Category Archives: Public History

History And The Regional Economic Development Councils

Regional Econmoic CouncilsHere is some information about the latest round of proposals through the Regional Economic Development Councils. These regional councils provide a vehicle through which history tourist proposals which provide economic development could be submitted.

I would be curious to know if the history community is working with these Regional Development Councils since as everyone knows tourism is big business in New York. People may mistakenly think these councils are only for factories or projects of that nature. As a result the history community may shut itself off from where the real money is.

Don’t confuse the Regional Economic Development Councils for the Path through History, a top-down project which is poorly funded for actual distributions at the local or regional level. These regional councils are much more grassroots based.

Regional Economic Development Councils

In 2011, Governor Cuomo created 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. A key component of Governor Cuomo’s transformative approach to economic development, these councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations.

Over the past two years, as part of a process that has awarded over $1.5 billion for job creation and community development, the Regional Councils produced innovative plans and implementation agendas that truly reflect the distinct characteristics of each of the 10 regions of our great state.

New York is keeping the momentum going with a third round of funding this year for the Regional Councils, including $220 million to implement regional strategies and priorities.

The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach. The third round of awards will once again allow the regions to continue pursuing and investing in its own economic destiny.

About the Consolidated Funding Application

As part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to improve the state’s economic development model, a NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. [Emphasis added] Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive..

There are 26 programs available through 13 state agencies in 2013, including Empire State Development; NYS Canal Corporation; NYS Energy Research and Development Authority; Environmental Facilities Corporation; Homes and Community Renewal; Department of Labor; Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Department of State, Office of National and Community Service; Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Higher Education Services Corporation; Department of Environmental Conservation; and Council on the Arts.

The 2013 Available CFA Resources Manual, which outlines the funds available from 29 state agency programs, and the 2013 REDC Guidebook, which provides the competitive guidelines for this year, are both available at

Upcoming CFA Workshops

As I examined the schedule of meetings below I recalled the complaint I made about the Mid-Hudson regional meeting in January for the Path through History project: there was one meeting for the entire region and it was in Dutchess County. The location was convenient for the organizers but it was not the demographic, geographic, or tourist center of the region. By contrast notice how many workshops are being held in each region of these councils which reflect a greater emphasis on reaching out to the community they serve.

Capital Region (Capital-Saratoga on Path website including Schenectady from the Mohawk Region )

7/10/2013 1:00-3:30 pm Empire State Plaza

7/15/2013 9:30 am – 12:00 PM Columbia-Greene Community College

7/19/2013 9:30 am – 12:00 PM SUNY Adirondack

Central Region

6/27/2013 12:00-2:30pm Cazenovia College

7/10/2013 2:00-4:30pm Cayuga Community College

7/24/2013 9:30am-12:00pm LeMoyne College

Finger Lakes Region

6/18/2013 4:00-6:30pm Memorial Art Gallery

6/20/2013 4:00-6:30pm Hobart and William Smith Colleges

6/24/2013 4:00-6:30pm SUNY Geneseo

6/27/2013 4:00-6:30pm SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC)

Long Island Region

Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 3:00pm

Farmingdale State College, Campus Center Ballroom

2350 Broadhollow Road, Melville, NY 11735

Mid-Hudson Region (Hudson Valley on the Path website plus there is a Catskill region)

7/9/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Manhattanville College

7/10/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Mt. Saint Mary College, Aquinas Hall

7/11/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Dutchess County Community College

Mohawk Valley Region (no such region on the Path website and it appears to have been split into multiple regions based on the principle, no doubt, that the Mohawk Valley is not a tourist destination in anyone’s mind while Central New York is a name known around the world)

6/20/2013 9:00am-11:30am SUNY IT

7/10/2013 9:00am-11:30am SUNY Cobleskill

7/17/2013 2:00pm-4:30pm Fulton Montgomery Community College

New York City Region

6/17/2013 10:00am Brooklyn College

7/9/2013 10:00am-12:30pm College of Staten Island

7/11/2013 9:00am-11:30pm Hostos Community College

7/17/2013 10:00am-12:30pm John Jay College of Criminal Justice

7/23/2013 9:00am-11:30pm LaGuardia Community College

North Country Region (divided into the Adirondacks and Thousand Island Seaways on the Path website which at least are legitimate tourist names)

6/18/2013 2:30-5:00pm SUNY Potsdam

6/26/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Clinton Community College

6/28/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Dulles State Office Building

Southern Tier Region (divided into the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and the Catskills on the Path website)

6/18/2013 6:00-8:30pm Holiday Inn Downtown (Ithaca)

6/20/2013 6:00-8:30pm Corning Community College

6/25/2013 6:00-8:30pm Morrisville College

6/27/2013 1:30-4:00pm Binghamton University

Western New York Region (divided primarily into Greater Niagara and Chautauqua-Allegheny on the Path website)

6/25/2013 2:00-5:00pm Buffalo State College

7/8/2013 2:00-5:00pm Conference Center Niagara Falls

7/22/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Jamestown Community College – Olean Campus

7/22/2013 3:00pm-6:00pm Jamestown Community College – Jamestown Campus

As you can see, the ten regions of Cuomo’s new Regional Economic Development Councils do not match the ten regions of Cuomo’s new Path through History project so you may have to investigate to determine exactly what region you are in. To make matters more confusing, longstanding statewide history organizations use other regional divisions. The NYSOPRHP uses 12 regions (really 13):

1 – Niagara

2 – Allegany (the typo is from the website)

3 – Genesee

4 – Finger Lakes

5 – Central

6a – Adirondack

6b – Catskill

7 – Taconic

8 – Palisades

9 – Long Island

10 – Thousand Islands

11 – Saratoga/Capital District

12 – New York City

There is no Mohawk Valley, no Adirondacks, and no Hudson Valley. APHNYS, the organization for municipal historians uses a 12-region division with numbers and not names that do not exactly match up with the others either. It appears that only New York City and Long Island are consistent regions. So besides the perennial game of where does Upstate begin and what is North Country we can add “What region are you in?” to the myriad of challenges designed to maximize the head spinning.

Names matter. The babel of regional names isn’t simply an issue of someone struggling to know what region he or she is depending on what issue is being addressed. Even besides that confusion, there is a tourist consideration. Part of tourism is branding. Names like the Palisades, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, the Champlain Valley, the Mohawk Valley, the Finger Lakes mean something. No one says, “Let’s plan a vacation to central New York.” And while the Taconic Parkway exists in Westchester it is because the parkway goes to the Taconics, not because Westchester is in the Taconics. Branding helps promote tourism if used intelligently.

In any event, the history community needs to be aware that these Regional Economic Development Councils exist, that they offer one-stop shopping among a myriad of state agencies, that real money is involved, and they are the only serious opportunity to get money. These meetings are your chance to make a local connection and you should take advantage of them. Remember, by and large the business people on the Regional Economic Development Council don’t know who you are. I have been ceaselessly touting the need for collaboration especially at the county level among the Tourist Department, County Historian, and historic organizations. The Regional Economic Development Councils are one place where such partnerships might pay off in money if not this round then in setting the foundation for the next one. The potential path to money is through these Regional Economic Development Councils. Make the effort to find out what’s going on.

An Innovative 3D, Augmented Reality Shaker Village Project

virtual-geShaker Heritage Society recently completed a dynamic on-line resource called Virtual Watervliet (VWV).  Virtual Watervliet provides a high quality experience via a website or mobile application that helps users better understand the significance and development of America’s first Shaker settlement.

At the core of VWV, is the digital reconstruction of all known Shaker structures built in the publically accessible areas of the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District since the late 18th century.  The digital reconstruction allows users to fly through the historic site and to rotate 3D models of historic Shaker architecture. Continue reading

NYS History Journal Ends Print Publication, Goes Digital

NY-History-Journal-logo-nysha-webThe New York State Historical Association’s (NYSHA) quarterly journal New York History, published since 1919,  is no longer available as a print publication and will henceforth be published as a digital pdf file. A statement published on the NYSHA webpage reported the change: Continue reading

The Hudson River Valley Review (Spring 2013)

hrvr29pt2_coverThe diverse articles in the newest issue of The Hudson River Valley Review (Spring 2013) perfectly illustrate the pervasive and lasting influence of the Hudson River Valley in shaping America’s destiny. The cover article, on a pivotal era at the United States Military Academy at West Point, is adapted from the 2013 Cunneen-Hackett Lecture in Hudson River Valley History.

The editors continue the commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial with “‘Musket Balls Was Thicker Then any Hail….,’” which traces the actions at Gettysburg of Green County soldiers in the 120th New York Regiment. Continue reading

Boscobel House &#038- Gardens Appoints New Executive Director

Steven MillerFollowing a national search, the board of directors of Boscobel House &amp- Garden in Putnam County has selected Steven Miller of Morristown, New Jersey to be the historic site’s new executive director. Miller has forty-two years of museum experience with distinguished institutions throughout the northeast. In addition, he has been a museum consultant, writer, trustee and educator.

Situated on a bluff on the east bank of the Hudson River, Boscobel House &amp- Gardens offers its visitors views of the Hudson River and the Hudson Highlands. Completed in 1808 by the States Dyckman family, Boscobel is regarded as a fine example of Federal architecture. Continue reading

27 NYS Nominations Made for Registers of Historic Places

New York State ParksThe New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 27 properties, resources and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including a Livingston County church where the American Red Cross got its start and a Rockland County complex that was central to the nation’s textile industry.

“The multi-faceted story of New York can be traced in its many distinctive buildings and unique landmarks,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “It is an honor to help preserve these unique landmarks by listing them on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.” Continue reading

Highlighting Some Innovative Practices

Museum Creativity Word CloudMany of the entries and news items here at the New York History blog highlight innovative practices and initiatives to broaden public visibility and support.

Sharing information and descriptions of good practices is a useful strategy for strengthening our programs. Here are a few examples that may be of interest:
Continue reading

The Leadership Role of Municipal Historians

19120822As the new year gets underway, it is appropriate to pause and reflect on open issues from years gone by. I am referring now to the role in 2013 of the county historian as a custodian for New York State history as we forge ahead with our Path through History Project.

The starting point for this investigation is an article which appeared on September 12, 2012 just after the summer launch in August entitled &#8220New York State’s Curious, Century-Old Law Requiring Every City and Town to Have a Historian&#8221 by Amanda Erickson in The Atlantic Cities. Continue reading

The State of NY History: The Westchester Experience

January is the traditional time for looking forward and backwards according to the two-faced Roman god Janus. In that spirit, I wish to start 2013 with a look back on some developments in local and state history by focusing on Westchester County both because I live there and because I happen to go through an old folder of Westchester material as I was cleaning up. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: Connecting History And Public Policy

Four recent developments remind us of the opportunities to tie history to other initiatives here in New York. Doing that successfully will continue to require leadership, persistence, and imagination.

*New York pride&#8230-and history? The New York State Economic Development Corporation is running ads in business journals to attract businesses to the state. The ads link to the Development Corporation’s Web Site. The ads say, among other things: Continue reading