Tag Archives: New York State Museum

State Museum to Sponsor Adirondack Day

The New York State Museum will celebrate the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain on Saturday, November 3 with “Adirondack Day,” an inaugural daylong event that will complement the Museum’s exhibition on iconic Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard. Continue reading

NYS Museum Opens Civil War Exhibit

The exhibit “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War” has opened at the New York State Museum, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The pivotal role New York State played in the war is the focus of the 7,000-square-foot exhibition. As the wealthiest and most populous state, the Empire State led all others in supplying men, money, and materiel to the causes of unity and freedom. New York’s experience provides significant insight into the reasons why the war was fought and the meaning that the Civil War holds today. An Irrepressible Conflict will be open through September 22, 2013 in Exhibition Hall. Continue reading

12th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar Saturday

The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley and The New York State Museum are hosting the 12th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar at the NYS Museum in Albany this Saturday, September 15, 2012. A complete list of topics related to Northeastern Native American culture from prehistory to present is included below, along with the days itinerary.

9:00 – 9:30 Registration -
9:30 – 10:00 Welcome & Board Introduction: Mariann Mantzouris & Kevin Fuerst
Presentation of Colors by the Mohican Veterans

10:00 – 10:30 JoAnn Schedler
Mohicans in the Civil War
JoAnn Schedler, BSN, MSM, RN and a Major, US Army Nurse Corps Reserves (Retired). She served over twenty years with the 452 Combat Support Hospitals (CSH) of Wisconsin. She is a life member of the Mohican Veterans and Reserve Officers Association and a member of the American Legion in Gresham, WI. In 1985 to present she serves as a founding board member for Indian Summer Festival. She serves on the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Tribal Historic Preservation Committee and the Constitution Committee and is a Peacemaker for the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Court. She was the first Nursing Instructor for the Associate Degree Program at the College of the Menominee Nation 2008/ 2009 and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses since 1992.This continues a presentation given last year on this subject.

10:30 – 11:00 Judy Hartley
Mohican Diet and Disease in Pre-contact America.
Written information by early Dutch explorers as well as oral histories transcribed by missionaries has provided insight into both the diet and general health of the Mohican Indians at the time of the arrival of
Henry Hudson in the early 17th century. From these sources as well as current-day research, it is possible to capture the essence of Mohican daily life before the arrival of Europeans.

Judith Hartley grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee/Band of the Mohicans reservation in northern Wisconsin. Her mother was a Mohican who was active in tribal governance—-serving for years as the elected tribal treasurer. Judith left the reservation upon high school graduation to attend college. She has a B.S. degree in biology and worked for years in pharmaceutical research. Currently she has obtained an MBA and has worked for the past 22 years for Roche Diagnostics Corporation, a global pharmaceutical and health care company. As retirement approaches, Judith endeavors to give something back to the tribe by way of historical research, poetry and speeches concerning her people.

11:00 – 11:30 John M. Smith
Esopus Indians and the Ulster County Trader
Findings from a recently discovered Dutch account book of the fur trade in Ulster County are discussed that provide new insights into the lives of Esopus individuals and their families in the early eighteenth
century.

John M. Smith is an independent historian and contributing author to New York State Museum bulletins, the Hudson River Valley Review, and co-editor with Dutch Historian and translator Kees Waterman in the forth coming book Munsee Indian Trade in Ulster County, New York, 1711-1732.

11:30 – 12:00 Katy L. Chiles
Hendrick Aupaumut: An Eighteenth-Century Mohican Diplomat
This paper provides an introduction to the work of Hendrick Aupaumut, an eighteenth-century Mohican diplomat. A sachem who fought on the American side of the Revolutionary War, Captain Aupaumut was tapped by President Washington to serve as a diplomat to the British-allied Miami and Shawnee leaders who fought against white settlers. Aupaumut’s 1792 manuscript, a record written for U.S. governmental officials, was printed in the 1827 Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This talk muses over Aupaumut’s “errors” in spelling and grammar, including one interesting clause: “these white people was” (sic). One might be tempted to assume, like his original interlocuters, that Aupaumut, as a Native American who had yet to master the English language, constructed a sentence with flawed subject-verb agreement. However, unlike U.S. officials who wrote that the manuscript contained  many “incorrectnesses” (sic), Chiles argues that Aupaumut’s peculiar locution astutely explored the most contemplated concerns of early America: could the many former white British subjects ever become one  people? What would the process of becoming “E Pluribus Unum” actually look like? Could people be both singular (denoted by the number of the verb was) and plural (denoted by the number of the demonstrative adjective these), and, most importantly for Aupaumut, how would all this effect how white settlers would interact with both his own and other Native American tribes? Furthermore, by comparing Aupaumut’s manuscript with the Society’s Memoirs, this presentation illustrates how editorial practices used by Aupaumut’s publishers conditioned the “original” text and allows us to consider Aupaumut’s intellectual sovereignty.

Katy L. Chiles teaches and writes about Native American and African-American literature, early American literature and culture, and critical race theory at the University of Tennessee. Her work has
appeared in journals such as PMLA and American Literature and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Transformable Race and the Literatures of Early America. This summer she was honored to do research at the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation in Bowler, Wisconsin. There she was able to share her work with and to learn from Sherry White, Nathalee Kristiansen, Leah Miller, and Betty Groh, all of
the Mohican Nation, Stockbridge-Munsee Band.

12:00 -1:30 Lunch on your own. Eating areas are located in the museum  should you want to bring your own lunch. There are three restaurants within two blocks of the Museum.

1:30 – 2:00 Karen Hess
The Coeymans Family and the Mohicans
One of the largest 17th century land transactions between the River Indians and European settlers was transacted in 1672 by Maghshapeet, sachem of the Katskill Indians, to Barent Coeymans, Dutch colonial
miller. Confirmed as a patent in 1673, and awarded a royal confirmation in 1714, this vast tract of ancient tribal lands south of Albany stretched foreleven miles along the west bank of the Hudson River and westward twelve miles into the wilderness. The history of this patent, the home of two divergent cultures, and the relationships of Barent Coeymans and the Katskill Mohicans, will be explored in this
presentation.

Karen Hess is preparing a book about Ariaantje Coeymans whose portrait hangs at the Albany Institute of History & Art where Mrs. Hess is a docent. She has presented her research at a NYS Historical Association conference as well as other historical societies. An essential element of the story of this colonial woman is her family’s intriguing relationship with the Mohican Indians.

2:00 – 2:45 Eric Ruijssenaars
A Dutch Founding Father: Abraham Staats
In 1642, surgeon Abraham Staats and his wife Trijntje Jochems emigrated from Amsterdam to Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck (now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties). Staats’s job was not simply to treat ailing residents but also to advise the Patroon. He  served as a magistrate of the court. Outside of court, he was often called on to resolve disputes between his neighbors. Well respected  within Rensselaerswijck, Staats was also something of a diplomat. Entitled to trade in beavers, he learn
ed the Algonquin Indian language and was, therefore, able to act as an intermediary between colonists and Native Americans. The sloop Staats purchased to further his commercial  interests placed him in contact with leaders in New Amsterdam (New York City) and allowed him to develop a personal relationship with Peter Stuyvesant.

Eric Ruijssenaars studied history at Leiden University graduating in 1988. He has written two books about Brussels and the Brontes (published in 2000 and 2003), is co-founder of Brussels Bronte Group in 2005. He started a bureau for historical research in Dutch Archives, in 2002. In 2011/2012 Eric was chosen Senior Scholar in Residence at the New Netherland Research Center in Albany.

2:45 – 3:15 William Staats
Hoogeberg, the Staats Family, and the Mohicans.
Staats Island (or the Hoogeberg: the “high hill.”) has been in the Staats family since the mid-17th century. The Joachim Staats homestead, dating from 1696, remains a family residence. Many generations of the family are interred here overlooking the beautiful Hudson River. This is  where Colonel Philip Staats saved the life of the Mohican, Ben Pie, in the late 1700s. It is no longer an island but remains a place of great history with many stories to tell.

William Staats graduated from SUNY Albany with an MS in Education in 1957. Bill grew up at Staats Island near Castleton-on-Hudson, NY in the 1696 Joachim Staats homestead. He taught in 1965-66 at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and also taught for several years in Hudson High School and for 35 years in the accounting and computer areas at Hudson Valley Community College. In 2009 he authored Three Centuries on the Hudson River.

3:15 – 3:45 Francis “Jess” Robinson
Ceremonialism and Inter-Regional Exchange Two Millennia before the Fur Trade: a View from the East Creek Site
The East Creek cemetery was excavated between 1933 and 1935 on the southeastern shore of Lake Champlain by representatives of the Museum of the American Indian- Heye Foundation. Despite its unfortunate desecration, the site contains rare and remarkable evidence of the elaborate ceremonialism and long distance exchange obtaining during the Early Woodland period (ca. 3,000-2,000 cal yr BP). While the presentation will concentrate on some of the more salient aspects of the site and what it suggests about the Native groups participating in the Early Woodland interaction sphere, mention will also be made of the analogies that one may cautiously advance regarding trade and exchange during the contact era.

Francis “Jess” Robinson is a PhD Candidate at the University at Albany-SUNY, a Research Supervisor at the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program, and a current adjunct faculty member in
the Anthropology Department at UVM.

3:45 – 4:00 Kevin Fuerst
The Lebanon Spring: A Work in Progress
Kevin Fuerst, NAI President, long-time board member, and New Lebanon Town Historian will provide a status update on his efforts to preserve the famous curative Lebanon Spring and interpret its Native American associations.

4:00 – 4:15 Closing Remarks and Retreat of the Colors” by Mohican Veterans to conclude the conference.

1934: A New Deal for Artists Exhibit in Albany

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists.

The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. They painted regional, recognizable subjects – ranging from portraits, to cityscapes and images of city life, to landscapes and depictions of rural life – that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. Continue reading

Andrew Cuomo and New York History

Through several initiatives and statements, Governor Andrew Cuomo has become a highly visible proponent of New York State history. Taken together, his projects constitute evidence of vision, interest, and support. Cuomo sees history as something that can be used to deepen understanding, provide perspective, and help guide us into the future. Continue reading

State Museum Launches War of 1812 Website

The New York State Museum has launched a new statewide website and Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The website is expected to include a web-based exhibition and hoped to be a statewide clearinghouse for information about New York’s pivotal role in the War of 1812, as well as for all War of 1812 events across New York State and into Canada. The goal is to provide a site for conversation and coordination among all of those interested in commemorating the memory of the war.

The New York-Canadian border was the central front of the war, which was waged against the British Empire from June 18, 1812 to February 18, 1815. Some of the nation’s most prominent military figures of the early 19th century made their names along New York State’s northern frontier. Several pivotal battles also took place in the state, including the battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814.

“The War of 1812 is a ‘New York story’ and so too is our effort to commemorate this important bicentennial,” said Museum Director Mark Schaming. “We have reached out to historians, historical societies and various other collaborators and partners across the state and into Canada, inviting them to join with us in telling this story and making this the ‘go-to’ place to learn about the war and the many events planned to commemorate it.”

The website will be a growing and evolving statewide resource for the duration of the bicentennial commemorations. Interested historians – from academics to genealogists – will have an opportunity to submit 1812-related stories, whether they are biographies of local citizens or essays on New York-related events. A page devoted to biographies highlights valiant and patriotic men and women who contributed their time, energies, and in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice to aid the war effort.

The site also provides a platform for historical societies and museums across the state to highlight their War of 1812 collections in a virtual artifact gallery. The site currently displays historic artifacts related to the War that are in the collections of the State Museum, State Library and State Archives.

A resources page lists website links for War of 1812 commemorative events and organizations, as well as for State Library resources and State Archives records.

CFP: 12th Mohican / Algonquian Peoples Seminar

The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley and The New York State Museum are inviting papers or other presentation to be given at the 12th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar held at the NYS Museum in Albany on September 15, 2012. Topics can be any aspect of Northeastern Native American culture from prehistory to present. Presentations are allotted 20 minutes speaking time.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit a one page abstract that includes a brief biographical sketch and notes any special scheduling and/or equipment needs. For presentations other than traditional papers, please describe content and media that will be used to make the presentation. Deadline for abstract submission is June 1, 2012.

 
The Selection Committee, made up of Board members, will notify presenters no later than June 10, 2012. The final paper should meet common publication standards. The paper should be foot noted “author-date” style- sources are cited in the text in parentheses by author’s last name and date, with a reference to a list of books or sources at the end of the paper. Also, a disc containing the article, bibliography, illustrations (referred to as figure 1, figure 2 etc.) and captions for the illustrations should be submitted to the Board at the Seminar.

Send abstracts to:

Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley (NAIHRV)
c/o Mariann Mantzouris
223 Elliot Rd.
East Greenbush, NY 12061
Email : marimantz@aol.com
Telephone: 518-369-8116

NYS Museum Research in Archaeology Lectures

Research findings on a 200-300-year-old skull found in a wall in Coeymans – the subject of recent news accounts – will be one of the topics discussed during a series of lectures on “Research in Archaeology” at the New York State Museum. The lectures will be held Wednesday through March 28 at 12:10 p.m. in the Huxley Theater. Lecture topics and dates are:

? March 14 – “Learning from Pottery.” Broken pieces of pottery, or sherds, are one of the most common artifacts recovered from archaeological sites younger than 3,000 years old. Dr. John P. Hart, director of the State Museum’s Research & Collections division, will
discuss recently completed research on sherds that provides information on how Native Americans interacted across what is now New York state.

? March 21 – “The Skull in the Wall: The Case of the Coeymans Lady.” The discovery of a human skull during repairs to the stone foundation at the historic Coeymans House in southern Albany County raised many questions about the person’s identity and manner of death.
Lisa Anderson, curator of bioarchaeology, will take a closer look at the skeletal evidence and historical context of the case.

? March 28 – “Cache and Carry: New Insights on Ice Age Technology of New York Paleoindians.” New York’s first people colonized the state at the end of the Ice Age. Ranging widely across New York and beyond, many have wondered how these hunter gatherers
created a portable stone technology compatible with their mobile way of life. Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, curator of archaeology, describes new insights from the study of a Paleoindian stone tool cache discovered in the upper Susquehanna Valley.

Founded in 1836, the State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New
Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Photo: Coeymans House from LOC Historic American Building Survey Digital Collection.

Bob Weible: NYs Historical Golden Age is Coming

If there is one thing historians should know, it is that “things change.” After all, without change, history would have no meaning. And historians would have no jobs. Face it. Everyone may love history. But the reason some of us collect paychecks, practically speaking, is that we perform the unique and essential service of helping people understand history—not so we can all venerate the past but so that we can change the way things are and make history ourselves. Continue reading

State Museum Aquires Unique Stoneware

After hiding away in private collections – and a California coat closet – for nearly 200 years, a unique piece of early American decorative art is returning home to New York, where it will be housed at the New York State Museum thanks to collector Adam Weitsman. Weitsman, President of Upstate Shredding, also donated a monumental jug, two water coolers considered important by the museum and a gallon jug decorated with the image of a ship.

“The addition of these recent pieces of decorated stoneware surely put the New York State Museum on the map as having the premier collection of American stoneware. Not only are the decorations unique and outstanding as works of American folk art, but the documentation and history of these recent acquisitions enable us to learn so much more about the stoneware industry and those artists who left us such remarkable works of art,” said John Scherer, Historian Emeritus of the New York State Museum.

Weitsman has made a number of donations to the museum in the past, and a Herington incised jug will be an important – and valuable – addition to the collection.

A double-handled, profusely decorated stoneware jug is among the latest items Weitsman has donated. Inscribed “BENJAMIN HERINGTON,” it was bought at auction for what was, at the time, a record-breaking $138,000. The jug, considered by some a masterpiece, was made as a memorial to a 22-year-old potter who drowned in the Norwich, Connecticut harbor in 1823.

The double-handled jug joins two other pottery donations from Weitsman, including a 21 1/2 inch tall jug made in Poughkeepsie in the mid- to late-1800s, and a one-gallon stoneware jug decorated with the image of a ship, made in New York State between 1835-1846. The new acquisitions also include two water coolers made by Jonah Boynton of Albany purchased from New York City dealer Leigh Keno.

Stoneware was an integral part of the history of New York State and the expansion of the country in early days of exploration and settlement. In a time before refrigeration, stoneware was used to store and transport foodstuffs and drinking water. Clay deposits ideal for making stoneware were found around New York State, notably in what is now New Jersey, lower Manhattan and eastern Long Island. New York State became a large stoneware producer and artisans in New York developed durable vessels decorated with rich designs using incision techniques and distinctive rich blue coloring.

Weitsman began collecting American stoneware at age 11 and made his first donation of more than 120 pieces to the museum in 1996. In a 2009 article for Antiques and Fine Art Magazine, ‘Art for the People: Decorated Stoneware from the Weitsman Collection,’ Scherer wrote, “Since his initial donation Weitsman has continued to add at an aggressive pace to the museum’s holdings, making it the premier collection of American decorated stoneware in the country.”

The Weitsman Stoneware Collection is available can be viewed by the general public at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York.