Tag Archives: Online Resources

American Experience’s Abolitionist Map of America


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Producers of the PBS series American Experience have announced the launch of The Abolitionist Map of America, an interactive website that explores events, characters and locations connected to the anti-slavery movement, one of the most important civil rights crusade in American history.

The map engages communities around their local history, connecting the stories told in The Abolitionists, premiering Tuesdays, January 8-22, 2013 on PBS, to real geographic locations, bringing events from the past to life and integrating them into present-day American cities. Continue reading

Trail to Mark Historic March From Fort Miller to Bennington


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In August of 1777, German Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum found himself in a precaurious position as his dismounted cavalry trudged through an unfamiliar wilderness – on a continent seperated by the Altlantic Ocean from their European homes – accompanied by British marksmen, layalists, and Native Americans of uncertain discipline.

Speaking in only his native tongue, unfamiliar with war in the wilderness, wary of the rebels’ determination and having no understanding of the landscape that lay between him and his goal, Baum departed from Fort Miller to capture stores at Bennington. So begins the saga of “The Road to Walloomsac.” Continue reading

American Revolution Magazine Ceases Publishing


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“It is with a heavy heart that we announce our decision to cease publishing American Revolution Magazine, due to a variety of factors,” the publishers of the popularly oriented magazine of the Revolution have announced.  The last issue of the magazine published was the September/October 2012 issue and mailed in August.

The magazine’s Editor David Reuwer, President of the American Revolution Association (ARA), helped found the periodical in January 2009 as a bi-monthly. About 5,000 copies were distributed in over 40 states and in England, according to ARA’s website. The magazine also used the name Patriots of the American Revolution.

Reuwar has said he plans on continuing to promote Revolutionary history and content on the website www.amrevmag.com and through the American Revolution Association.

Back issues can still be purchased for $4 each by calling 800.767.5828.

New Project: Virtual Center for Prison Memories


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The Prison Public Memory Project, focused on making prison history relevant as a guide to the future, today launched a website and blog (www.prisonpublicmemory.org) featuring its work in Hudson, NY a small town that is home to an historic prison and the site of the Project’s pilot effort.

Hudson Correctional Facility, a medium-­‐secure state prison for men that opened in 1976, was originally built in the 1800’s as the House of Refuge for Women, the first reformatory for women in New York (1887 – 1904), and then transformed into The New York State Training School for Girls (1904-­‐1975) where famed jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and other girls found to be delinquent by the courts were sent to be reformed.
Since 2011, Prison Public Memory Project founders and a growing team of contributors based in the Hudson Valley and around the state have been interviewing Hudson area residents including prison ‘alumni’; conducting research in local and state archives and libraries; and developing educational, interpretive and cultural activities to be offered in Hudson and on the website later this year and
next year.

Visitors to the website can view current photos of former prison workers and inmates and listen to audio clips from their oral histories; see old photographs and maps of the prison; and read prison documents and letters from the 19th and 20th centuries. Short articles tell about ordinary as well as extraordinary prison-­‐related events and people that influenced local, state, and national history. One section of
the website invites visitors to become history detectives helping the Project team answer questions and find evidence and visitors are encouraged to contribute in other ways.

Even before its public debut, the website-in-progress grabbed the attention of a few people who offered their own stories and questions and photos. One woman wrote in “My mother’s stories of the (NYS Training) school (for Girls) were brutal, I want to find out if I have another brother or sister. maybe someone has information to help me.” Another woman wrote ” i was sent too hudson in 1964. it wasnt a very nice place to be. but i made my bed so i had to lay in it… once you got use to being there it wasnt, a bad place… it made me a better person some of these young girls now should have a place like that it taught you respect for your self and others.”

Project founder/director Alison Cornyn anticipates more public input as the site is officially launched and word-of-­mouth spreads. “Prisons, especially old prisons like  the one in Hudson, have touched thousands of lives over the course of their history, in both profound and ordinary ways. Using history, art, dialogue and new communications technologies, The Project will craft safe spaces and new opportunities for people from all walks of life – including those who lived and worked inside the walls ‐ to connect with the past and each other and engage in conversation, learning, and visioning regarding the role of prisons in communities and in society today and in the future”, said Cornyn, a Brooklyn based
interdisciplinary artist and new media producer whose previous projects have garnered numerous awards.

Illustration: New York State Training School For Girls.

Survey Underway for National Council on Public History


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How do you stay informed about the field of public history? The National Council on Public History (NCPH) is conducting a readers survey to learn how public historians at all stages of their careers use journals, blogs, newsletters, listservs, and other venues to engage in critical reflection and keep up with new developments in the profession.

They are interested in hearing from wide variety of practitioners, educators, and students. With your help we hope to strengthen NCPH’s journal, The Public Historian, and to discover new intersections among and formats for professional and scholarly publications.

The survey takes 10-15 minutes and is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/public-history-readers-survey The survey closes August 15.

USGS Digitized Map Project Nearly Complete


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For more than 125 years, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the largest producer of printed topographic maps, has portrayed the complex geography of the nation. Prior to 2009, USGS topographic maps were created using traditional cartographic methods and printed using the lithographic printing process.

Now the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP) is nearing completion of the conversion of these these historical printed topographic quadrangles to an electronic format (GeoPDF). The scanning and processing effort serves the dual purpose of creating a master catalog and digital archive copies of the irreplaceable collection of topographic maps in the USGS Reston Map Library, as well as making the maps available for viewing and download online.

USGS has digitized nearly 200,000 maps, including its collection for the contiguous United States and Hawaii. Remaining maps for Alaska, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Trust Territories are expected to become available in the coming months.

Check out the collection online.

American Latino Heritage Focus of Road Trip


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Five of the nation’s top Latino social media influencers are setting off on Saturday on a road trip with the shared mission of visiting historic sites protected by the National Park Service that honor the contributions of Latinos throughout American history.

Organized by the American Latino Heritage Fund in partnership with Hispanicize 2013 and PapiBlogger.com founder Manny Ruiz, and with the support by automotive sponsor Chevrolet and telecommunications partner Verizon, this unique social media project is expected to raise awareness of, and support for, the American Latino Heritage Fund. The Fund strives to tell of a more inclusive story of American History by preserving, celebrating and promoting the cultural, economic and civic contributions of Latinos to the American story.

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State Museum Launches War of 1812 Website


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The New York State Museum has launched a new statewide website and Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The website is expected to include a web-based exhibition and hoped to be a statewide clearinghouse for information about New York’s pivotal role in the War of 1812, as well as for all War of 1812 events across New York State and into Canada. The goal is to provide a site for conversation and coordination among all of those interested in commemorating the memory of the war.

The New York-Canadian border was the central front of the war, which was waged against the British Empire from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815. Some of the nation’s most prominent military figures of the early 19th century made their names along New York State’s northern frontier. Several pivotal battles also took place in the state, including the battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814.

“The War of 1812 is a ‘New York story’ and so too is our effort to commemorate this important bicentennial,” said Museum Director Mark Schaming. “We have reached out to historians, historical societies and various other collaborators and partners across the state and into Canada, inviting them to join with us in telling this story and making this the ‘go-to’ place to learn about the war and the many events planned to commemorate it.”

The website will be a growing and evolving statewide resource for the duration of the bicentennial commemorations. Interested historians – from academics to genealogists – will have an opportunity to submit 1812-related stories, whether they are biographies of local citizens or essays on New York-related events. A page devoted to biographies highlights valiant and patriotic men and women who contributed their time, energies, and in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice to aid the war effort.

The site also provides a platform for historical societies and museums across the state to highlight their War of 1812 collections in a virtual artifact gallery. The site currently displays historic artifacts related to the War that are in the collections of the State Museum, State Library and State Archives.

A resources page lists website links for War of 1812 commemorative events and organizations, as well as for State Library resources and State Archives records.

New Erie Canalway Map and Guide Issued


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The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission has released its 2012 Erie Canalway Map & Guide to introduce residents and visitors to the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Copies can be obtained at 150 sites, including visitor centers, libraries, cultural heritage sites, and canal locks all along the New York State Canal System, and online.

The eight page newspaper-style guide includes a map of the National Heritage Corridor, as well as a list of canal-related cultural heritage sites, boat rental and tour companies, places to cycle on the Erie Canalway Trail, and more.


The map and guide, along with the website www.eriecanalway.org, are among the efforts by the heritage corridor commission to increase awareness about the waterway, trail, and national significance of the Erie Canal.

New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum


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The Brooklyn Museum is launching a borough-wide initiative in which Brooklyn-based artists will be invited to open their studios, allowing community members to visit and nominate artists for inclusion in a group exhibition to be held at the Museum.

Brooklyn Museum curators will visit the studios of top nominated artists to select works for the exhibition. The open studio weekend for GO: a community-curated open studio project will be held September 8 and 9. The exhibition will open during First Saturday on December 1, 2012, and will be on view through February 24, 2013.
Web and mobile technology will be a central component bringing artists and community together to share information and perspectives on art. All participants (artists, voters, and volunteers) will be able to create a personal online profile at the project’s website, www.gobrooklynart.org. Artist profiles will include photos of each artist and their studio, along with images and descriptions of their work. Volunteers will be connected with their respective neighborhoods online, and voters will have profiles that track their activity during the open studio weekend and provide a platform on which to share their perspectives.

“GO is a wide-ranging and unique project that will transform how Brooklyn communities engage in the arts by providing everyone with the chance to discover artistic talent and to be involved in the exhibition process on a grassroots level. Through the use of innovative technology, GO provides every Brooklyn resident with an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the visual arts in an unprecedented way,” says Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman.

The project launched on May 18th with volunteer registration. Volunteers will identify and work with local groups and businesses within specific neighborhoods to engage artists and potential studio visitors. The Brooklyn Museum will also partner with the Brooklyn Arts Council, open studio organizations, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, and Heart of Brooklyn to promote participation in GO. The New York City Housing Authority will also play an important role in engaging residents living in public housing developments in Brooklyn.

Artists will have an opportunity to register their studios at www.gobrooklynart.org in June. Artist registration will be followed by voter registration in August and early September. In October, Sharon Matt Atkins and Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, will make studio visits to the top nominated artists to select the work for the exhibition. Curators and community members will engage in a public dialogue about the selection of work.

GO continues the Brooklyn Museum’s long tradition of highlighting the borough’s community of artists. Since its 2004 exhibition, Open House: Working in Brooklyn, the largest survey to date of artists working in Brooklyn, the Museum has continued its commitment to Brooklyn artists with exhibitions by Fred Tomaselli, Lorna Simpson, and an upcoming exhibition by Mickalene Thomas, among others, and the current Raw/Cooked series of five exhibitions by under-the-radar Brooklyn artists.

A pioneer in crowd-sourced exhibitions, the Brooklyn Museum also presented Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition (2008), a photography show in which nearly 3,500 community members evaluated the work of 389 local photographers. More recently, Split Second: Indian Paintings (2011) invited the Museum’s online community to participate in the selection of works to be shown in an installation of Indian paintings.

The project organizers are Sharon Matt Atkins, Managing Curator of Exhibitions, and Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology. GO: a community-curated open studio project is inspired by two predecessors: ArtPrize, an annual publicly juried art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the long tradition of open studio events that take place each year throughout Brooklyn.

The project’s website will be updated throughout the process until the exhibition’s opening in December 2012.

New Website Features Northern Franklin County History


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A comprehensive new website on the oral and digital history of Malone and other towns of northern Franklin County, New York, has been launched. The new site brings to life the history of this area from 1870 to 1940.

The website includes the material from a previous website dedicated to the history of the Franklin County logging community of Reynoldston, 1870-1970, located in the Town of Brandon.
You can listen to over 140 hours of tapes of people talking about all aspects of life in the late 19th and early 20th century in Northern New York. It includes hundreds of historical pictures, maps documents and thousands of pages of interview transcripts of more than 40 individuals. The tapes were collected from 1969- 1970. Historical features and background articles on the history of the area are included on the site.

The interviews were with a wide range of people who helped to settle and build the area: farmers, loggers, businessmen, politicians, woolen mill workers, sawmill operators, teachers, housewives, blacksmiths, and prominent members of the Malone community. They deal with religious and personal beliefs, home remedies, schooling, bootlegging, farming, growing hops, and many other topics. The interviews are autobiographical and includes comprehensive details of home life and work.

Photo: Interior of the Blacksmith Shop, Reynoldston, Franklin County,  NY.

Digital Storytelling: Optimizing Your Web Presence


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Many local organizations invest time, energy and money to build a website, but just how visible is your website in the infinite space of the internet? With the small staff and smaller budgets of non-profits, web developers need to be strategic, and generating a lively and engaging webpage is only part of the battle. In this article, we will explore the various opportunities and tools that are available to optimize your web presence. Continue reading

Website Highlights Free New York Documentaries


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The popular website DocumentaryStorm.com is celebrating its 1st anniversary, and is recommending several documentaries available on the site about New York City for New York History readers. These documentaries that focus on a couple of seldom visited spaces in New York life, the sewer system and the fire department, along with one of New York City’s most visited places. DocumetaryStorm.com is dedicated to finding providing free, full-length documentaries from around the web.

The New York City Fire Museum

NYC’s Fire Department plays an indispensable role in keeping New York’s citizen’s safe. While September 11th, 2001 shone a very bright and hot media light on the department – rightfully highlighting their training and sacrifice – the department has a sordid and quite remarkable history dating back many centuries. For many decades the firefighters were all community volunteers. This documentary explores the department’s origins and traces the various incarnations, training, and equipment through the 1800’s to today. When was the first fire truck used? How were fires put out in the early 1800’s? What did the firemen used to wear to protect them against fire?

New York from the Underneath

This is a rare and unique glimpse into the sewer system that runs below New York City. Beautifully shot, captivating, and gritty, the documentary traces the underbelly of New York from the Bronx to Queens. Urban Historian Steve Duncan leads the journey through a maze of winding tunnels, man-made waterfalls, and local wildlife. The scars of history’s past is evident in the brickwork and drawings on the wall. We explore more than two centuries of urban planning: a generational patchwork. Half vision, half compromise. The city’s first enclosed sewer system is located on Canal Street and survives intact to this day. Duncan sleeps in the sewers by day and leads us on an entertaining 25 minute tour by day. New York City: like you’ve never seen her before.

The Empire State Building Shall Rise

Proving that the Great Depression was no match for New Yorkers; the Empire State Building continued to rise: past the height of the Eiffel Tower – which had been the tallest building in the world for decades. Past the height of the Chrysler Building – which had been the tallest building for barely a year. The Empire State would stand as the tallest building in the world for over 40 years. It is still the tallest building in New York, following September 11th, 2001. Remarkable historical footage of an American treasure.

NYPL Putting Historical Documents Online


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Thousands of historical documents at The New York Public Library – including material handwritten by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and papers from authors such as Mark Twain – will soon be accessible to the public online.

The project, which began in January and will continue through 2014, will digitize documents from the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, located within the Manuscripts and Archives Division, and almost all the papers of several major American authors in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature at The New York Public Library.

“This exciting project is a key element in our goal of creating greater possibilities for our collections and expanding their accessibility worldwide,” said NYPL President Anthony Marx. “Digitizing collections featuring hand-written documents from Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Mark Twain, among others, provides remarkable new opportunities for scholarly research, and creates new teaching applications for an international audience. The Library is grateful to The Polonsky Foundation and other generous supporters who assist us in this valuable work.”

Technicians at the New York Public Library have already begun digitizing the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, which documents the founding and early years of the United States – the move towards independence, the Revolutionary War, and the establishment of the federal government. The approximately 11,000 manuscripts in the collection include letters and documents by nearly every patriot and statesman who distinguished himself during this period American history.

Their letters provide insight into important historic milestones, such as the Stamp Act Congress, the First and Second Continental Congress, and the Annapolis Convention; trace the genesis of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation; and chronicle the successes and struggles of the first Federal Administration. The correspondence and letterbooks of generals and other officers detail their decisions, actions, and relationships during the Revolutionary War.

Highlights of the Emmet Collection include a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s hand, an engrossed copy of the Bill of Rights, and manuscript minutes of the Annapolis Convention. The collection has been a vital and repeatedly consulted resource for American historians since the Library acquired it in 1896.

Following the completion of digitization of the Emmet Collection, nearly all the papers from the Berg Collection’s holdings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, his wife Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman will be digitized. An estimated 35,000 pages will be scheduled for digitization beginning in January 2013 and be made available through the Library’s website. Items slated for digitization will include:

Hawthorne’s correspondence with President James Buchanan, educator Horace Mann, and fellow authors Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville, as well as the diaries of his wife, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne that chronicle her own work as a writer and the literary work of her husband;

An original pencil map of Walden Pond, as well as several Thoreau manuscripts, including Faith in a Seed, about which the novelist Annie Proulx wrote in the Library’s Centennial celebration volume, Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public library at 100;

Mark Twain’s manuscripts of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Following the Equator, and correspondence with such influential American icons as Andrew Carnegie, William Dean Howells, and Theodore Roosevelt;

Numerous poems by Walt Whitman and over 300 of his letters, most of them to his mother and to Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The total cost of the project including both collections is $1 million; a gift of $500,000 from The Polonsky Foundation is expected to be matched by similar donations.

Digital Storytelling: Using Interactive Maps


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Local historical societies and municipal historians fill an important role of building awareness and appreciation of their community’s resources, which they often achieve by producing unguided walking and driving tours of local points of interest. By recognizing these points of interest and inviting others to share their appreciation, we can often encourage local historical homeowners to keep a neat garden or persuade local cemetery managers to tidy up.

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