Category Archives: Public History

Feinman: The Recent Assembly Tourism Committee Public Hearing


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I recently attended a public hearing of the NYS Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports and Assembly Subcommittee on Museums & Cultural Institutions.

The subject was “Impact of Arts and Cultural Organizations on the State’s Economy” and the purpose was “To examine the impact New York’s artistic and cultural institutions have on the economy of the State.”  To read my blog on the meeting click here.

 

New York Streets Named for Slave Traders


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slavery in new york city historyIn the 17th and 18th century, as New Amsterdam grew from a trading post into a village, a village into a town, and then a town into the port city of New York, its wealthiest residents were financially invested in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And because they were among the most prominent of its early citizens, many of the city’s oldest streets are named after slaveholders and slave traders. An online database, New York Slavery Records Index, created by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, opens this forgotten history to public view.

During the past year a mayoral commission held public hearings and recommended that a statue of James Marion Sims, a 19th century American physician who experimented on enslaved African women, be removed from the Central Park wall at 103rd street and 5th Avenue in the City of New York. Unfortunately, the commission ignored much of the city’s deep connection to slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Continue reading

Feinman: Make NYS History Great Again


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On August 28, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the Path through History program.

The plenary address was given by Kenneth Jackson of Columbia University. In his address, Jackson spoke of the ways in which New York had been a national leader over the centuries. He recounted various events, named various people and places, and highlighted the prominence of the Empire State. He also noted how much better other states like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were at touting their history. You would never know that George Washington spent more time here than in any other state during the American Revolution.

How have things gone in the last six years? What should we advocate for during this gubernatorial election year? To read more go to Make New York State History Great Again.

 

Mellon Renews Support of Public Humanities Fellowships


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The Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have approved a grant of $600,000 to Humanities New York to provide ongoing funding for the Public Humanities Fellowship, which offers support, mentoring, and training for graduate students in the humanities at nine partner universities to develop a public-facing humanities project, often in cooperation with a community group or nonprofit organization. Continue reading

Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters, NHS


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ben_franklins_worldIn this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Supervisory Park Ranger Garrett Cloer joins us to explore the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site so we can discover more about the Siege of Boston (1775-76), the birth of the Continental Army and the life and work of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/194

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Mass History Alliance Advocates for State, Local History


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Mass History AllianceOn June 4, 2018, I attended the annual Massachusetts History Conference. For the second year in row, the event was hosted by the Massachusetts History Alliance. This new and still-forming group drew my attention because of its mission: to advocate on behalf of state and local history.

To read about the efforts of this group go to Who Advocates for State and Local History?: The Massachusetts History Alliance Experience.

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