

Judith Wellman Keynotes Annual Peterboro Tea


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Dr. Judith Wellman, well known scholar and author on the history of women’s rights and the Underground Railroad, will be the keynote speaker on Sunday, September 25 at 12:30 p.m. at the Annual In the Kitchen Bloomer Tea held at the Smithfield Community Center in Peterboro to celebrate Elizabeth Smith Miller’s birthday and women’s rights heritage. Miller, daughter of Ann and Gerrit Smith, is credited with creating a trouser costume in the mid 1800s that became a symbol of the women’s movement.



Dr. Wellman, author of The Road to Seneca Falls, will describe Peterboro’s role in the women’s movement, including the influence of Gerrit and Ann Smith during the summers that Elizabeth Cady Stanton spent in Peterboro, the debates over dress reform, and the inclusion of women in the Liberty League convention. Wellman states, “Everybody knows about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her work for women’s rights. But few people understand how important her cousins, Gerrit and Ann Smith and their daughter Elizabeth Smith Miller, were in shaping her reform agenda. Stanton and Elizabeth Smith Miller had a lifelong friendship, based on their shared sense of humor and their commitment to women’s rights (including dress reform). From Gerrit Smith, Stanton gained access to ideas and people at the highest levels of antislavery organization. (If you) want to hear the backstory of the Seneca Falls convention, come to this talk!”

Judith Wellman, Ph.D., is Historian and Principal Investigator, Historical New York Research Associates, and professor emerita, State University of New York at Oswego. Wellman has more than 30 years of award-winning experience in research, teaching, cultural resource surveys, and grants administration in U.S. history, women’s history, local history, Underground Railroad history, and historic preservation.

After earning her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in 1974, Judith Wellman taught history at the State University of New York at Oswego. She teaches two online courses through the SUNY Learning Network and the State University of New York at Oswego: “Doing History Locally” and “Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism.”

Judith Wellman has worked as a consultant and principal investigator on award-winning projects with the National Park Service, the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the U. S. Department of Education, the Preservation League of New York State, the New York State Office of Historic Preservation, the New York Council for the Humanities, the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, National Public Radio, the U.S. Department of Education, the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History, and a wide variety of local historical, genealogical, teachers, women’s, and preservation groups. She also regularly gives papers at major scholarly conventions, including the Organization of American Historians, Association for the Study of African American Life, and the National Council on Public History.

Judith Wellman is a member of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, the American Association for State and Local History, the Association for the Study of African American Life, and the National Council for Public History. She is a member of the Preservation League of New York State and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is listed as a researcher for cultural resource surveys with the Preservation League of New York State and with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. She has served on the boards of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, the Women’s Museum and Leadership Center, the Heritage Foundation of Oswego, and the New York State History Advisory Board of the New York State Education Department. She is currently Coordinator of the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Museum.

Wellman’s keynote Peterboro on the Road to Seneca Falls follows a tea catered by The Copper Turret of Morrisville NY and served by ladies attired in the Bloomer costume of Peterboro. Debra Kolsrud will describe ongoing history activities in Stanton’s hometown of Johnstown NY. Maxine Getty and Jody Luce will read Miller and Stanton letters. There will also be basket raffles and door prizes.

The tea is a presentation in a series of programs offered by the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro made possible, in part, by a PACE grant from the Central New York Community Foundation. $35 reservations required by August 27. $40 reservations by September 17. Seating is limited. Send check to Smithfield Community Association (501c3) PO Box 42, Peterboro NY 13134 or visit www.inthekitchentea.com

The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes


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Part 2 of The Finger Lakes Museum’s three-part inaugural program series, Back from the Brink; The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, will be presented at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in Ithaca on Thursday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. The series highlights the natural and cultural history of the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes.

Lima Town Historian Douglas Morgan will present, “Blue Blood to Blue Water”, a forgotten view of what Hemlock and Canadice—the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes—looked like between 1875 and 1945. It is a remarkable story of quaint cottages, elegant summer homes, bustling resort hotels, and passenger-ferrying steamboats—and the City of Rochester’s need of a new source for clean drinking water. Morgan’s program will include a slide presentation of antique photographs that help tell his story.

Part 3, “Lakes Go Wild”, will be presented in the Finger Lakes Wine Center on Thursday, September 1st at 7:00 p.m. It will tell about watershed protection efforts that began more than a century ago and detail the trials and tribulations that eventually evolved into the 7,000-acre Hemlock-Canadice State Forest in 2010. A slide presentation will accompany this final program chapter.

According to museum board president, John Adamski, Part 1 of the series, “From the Brink of Extinction”, which was presented at the Wine Center on Saturday, August 6th, “told the story of the successful restoration of the bald eagle—a conservation effort that began in the Finger Lakes Region and spread across the nation.” He added, “People were excited to see Liberty, a live bald eagle, in-person, and were enthusiastic about The Finger Lakes Museum’s vision.”

Each of the “Back from the Brink” presentations is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested. Donations are welcome.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from offices in a former elementary school in Branchport, NY, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District in January.

The Museum’s Board of Trustees has launched a Founders Campaign to raise $1 million to retain design professionals and other consultants, hire staff, and pay for day-to-day operations. With a donation of $100 or more, anyone can become a Museum Founder and have their name permanently inscribed on the Founders Wall in the lobby of The Finger Lakes Museum. Donors will also receive a Founder certificate and decal.

For more information on the Founders Campaign or to pre-register for these programs, visit our website at www.fingerlakesmuseum.org or call us at 315-595-2200.

Photo: A 1910 Reunion at the Hemlock Lake Resort Springwater.

Update on Finger Lakes Museum Efforts


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The president of The Finger Lakes Museum’s board of trustees announced that the project’s Founders Campaign is nearing the halfway mark in an endeavor to raise $1 million by December 31st. The drive is financing operations at the former Branchport Elementary School, including hiring staff, and paying consultants for architectural and exhibit design services.

Board President John Adamski said, “The Founders Campaign was launched by the board late last year and has resulted in hundreds of donations that range from $100 to $100,000. We’re almost halfway there but there is still a long way to go.” He is asking people from across the Finger Lakes Region to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the project. Significant funding has been received from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. “We are also looking for program sponsors,” he added.

Anyone, including regional businesses, can become a founder of The Finger Lakes Museum by making a contribution of $100 or more. Donors will receive a founders’ certificate, vehicle decal, and have their names permanently inscribed as members of the Founders Society on the Founders Wall in the entrance to the main museum building. Contributions can be made online or mailed to the museum at PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from development offices in the school, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

Adamski said that the project is being planned to become a primary tourist destination that will feature one of the largest freshwater fish aquariums in the Northeast. Studies show that it has the potential to increase tourism in the Finger Lakes Region and create hundreds of jobs in the private sector, he said.

Adamski also announced the election of two new members to the organization’s board of trustees. Tim Sellers of Geneva, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Keuka College, and retired lumber executive John Meisch of Rushville were both elected in a unanimous vote. Adamski said, “Tim’s expertise as a limnologist and professor of biology and environmental science will be a tremendous asset in planning the natural history component of the museum. We are all very excited to have him aboard.”

He also said, “And John Meisch brings a lifetime of business management experience and a working knowledge of American History to the board, which balances the cultural history component. I think that we’ve hit two home runs here.” The addition of Sellers and Meisch brings the number of board members to 13.

For more information or to make contact, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

John Brown Lives! Concert Promotes Cultural Exchange


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On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is presenting “desert blues” musician, Bombino, live and in concert, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. performance. Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a young Tuareg singer from Niger, Africa, on his first North American tour. He has received advance praise as a “guitar wizard” likened to Jimi Hendrix (KCRW), who plays “some of the most sublime guitar licks you’ll hear in 2011” (NPR).

The concert is an outgrowth of JBL!’s Dreaming of Timbuctoo Exhibition detailing a black settlement effort in the Adirondacks in the mid-1800s. It is also inaugurates the Timbuktu Sahara * Timbuctoo Adirondack Project, a cultural exchange initiative John Brown Lives! is developing to link schoolchildren and communities in the Adirondacks with a Tuareg village on the outskirts of Timbuktu, Mali. A share of proceeds from this concert will benefit the Scarab School in the desert village of Tinghassane.

The Tuareg, often called the “Blue Men of the Desert” by outsiders, are a nomadic people descended from the Berbers of North Africa. In his short life, Bombino, and many Tuareg, have endured drought, rebellion, tyranny, and exile. Fusing traditional rhythms of nomadic peoples of the Sahara and the Sahel with the drive of rock and roll and songs about peace, Bombino plays an influential role today in educating the Tuareg about the importance of the fragile democracy in Niger while maintaining their rich cultural heritage.

John Brown Lives! (JBL) is a freedom education project founded in 1999 to promote social justice through the exploration of issues, social movements and events, rooted mainly in Adirondack history, and their connection to today’s struggles for human rights.

Individual tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for $5. Sponsor tickets are also available at $160 for a book of 10 tickets. Tickets are available at the LPCA Box Office 518-523-2512. For sponsor tickets, please call 518-962-4758 or 518-576-9755.

For more general information, contact John Brown Lives! at mswan@capital.net or 518-962-4758. To learn more about Bombino and the Tuareg, check out these links (1, 2).

Grand Opening of New Calvin Coolidge Exhibit


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A new permanent exhibit that examines the life and times of President Calvin Coolidge will open August 6 at the 30th President’s state historic site and childhood home in Vermont.

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation will host the exhibit’s grand opening on Plymouth Old Home Day at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gov. Peter Shumlin, Coolidge family members, and state officials will be among the honored guests at the opening of “Calvin Coolidge: His Life & Legacy” at the President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center at 10 a.m. Continue reading

Saratoga Automobile Museum Names New Chair


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Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) unanimously elected Gloversville businessman Charles Montano as Board Chairman at their annual election meeting of the trustees in May.

Montano becomes the fourth Board Chair of the Museum, joining the late founder and initial chairman Lewis Golub of Lake George, Bob Bailey of Diamond Point and the most recent chairperson, Jean Hoffman of Clifton Park, as head of the Board of Trustees. Other board officers elected at the meeting included Seth Rosner of Saratoga Springs as Vice-Chairman, Dr. James Hoehn of Menands as Treasurer and Robert Ensign, Jr. of Latham as Secretary. Chairs of the board’s various sub-committees will be announced at a later date.

A Gloversville native, Montano owns and operates a commercial/industrial rental business with divisions specializing in apartments and luxury home development in the downstate area. He is also a well known automobile collector, with a number of “Woodies” from his collection the focus of a recent exhibit in the Museum’s Golub gallery.

“Cars with wooden bodies have always fascinated me,” offered Montano. “But they only represent a segment of my collection and my interests. I truly love all aspects of the automotive world.

“As chairman of the Board of Trustees, my goal is to continue and expand our programs that bring these diverse communities together. Whether your focus is woodies, the brass era, auto racing, classic cars, any of the diverse makes that highlight our lawn shows or our automotive-themed educational programs, the Auto Museum is your place and I want everyone to feel welcome here.”

“Charlie Montano epitomizes the caliber of leadership and automobile enthusiasm the Museum needs to continue advancing the exceptional cultural enrichment we strive to provide for our growing communities,” said Taylor C. Wells, SAM Executive Director.

SAM Board members fulfilling their current terms include Bob Bailey, David Darrin, Wayne Freihofer, Ron Hedger, Jean Hoffman, Tony Ianniello, Eric King, Ed Lewi, Lee Miller, and Alan Rosenblum.

The mission of the Saratoga Automobile Museum is to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts. We celebrate the automobile and educate the general public, students and enthusiasts regarding the role of the automobile in New York State and in the wider world. In addition to technical and design aspects, our educational focus is on the past, present and future social and economic impact of the automobile

The Museum is chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York Department of Education as a not-for-profit institution. Additionally, the Museum is a member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM).

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.

Finger Lakes Museum Publishes New Guide


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As part of its mission to serve as a gateway to the Finger Lakes Region, The Finger Lakes Museum has published the premier edition of Pathways, a full-color map and guide to attractions and historical venues throughout the 14-county area. The publication is a partnership venture with Life in the Finger Lakes magazine and is being distributed as a removable insert in the Summer 2011 issue, which will be on newsstands soon. It can also be ordered online.

In a prepared statement the museum’s executive director, John Adamski, said, “The Pathways guide will be a valuable resource for anyone who is traveling in the Finger Lakes Region and looking for something to do.” It provides a map and directions to major museums, historical centers, historic sites and villages, state parks, visitors’ centers, nature centers, scenic vistas, byways, hiking trails, and waterfalls.

He added, “This publication is the result of an enormous amount of work by a group of tireless volunteers in a very short period of time. The research and graphic design efforts that went into this project are incredible.” The guide is planned to be updated and published annually in time for the tourism and vacation seasons.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. The museum is operating from offices in a former elementary school in Branchport, NY (Yates County), which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

As part of its strategic plan, the Finger Lakes Museum has been forming collaborative partnerships with other historical and academic institutions in the region. Adamski said, “Pathways is the best way that we know of to direct people to the places where they can learn more about something that is of particular interest to them. And it has helped to cement some exciting new partnerships for us.”

An operational fundraising effort is presently underway in the form of The Finger Lakes Museum Founders Campaign. To learn more or to volunteer visit their webpage.

Dutchess County History Conference May 7


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The Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) has announced the fourth of five county history conferences in the Hudson Valley to be held this spring. The history of Dutchess County will be the focus of the conference, which will be held May 7, Greenspan Dining Room, Drumlin Building, Dutchess Community College.

Each Saturday conference brings together scholars, municipal historians, historic organizations, teachers, and lovers of history to share in the experience of the history of a region in the Hudson Valley, address the challenges in preserving that legacy, and to hear about teaching local history in our schools. We look forward to

seeing you at the next conference.



Lunch is $10 (mail check payable to IHARE to POB 41, Purchase, NY, 10577). To pre-register or for more information contact info@ihare.org

9:00 Welcome – D. David Conklin, President

Dutchess Community College [invited]

9:15 Students take a Trip in a Time Machine Back 7,000 Years

Stephanie Roberg-Lopez and Tom Lake

Dutchess Community College

Examine the legacy of the first human settlers in what would become Dutchess County. Explore the mysteries of Bowdoin Park. See what the students have uncovered as part of their archaeological training over the past decade. The discoveries of Native American culture dates to at least 7,000 years ago.

Stephanie Roberg-Lopez is an Associate Professor in Behavioral Sciences at Dutchess Community College where she teaches Anthropology and Archaeology. She also does cultural resource management consulting throughout New York. She has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University and an MA in Archaeology from Yale.

Tom Lake works for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program as its Estuary Naturalist, where he shadows eagles, teaches the ecology of the estuary, and edits the Hudson River Almanac, a natural history journal now in its 18th year. He is an Adjunct lecturer at Dutchess Community College.

10:15 It Really Is Our History:

Dutchess County And The American Civil War

Pete Bedrossian, National Purple Heart Hall of Honor,

New York State Office Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation

Everyone knows that the Civil War occurred in the South – that’s where all the National Park Services sites are located excepted for Gettysburg! But it was the people from the North who fought in those battles and marched in those campaigns and no state contributed more than New York State. Units tended to be based on communities and the soldiers from Dutchess County were no exception to this practice. Come here the story of the 150th New York, the Dutchess County regiment.

Peter Bedrossian has studied the Civil War for 20 years as a Civil War Living Historian and re enactor. He is the military commander of the 150th New York, which is an education association chartered by the Board of Regents. His areas of focus are the 150th New York, “the Dutchess County Regiment” and Civil War Medicine and Surgery. He has made presentations at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, the Antietam National Battlefield Park, St. Paul’s National Historic Site, local libraries and historical societies as well as providing school programs throughout the region. When not in the 19th century, he preserves our history as Program Director at the National Purple Heart

Hall of Honor.

11:15 The Home Front at Roosevelt’s Home Town

Carney Rhinevault, Hyde Park Town Historian

The Home Front at Roosevelt’s Home Town tells an almost entirely forgotten story in wonderful, personal detail: the myriad ways in which people in small town America coped with the challenges, hardships and inconveniences of world war and threw themselves – every man, woman and child of them – into the effort of winning the war by

means of civic enterprise. A selection of chapter titles spells it out: “airplane spotters,” “blackout drills and civil defense,” “home front industries,” “rationing and shortages,” “victory gardens,” “recycling.” This book presents Anytown USA in wartime. It also tells us about the lifelong home town that was much loved by the

Commander-in-Chief. The Roosevelts pass in and out of the narrative with sufficient frequency to add celebrity flavor and worldwide resonance to the initiatives and privations of his “friends and neighbors.”

Carney Rhinevault is the Hyde Park Town Historian, a position once held by FDR. Rhinevault discovered a previously unpublished account of daily doings in Hyde Park and Staatsburg during eighteen months in the middle of World War II written by a career newspaper reporter Helen Myers.

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Preserving the Past in Dutchess County

Saving the Fishkill Supply Depot: A Call to Action

Lance Ashworth, President, Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot

Over the past forty years, the overall site has been considerably damaged and fragmented by commercial development. A combination of general contemporary pressure to seek revenue from properties, regulatory, legal and procedural gaps, and historical accident have combined to produce a situation in which the 70 acres of National

Register of Historic Places-designated Fishkill Supply Depot land, or at least some parcels within it, have never come under the care of effective custodianship.

Key open space parts of the Fishkill Supply Depot complex are currently up for sale, primed for future commercial development. Still, the opportunity remains for respectful preservation and subsequent interpretation of remaining open space. The preservation of essential properties at the core of the Depot site can happen in our

time. It is to this end that we are dedicated.

The Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot is a not-for-profit organization that advocates the permanent preservation of undeveloped acres within the Fishkill Supply Depot and Encampment, a Revolutionary War site that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mission of The Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot includes

permanent protection of the Continental Army Burial Complex within the boundaries of the Fishkill Supply Depot, stringent archaeological review of development projects that may affect the site, preservation of archaeological resources associated with the Fishkill Supply Depot during the Revolutionary period, and the future interpretation of the historic site for public benefit.

Restoring the Beacon Railway

Anne Lynch, Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society

Founded in 1996, the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society consists of members from across the Hudson Valley and beyond. This diverse organization is united in its efforts to restore, operate and preserve an integral piece of American industrial, engineering, transportation and leisure history. Incline railway service to the summit of Mount Beacon will offer the public unparalleled vistas and scenic beauty. The Incline Railway will serve as a living museum and centerpiece asset in the restoration of the Mount Beacon summit as a scenic, historic educational and recreational resource.

Anne Lynch is the president and CEO of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society

2:15 Dutchess County: A Community Experience

Dutchess County: A Community of Pots and Transportation

George Lukacs, Poughkeepsie City Historian

Upper Landing: Bridging our Past and Future in Poughkeepsie

Jolanda Jensen and Nancy Cozean

Restoring a Village Green, Renewing a Community

The Pawling Green Project

Nancy Tanner, Bill McGuinness, and Karen Zukowski

Historic Resource Surveys:

Planning Tool for Communities in the 21st Century

Kathleen Howe, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Historic resource surveys help raise awareness about historic and cultural resources, provide useful information for municipal planners, developers and property owners, and help protect these resources, providing critical baseline information about historic resources in a specific area. Learn about the State Historic Preservation Office’s

(SHPO) recent efforts to enhance survey efforts throughout New York State.

Kathleen Howe is the Survey and Evaluation Unit Coordinator for the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), part of the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). She holds a M.A. in Architectural History and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Virginia. After graduation, she worked in the planning unit of the Peak National Park in the United Kingdom as part of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

internship program. Before joining the SHPO staff, Ms. Howe worked for ten years at Bero Architecture in Rochester, New York preparing historic structure reports and surveys. She also worked for a non-profit preservation organization in Rochester as curator of two historic house museums. She began working for the SHPO in 1999 as

National Register representative for the New York City territory, working with property owners and interested citizens in listing properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Under Ms. Howe’s guidance over 200 listings (both individual properties and historic districts) were added to the Registers

encompassing over 4,100 properties from skyscrapers and industrial complexes to brownstone row houses and synagogues. She has shepherded through a number of State and National Register nominations that represent the diverse architectural and cultural landscape of New York City including historic districts for the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Little Italy, Gansevoort Market, Garment Center, Sugar Hill, and

Wall Street, among others. She completed the nomination of over 65 subway stations in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the NYC Subway System. Ms. Howe has recently spent time evaluating several properties from the recent past including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Look Building, the TWA Terminal, and the World Trade Center site. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia University’s Historic Preservation graduate program. Since February 2011, Ms. Howe has been head of the SHPO’s newly formed Survey and Evaluation Unit which is responsible for the identification and evaluation of historic properties in New York State as required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the New York State Historic Preservation Act of 1980.

3:45 Municipal Historian Roundtable: Education and Cultural Tourism

Mary Kay Vrba, Dutchess County Tourism

Mary Kay Vrba CTP, Director of Tourism for Dutchess County has more than 25 years of tourism experience and has the responsibility for marketing Dutchess County as vacation destination. Mary Kay’s job responsibilities include sales and marketing for all publications printed by DC tourism, she oversaw the visitor profile study, grant

writer for tourism agency, new product development and the day-to-day-aspects of the agency.

Mary Kay currently serves as President of Hudson Valley Tourism and past President of the NYS TPA Council, Instructor at NYU at the Tisch Center for Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Management, and serves on Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Valkill Board of Directors

Mary Kay has a master degree from George Williams College in Downers Grove Illinois in Leisure and Environmental Resource

4:15 Dutchess County School/Historic Organization Collaborations

Peter Feinman, Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education, moderator

Teaching Dutchess County History: A High School Experience -

Shaun Boyce, Arlington High School

Shaun Boyce has been teaching social studies at Arlington High School since 2000. Although he has developed course curricula at Dutchess Community College and Marist College, Hudson River Heritage is his first truly original course for a high school audience. He?ll discuss the challenges and rewards of teaching about the Hudson River Valley.

Trunks to Interns: Teaching Local History

Betsy Kopstein, Executive Director of the DC Historical Society

Memories of a Community: Seniors to Seniors Oral History Project

Sandra Vacchio, President

Wappingers Historical Society

The Wappingers Historical Society, in collaboration with Robert Wood, Instructor of The Roy C. Ketcham High School Broadcast Arts Class, has documented stories of the past as told to us by long time Wappingers residents. Each Monday night, throughout March, a different program featuring the reflections of lifelong Wappingers residents was presented. “his has been an incredible opportunity for the students here at RCK,” says, Robert Wood, art educator. “This has truly been a cooperative educational experience and a terrific interaction between students and community. Students filmed and edited these interviews. All involved are very excited about the final products.” An ongoing effort to save history through various mediums, additional video and audio interviews are now in production. One can visit the website at www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org to see photo, post card and glass negative galleries.