Category Archives: Public History

New York History Blog Marking 10 Years


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A recent call from the California State Library praising the work of the The New York History Blog and inquiring about how to model the blog’s successes in The Golden State, reminded me that it’s been ten years.

It couldn’t have happened without the many supporters and contributors, our long time advertiser The Adirondack Experience, and especially our longest and most generous supporter Suzanne Clary, executive director of the Jay Heritage Center. Without the generous contributions of our supporters, we simply could not have produced the most widely read publication about New York State history these long years.

In addition to keeping the state’s history community informed about new publications, newly available collections, the efforts of public history and historic preservation advocates, and notices about exhibits, events, conferences, and events, The New York History Blog has served as an important place to discuss the challenges, and I think there are some notable successes of this largely volunteer effort.  Continue reading

Historians Need to Keep Promoting History


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A post here on The New York History Blog last December summarized the work of University of Richmond historian Edward Ayers, who has been proactive in getting history out to the public.

Ayers served as president of the Organization of American Historians, 2017-2018, and in April, at the OAH’s annual meeting, delivered his presidential address, “Everyone Their Own Historian.”

You can see a video of his speech at the OAH website. It is useful because it goes into some of the same issues that the historical enterprise here in New York is confronting. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: Historians and the Public Good


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Every issue of History News, the publication of the American Association for State and Local History, is worth reading for its reports and insights into our field, but the latest “Emerging Professionals Takeover Issue” (Winter 2018) is particularly fascinating.

It was written and edited by emerging history professionals – people recently entering the field or holding their first professional or management positions. The issue touches on several topics of concern today and even more important for the future of the field. Continue reading

NYS Museums Advocacy Report From Erika Sanger


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NY Museum Professionals in the Washington, DC office of New York Senator Charles SchumerLast week we were in Washington, D.C. for Museums Advocacy Day sponsored by the American Alliance for Museums. We learned some important things about New York’s Museums that made us proud to speak up for our sector.

Oxford Economics’ 2017 national report “Museums as Economic Engines” found that the total annual economic impact of Museums in New York State is $5.4 billion dollars – equal to that of the state’s agricultural industries and second only to California in contributions to our nation’s economy. Continue reading

Effort Underway To Move NYS History Month To October


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Legislation has been introduced which would amend the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law to change New York State History Month from November to October according to an announcement made by the Office of State History.

The move comes on the heels of a revival of sorts for New York’s History Month, which suffered from years of being ignored.  November was designed New York State History Month in 1997 by the State Legislature.

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Carol Kammen: NY Municipal Historians Report Lessons


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There are some obvious truths that emerge from the survey of New York State county and borough historians, submitted by the State Historian to all county and borough historians in September 2017 to which approximately 30 individuals responded.

What follows is apparent from the surveys and is a composite of their responses but cannot be considered absolute for all those who answered the survey. There are variables that will be discussed below. Continue reading

An Agenda for New York’s Historical Enterprise


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What does New York’s historical community want?

In the wake of NYSHA’s demise, Ken Jackson and his colleagues have addressed an open letter of concern and protest. Peter Feinman included the letter in a recent post and followed with a response from Paul D’Ambrosio in another post. John Warren continues to report on developments, attesting to the essential importance of the New York History Blog.

State Historian Devin Lander is doing an outstanding job but he is still working without staff. New York passed its 240th anniversary last spring with no official commemoration. The Researching New York Conference last month was one of the best ever, but the New York State History Conference has been discontinued. November, New York State History Month, has come and gone once again with little public attention. The demise of NYSHA leaves a big gap in the state’s historical enterprise. Continue reading