FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Museum, Library and Archives Celebrate New York State History Month in November
The New York State Museum, State Library, and State Archives will celebrate New York State History Month in November with a variety of free public programs for children, families and adults. In addition, a model of the first statue in New York City’s Central Park that honors and depicts women will be on display in the State Museum’s West Corridor beginning Tuesday, November 6. Two temporary exhibitions exploring New York’s history will be open at the State Museum in November: Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal; and The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection (opens November 10).
"As we celebrate New York State History Month, we thank public historians, educators and curators across the state who keep New York's history alive," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “The past helps us better understand the present and provides valuable lessons to guide our future. We encourage all New Yorkers – children and adults – to explore our state’s rich and compelling history not just in November but throughout the year.”
“We’re honored to have a collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of New York’s rich history at the State Museum, State Library and State Archives,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “I urge New Yorkers to use the resources in our Office of Cultural Education to learn about our state’s past and also visit the extraordinary cultural institutions, museums, libraries, archives and historic sites across New York.”
“New York’s history is as vast and deep as any state in the nation,” said New York State Historian Devin Lander. “History Month provides an opportunity to highlight the vital work of historians across New York as well as celebrate historical events both large and small.”
In celebration of New York History Month and in commemoration of the 101st anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State, the State Museum is proud to display a model of a statue honoring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The statue will be unveiled in New York City’s Central Park in 2020 – the first statue in the park to honor a woman. In 2013, longtime women’s rights activists Pam Elam and Coline Jenkins formed the Statue Fund to create the first statue in Central Park that both honors and depicts real women.
The goal of such a monument is to educate the public about the contributions of women in history and encourage municipalities to rethink their public spaces to include recognition of women and people of color. Sculptor Meredith Bergmann’s design was chosen out of several entries and honors Stanton and Anthony, two leaders at the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement. The working model of the statue will be on display at the State Museum from November 6, 2018 through March 31, 2019. Photos of the model are available on the Museum’s website.
The following is a schedule of free programs in November related to New York State history at the Cultural Education Center located at 222 Madison Avenue, Albany:
Genealogy Online with Ancestry Library Edition
Saturday, November 3 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Learn about the Ancestry Library online database which is accessible at the New York State Library. Visitors will learn how to access Census records, genealogy and history books, maps and other resources included in this database, as well as, the resources on Ancestry NYS page which are freely available to all New Yorkers. Space is limited; registration is required. Register by calling 518-474-2274.
The Return of Cornplanter’s Tomahawk
Sunday, November 4 | 1:00 p.m.
In 1792 a beautiful pipe tomahawk was gifted to the great Seneca leader Cornplanter by George Washington and became part of the Museum’s collections in 1850. After being stolen for nearly 70 years, the pipe tomahawk returned to the State Museum in June 2018 thanks to the generosity of an anonymous collector. Learn about the remarkable history of this pipe tomahawk and the beginnings of the Museum’s ethnology collections with Dr. Gwendolyn Saul, curator of ethnography.
Walking Tour of Local History & Genealogy Resources at the State Library
Thursday, November 8 at 3:00 p.m. & Saturday, November 17 at 11:00 a.m.
The New York State Library is a treasure chest of resources for those tracing their family histories. Join a tour highlighting published genealogies, local histories, church records, Daughters of the American Revolution records, United States and New York State Census records, newspapers on microfilm, city directories and more. Space is limited; registration is required. Register by calling 518-474-2274.
Reception and Tour of The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur Anderson Collection Exhibition
Saturday, November 10 | 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Celebrate the opening of The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur Anderson Collection. The reception begins at 1:00 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by an exhibition tour at 2:00 p.m. led by curator Karen Quinn.
“Remembering New York’s Colonial Past through Archaeology, History and Art” Presentation and Panel Discussion
Sunday, November 11 | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Enjoy a presentation and panel discussion with William Starna, professor emeritus of anthropology at SUNY Oneonta; Paul Huey, retired senior archeologist at the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and Albany artist Len Tantillo, who will each provide a perspective on how New York’s colonial past has been studied, interpreted, and remembered.
Readings of America’s Founding Documents and Talk with Alexander Heffner
Tuesday, November 13 | 7:00 p.m.
A diverse range of community members, from political leaders to elementary school children, will take the stage to read memorable lines from America’s founding documents. At 7:30 p.m., enjoy a talk by Alexander Heffner, host of the PBS talk show, The Open Mind, and co-author of the 2018 revised version of A Documentary History of the United States. This program is organized by the New York State Writers Institute.
Staged Reading of “Possessing Harriet”
Thursday, November 15 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
This program is one of the opening programs for Researching New York Conference organized by SUNY Albany. The cast of “Possessing Harriet” will perform a full reading of the play, followed by a Q&A session.
In 1839, Harriet Powell, a young, mixed-race, enslaved woman slips away from a hotel in Syracuse, New York, and escapes from the Southerner who owns her. With the aid of a mysterious free black man named Thomas Leonard, Harriet finds temporary safe harbor in an attic room at the home of impassioned abolitionist Gerrit Smith. With the slave catchers in pursuit, Harriet spends the hours before her nighttime departure on the dangerous journey to Canada in the company of Smith’s young cousin Elizabeth Cady, an outspoken advocate for women’s equality. Confronted with new and difficult ideas about race, identity, and equality, and with confusion, fear, and desperation multiplying, Harriet is forced to the precipice of radical self-re-imagination and a reckoning with the heartrending cost of freedom.
Tour of Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal
Saturday, November 17 | 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Guided by a museum educator, come tread the rich history of the Erie Canal through the Museum’s exhibition, Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal.
Brain Food for the Curious: Early Watercraft in the Northeast
Tuesday, November 20 | 12:10 p.m.
Boatbuilding and water-borne travel have a long history in the Americas, pre- dating the arrival of European explorers by millennia. Join archaeologist Dr. Daria Merwin for a look at the archaeological and historical evidence of early watercraft in the Northeast. This program includes a 20-minute talk followed by a Q&A period; visitors are welcomed to bring their lunch.
Thanksgiving with Tom the Turkey
Saturday, November 24 | 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy fun crafts, games, storytelling and much more with your favorite animals found in New York State.
Historical Newspapers Online at the State Library
Wednesday, November 28 | 3:30 p.m.
Learn about the online databases available at the State Library that contain full-text historical newspapers. Discover how to find and access New York State digital newspapers freely available online. Space is limited; registration is required. Register by calling 518-474-2274.
In addition, the Museum’s Office of State History Outreach website offers an online portal of information about historical research, news, grant opportunities and events happening around New York State. The website is an online resource for historians throughout the state to learn about the work of fellow historians and identify opportunities for increased coordination and collaboration. The website also offers a New York State History Month promotion kit to encourage cultural institutions and historians statewide to plan and promote public programs in their community. Cultural institutions are encouraged to submit their History Month events and programs for listing on the Office of State History website. In addition, the Office of State History produces a podcast, “A New York Minute in History,” in collaboration with WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and Don Wildman of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel.
The State Archives provides free access to photographs, artifacts, documents, manuscripts and other materials that tell the story of New York’s history via its Digital Collections on the Archives website. The Archives will exhibit the original New York State constitution, adopted in Kingston in 1777, on November 15 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Matthewis Persen House, located at 74 John Street in Kingston in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Ulster County’s courthouse.
In 1997, the New York State Legislature established November as New York State History Month with the goal “to celebrate the history of New York state and recognize the contributions of state and local historians.” New York State History Month represents the opportunity for historians, museums and cultural institutions to highlight importance of New York State’s history through public programs, exhibitions and other learning opportunities.
The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on the Fourth of July, 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.
Reporters and education writers may contact the Office of Communications by phone at: