Tag Archives: AASLH

Champlain History Project Wins Prestigious Award

A partnership of state and non-profit entities has won an important award for its project to educate Vermonters about the history and archeology of the Lake Champlain area as part of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial.

At its recent annual conference, the American Association for State and Local History awarded the Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery project a 2010 Leadership in History Award of Merit.

“This is a special honor, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to accept the award on behalf of the partnership,” said project director Elsa Gilbertson, Regional Historic Site Administrator for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, which collaborated with Vermont Public Television- the Bixby Memorial Free Library in Vergennes- Broadwing Productions- and the University of Maine at Farmington Archaeological Research Center.

“I’m very proud of the Voyages project and pleased to see the work of so many people in Vermont being recognized at the national level,” said AASLH Council President David Donath, CEO of the Woodstock Foundation and member of the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The two-and-a-half year project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as well as matching resources from the partnership, and used the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival in Lake Champlain as an opportunity to explore and bring to life the little known but internationally significant area and its peoples from 1609 to the 1760s.

“This project was a multi-disciplinary effort using archeology, historic research, film-making, museum and library outreach, and extensive local and regional participation,” said Giovanna Peebles, State Historic Preservation Officer and head of DHP. “I think it did a terrific job of portraying the Native American and other peoples and their contributions to regional and world history during this critical period in the Champlain Valley.”

It included:

* An archeological investigation with professional archeologists, educators, and volunteers at the DAR State Park in Addison to look for traces of the French colonial past-

* A Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery publication for the general public about this early history and archeological results-

* A one-hour documentary, Champlain: The Lake Between, by film maker Caro Thompson and Broadwing Productions with Vermont Public Television, which won a New England Emmy-

* Public programs and exhibits at the Chimney Point State Historic Site and Bixby Memorial Free Library-

* A special edition Champlain: The Lake Between, with “Classroom Connections” educational activities and resources distributed to schools in the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont and New York-

* Educational kits and new books and other resources at the Bixby Memorial Free Library-

* A website with information about the project.

The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 65th year, is the most prestigious recognition in the United States for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

“The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history,” said AASLH President Terry L. Davis.

DVDs of the Champlain: The Lake Between are available from Vermont Public Television by calling (802) 655-5307 and the special educational edition and the publication, Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery, are available from the Chimney Point State Historic Site.

Educational kits are available in the local area on loan from the Bixby Memorial Free Library. For more information, visit: www.historicvermont.org/imls/lakechamplainvoyageshomepage.html

“VPT is proud to be part the Voyages of Discovery project, making this valuable content available to classroom teachers, students and lifelong learners,” said Vermont Public Television president John King.

Vermont Public Television will re-air Champlain: The Lake Between on Monday, Oct. 18, at 10:30 p.m.

NYSHA President Chairs Assoc for State, Local History

At the Association’s annual conference in Oklahoma City yesterday, NYS Historical Association (NYSHA) President and Chief Executive Officer, D. Stephen Elliott, began a two-year term as Chair of the American Association for State and Local History’s (AASLH) 20-member governing Council. Elliott was elected to the position last year by the Association’s membership.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH is the country’s leading association for history organizations and those who staff them. It provides leadership and support for its 6300 institutional and individual members, including professional development and recognition, publishing and networking, and advocacy.

The Association has been a leader in helping history museums, historic house museums, historical agencies and societies, and archives think creatively and entrepreneurially about their roles in contemporary society and in their communities and about how to sustain their programs and services even as traditional funding sources also are under duress.

Elliott will continue to serve as President and CEO of NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum, and as Vice President of the Museum Association of New York.

Terry Davis, AASLH President and CEO, noted that Elliott had previously served on the Association’s Council and other national history education boards. “Steve is highly respected in the field. His thoughtful approach to issues and tireless advocacy for collaboration among history, museum, and educational organizations are timely strengths.”

Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of The Farmers’ Museum Board of Directors, also commended Elliott’s selection. “He is a solid leader who works extremely well with Boards of Directors, and he certainly knows well the operational challenges that museums and history organizations have been surmounting.”

Dr. Douglas E. Evelyn, Chairman of the NYSHA Board of Trustees, is himself a former Chair of AASLH. “Steve is a good pick for this important national position at this particularly challenging time. He has a wealth of varied professional experience, having served in the field for 38 years, from Williamsburg to Cooperstown, and is wholly committed to maximizing how these vital keepers of America’s diverse heritage serve well their broad constituencies.”

Elliott has been the President of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum since 2005. Previously he served for five years as Executive Director of the First Freedom Center, in Richmond, Virginia, a non-profit whose educational mission focuses on the development of religious freedom in America. He held numerous posts over 28 years with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in Virginia, the world’s largest living history museum, including Vice President of Education and Museums- Vice President and Chief Administration Officer- Vice President of Planning, Information and Capital Project Management, and Quality Performance- and, Secretary of the Foundation. He has also served on the Board and as a member of the Executive Committee of National History Day- as a governing Council Member and Vice Chair of the American Association for State and Local History- a Board Liaison for the National Council for History Education- and held leadership positions with many public service and community organizations in the Williamsburg-Hampton Roads and Cooperstown areas. Elliott received his Bachelor’s degree cum laude from Cornell University- completed doctoral coursework in history at The College of William and Mary- was a Fellow to the 1972 Seminar for Historic Administration, and completed the 1990 Tuck Business School Executive Program at Dartmouth College.

Photo: NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum President and Chief Executive Officer, D. Stephen Elliott

AASLH Annual Meeting in Rochester September 9-12, 2008

The American Association for State and Local History Annual Meeting in Rochester beginning September 9th is geared toward &#8220history professionals, historical sites, historical societies, history museums, military museums, libraries, presidential sites, students, suppliers, and more.&#8221

According to their website:

This is your chance to share your passion, ideas, and knowledge with over 800 of your peers in the field of state and local history. You’ll have an opportunity to learn from over 80 sessions and 17 pre-meeting workshops that directly relate to the latest issues and trends that you face. And, you’ll also have an opportunity to have fun while you explore Rochester’s amazing history through the evening events and tours.

Although apparently they’re keeping the costs of the conference pretty quiet (good luck finding it on the website), you can apparently register here.

Underground Railroad Site Travel Grants to AASLH

If you represent an underground railroad related site or organization, the New York State Underground Railroad Heritage Trail is offering Travel Grants to support attendance at this year’s AASLH Annual Meeting in Rochester.

The Underground Railroad Heritage Trail Travel Grants will provide museum staff members and volunteers, from URHT sites, the opportunity to expand their horizons by participating in the American Association of State and Local History Annual Meeting.

Organizations may apply for travel grants of up to $350. This travel grant can be used towards conference registration fees, travel expenses and accommodation fees associated with attendance at the 2008 AASLH Annual Meeting. For further information on the AASLH Annual Meeting visit: www.aaslh.org/anmeeting.htm

Applications for URHT Travel grants to attend the AASLH Annual Meeting must be postmarked by August 3, 2008. Applicants will be notified within 30 days of receipt. To apply, contact Catherine Gilbert directorATupstatehistoryDOTorg at the Upstate History Alliance for an application form.

According to New York State’s Underground Heritage Trail website:

New York State was at the forefront of the Underground Railroad movement. It was a major destination for freedom-seekers for four main reasons:

Destination & Gateway
New York was a gateway to liberation for freedom-seekers (often referred to as escaped slaves). Its prime location, with access to Canada and major water routes, made it the destination of choice for many Africans fleeing slavery along the eastern seaboard.

Safe Haven
Freedom-seekers knew they would be protected in New York’s many black communities as well as Quaker and other progressive white and mixed race communities. A large and vocal free black population was present after the manumission (freeing) of slaves in New York State in 1827.

Powerful Anti-Slavery Movement
Anti-slavery organizations were abundant in New York State &#8211 more than any other state. The reform politics and the progressive nature of the state gave rise to many active anti-slavery organizations.

Strong Underground Railroad Leaders
Many nationally-known and locally influential black and white abolitionists chose to make their homes in New York. Among them were: Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, Henry Ward Beecher, Sojourner Truth and John Brown.