Peter Feinman: A Fork In The Path Through History

PathThroughHistoryOn January 25, I attended the Mid-Hudson regional meeting of the Path through History project. What follows is my report on the meeting which may, or may not, be the experience and take-away of others who attended (or what is happening in other regions). The Mid-Hudson Valley region includes the Hudson River counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland, along with Sullivan County in the Catskills. Read more

Peter Feinman: The Greater Hudson Heritage Conference

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHNN) held its annual conference on September 28 at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center, Hyde Park. The theme of the conference was &#8220Mining the Museum: Using Your Existing Resources in New Ways&#8221 with Executive Director Priscilla Brendler presiding. The meeting was so-well attended I didn’t even have a chance to speak with the all the people I would like to have talked to. The format has been expanded beyond being primarily an awards ceremony to be more like the Museumwise conference with a plenary speaker followed by concurrent sessions but for one day instead of two. Read more

Barnabas McHenrys Greater Hudson Heritage Award

The Board of Trustees of Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) will confer special regional recognition to Barnabas (Barney) McHenry through presentation of the Greater Hudson Cultural Heritage Award on October 2, preceding a Historic Site Futures Forum at Bear Mountain, New York.

For 40 years Barney McHenry has worked to protect the Hudson River Valley, its heritage, culture and landscapes. As counsel to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest, he was the principal architect of the Wallace Funds, which have contributed to the arts, education, humanities and the environment throughout the Hudson River Valley.

Barney McHenry demonstrates his commitment to the region as Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Co-Chair of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, while offering valued trustee-leadership to regional historic sites through his service on the boards of Friends of the Hudson Valley and the Open Space Institute, and as Chairman of Boscobel.

A long time patron of museums throughout the Greater Hudson Heritage Network, Mr. McHenry has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Commission on the Restoration of the Capital and the Empire State Plaza Art Commission.

“Greater Hudson’s vision of ‘communities that value the exploration and preservation of their heritage and cultures, and are empowered to save and interpret them to future generations,’ has been furthered by the work of Barney McHenry,” affirmed Dr. Jacquetta Haley, President of the GHHN Board.

Greater Hudson Heritage Network (formerly Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums), is a museum service organization that has grown over 30 years to encompass an area and cultural constituency from the Battery to Albany- engaging and informing staff, consultants and trustees of cultural heritage organizations as a catalyst to strengthen professional capacity, define and meet mission, and connect them through best practices in stewardship.

Greater Hudson’s Annual Meeting and Historic Site Futures Forum will take place on Friday, October 2, 2009 at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, NY from 10am – 3pm.

The Hon. Richard Brodsky, NYS Assemblyman, 92nd District (Westchester) will address an audience of museum and historic site professionals on issues of &#8220Smart Stewardship,&#8221 as he introduces the morning Historic Site Futures Forum and panel speakers.

The Cultural Heritage Award presentation and Futures Forum will be followed by a buffet luncheon, election of GHHN trustees, and the afternoon presentation of 14 Awards Towards Excellence for organizations and projects selected from submitted nominations by a peer jury, chaired by Greater Hudson trustee Jennifer Plick.

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Awards Towards Excellence program seeks to recognize and commend exceptional efforts among GHHN members. Awards are made to projects and organizations that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture and diversity of the Greater Hudson region- from the Battery to Albany.

2009 Awards Towards Excellence are presented to:

BOSCOBEL HOUSE & GARDENS, Garrison, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition, Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes, 1825-1875. This award is in recognition of the continued effort to explore the works of Hudson River School painters particularly those done by women artists and for incorporating the research of doctoral students in the exhibit catalog.

CLARKSTOWN TOWN CLERK, DAVID CARLUCCI, New City, NY (Rockland) for the preservation of the Town of Clarkstown’s historical records. This award is in recognition of the Town Clerk’s program to preserve, digitize and make accessible over 250 years of town records that, in many cases, are too fragile to be handled.

CONSTITUTION ISLAND ASSOCIATION, INC., West Point, NY (Orange) for the film, “Constitution Island: American Landmark.” This award is in recognition of the endeavor to raise awareness of the historic and cultural significance of the site and its use as an educational tool.

SAMUEL DORSKY MUSEUM OF ART, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) and NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY, New York (NY) for the exhibition and publication, The Hudson River to Niagara Falls: 19th Century American Landscape Paintings from the New-York Historical Society. This award is in recognition of a collaboration that re-interprets the landscape collections of the New-York Historical Society by exploring the importance of the region as a cultural site in the 19th century through the works of Hudson River School artists.

HISTORIC HUGUENOT STREET, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) for the exhibition Before Hudson: 8,000 Years of Native American History and Culture. This award is in recognition of the exhibit and public programming that advances regional history by exploring the history of the native inhabitants of the area using archaeological findings.

KATHLEEN EAGAN JOHNSON, Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the publication, The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival and the Making of a Metropolis, co-published by Fordham University Press and Historic Hudson Valley. This award is in recognition of the extensive research and in-depth study of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 and its impact on New York City.

LYNDHURST and WESTCHESTER COUNTY, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the public program and community collaboration, Hudson River Fest: A Search for the Past, Present, and Future. This award is in recognition of a collaborative program that celebrated Westchester’s historic ties to the river and land, and explored the respectful stewardship of these important but fragile resources.

MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE &#8211 A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST, New York (NY) for the creation of an on-line collection resource. This award is in recognition of an innovative program that invites the public to browse artifacts in a dynamic and user-friendly environment. The online Collection offers information unavailable in the Museum.

NEVERSINK VALLEY AREA MUSUEM, Cuddebackville, NY (Orange) for the exhibit, “The Star is Born: A History of the Movie Star in America from Florence Lawrence and Valentino to Heath Ledger” and a program on women in early films. This award is in recognition of new audience-driven local history programming.

NEW CASTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY and EAGLE SCOUT MICHAEL MARTINEZ, New Castle, NY (Westchester) for documentation of the Chappaqua Friends’ Graveyard. This award is in recognition of the extensive research, detailed documentation and creation of a searchable database for over 1,000 markers in the local graveyard dating back to 1745.

THE OLANA PARTNERSHIP and NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, Hudson, NY (Columbia) for a new gallery, inaugural exhibit, “Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church’s Views from Olana” and its exhibition catalog. This award is in recognition of a public-private effort to broaden the scope of the historic house museum, and a valuable collaborative marketing concept.

TORICAL SOCIETY OF ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, HEATHER DUKE, ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF TOURISM This award recognizes the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of professionals to create and excite the public about local history.

LAKEVILLE-IRONWORKS EDUCATIONAL TRAIL and MATTHEW SHOOK, Sterling Forest, Tuxedo, NY (Orange) This award is in recognition Matthew Shook’s dedication, leadership and collaborative skills in bringing together the PIPC, State Historic Preservation Office, NY/NJ Trail Conference, and Rutgers University to preserve, interpret and make accessible to the public a neglected historical resource.

PUTNAM COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & FOUNDRY SCHOOL MUSEUM, DR. TRUDIE GRACE and DAVID DEARINGER, Cold Spring, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition catalog accompanying the exhibition, George Pope Morris: Defining American Culture. This award is in recognition of the extensive, scholarly research undertaken into the life of George Pope Morris of Cold Spring, and his contribution to 19th century American publishing, music and poetry.

For registration information about Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s October 2, 2009
Annual Meeting, Futures Forum, and Awards presentations at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, please see:, or contact GHHN: 914.592.6726- [email protected].

Greater Hudson Heriitage Announces Conservation Grant Awards

Greater Hudson Heritage Network (formerly Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums) has awarded nearly $120,000 in conservation treatment grants to 27 organizations, located in 18 counties of New York, in association with the Museum Program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). These 2009 awards bring the total granted by this statewide program to over $1 million since the Conservation Treatment Grant program began in 2000. The grant funds will provide treatment by professional conservators to aid in stabilizing, preserving, and making accessible to the public an array of unique objects in collections of New York’s museums, historical and cultural organizations of all sizes.

2009 grants will support treatment of ancient Greek kylizes and contemporary bronze sculpture, printed earthenware, silk and woven textiles, and oil paintings—such as an 18th c. Cuzco School Madonna and Child, 19th c. portraits, and 20th c. landscapes with their carved, gilt frames- a 28 ft. wall mural, an early 20th c. Grand Advertising Curtain, and Frank Stella’s Big Gur. Diverse objects such as artist Thomas Cole’s Top Hat, a Leather Fire Hose, panoramic photograph of Gloversville, The Caudebec Inn 1920’s Hotel Register, a plaster bull sculpture maquette, carriages, coaches, a newsprint sign and a Native American clam basket are among the artifacts stewarded by collecting and exhibiting institutions from Rochester to Rhinebeck receiving conservation treatment support through the 2009 grant program.

Grants are awarded for prioritized, urgently needed conservation of objects that, once treated, will impact public interpretive programs, exhibitions and education. Non-profit organizations with stewardship responsibility for cultural collections, (but without in-house conservation staff) were eligible applicants- state or federally owned collections are ineligible for support. Grant funding can treat paintings, works on paper, textiles, furniture, sculpture, ethnographic, historical and decorative objects, and may also support accompanying professional treatment of frames, supports, stands and mounts if integral to the final public presentation of the object, after conservation.

Greater Hudson Heritage Network works to provide support for conservation treatments that are executed on the highest professional level. The field of conservation is continually changing, with pioneering research and dissemination of findings on innovative materials and techniques. Although there are many paths into the field of conservation, we acknowledge practitioners who have demonstrated high levels of proficiency and advanced knowledge, adherence to the ethics and standards of the American Institute of Conservation (AIC), and are recognized for their expertise in the museum field.

An evaluation of the first five years of the Conservation Treatment Grant Program reported that these grants led to public impact outcomes beyond the actual conservation of museum objects, including heightened appreciation of the collections, and increased public awareness of the institution’s role as steward, and has proven a spark to further institutional, strategic, financial and long-range conservation planning. Beyond these outcomes, grant recipients reported that Conservation Treatment funding prompted fuller use of collections (for exhibition, web content and loan), enhanced interpretive capability, and expanded opportunities to educate the public about art, history, humanities, the science of conservation, and museum work.

41 grant applications were received at Greater Hudson from institutions in 23 counties of New York State, requesting an aggregate of nearly $192,000 in grant support. 27 awards totaling approximately $120,000 were recommended by a peer panel of conservators, curators and museum professionals. Individual 2009 Conservation Treatment Grants range from $555 to $7,500.

Of the 27 funded institutions, 63% have annual budgets under $360,000 (15% with operating budgets of less than $50,000), and 37% have budgets greater than $400,000 (15% of those have budgets of $400-$750,000- 15% are in the $1.8 million &#8211 $4.5 million range, and 7% operate at over $17 million). Organizational annual operating budgets of 2009’s grant recipients span a stunning range from $3,400 to $18.7 million.

Information on the statewide Conservation Treatment Grant Program, including grant guidelines and an archive of past grant awards, visit, or contact Greater Hudson Heritage Network Executive Director Tema Harnik: 914.592.6726- [email protected].

Congratulations to these 2009 Conservation Treatment Grant Recipients:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery/ Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo (Erie County).

$ 2775 for conservation treatment of a 1960 bronze sculpture Man Walking (Version 1,) by Alberto Giacometti, and 1957 oil painting, George Went Swimming at Barnes Hole, but It Got Too Cold, by Joan Mitrchell- work to be done by conservators Stefan Dedecek and Robert Lodge of McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory, Inc.

John D. Barrow Art Gallery, Skaneateles (Onondaga County).

$ 7500 for treatment of the oil painting Trees with Sunset by John D. Barrow, and its frame. treatment to be done by conservator Susan Blakney, West Lake Conservators Ltd.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site (Cedar Grove), Catskill (Greene County)

$ 2930 for conservation treatment of Thomas Cole’s Black Silk Top Hat, and its original box- work to be done by textile conservator Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation LLC.

Columbia County Historical Society, Kinderhook (Columbia County).

$ 2967 for conservation of a pair of early 19th c. printed objects: an earthenware pitcher and a cotton textile featuring the Declaration of Independence- to be treated by objects conservator Monica Berry, and textile conservator Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation, LLC.

Depauville Free Library, Depauville (Jefferson County)

$ 7487 for treatment of an early 20th c. Grand Advertising Drape- work to be done by conservator Susan Blakney, West Lake Conservators, Ltd.

Derfner Judaica Museum at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, Riverdale (Bronx County)

$ 5035 for conservation treatment and stabilization of a 19th c. European velvet embroidered applique Torah ark valance- work to be done by textile conservator Judith Eisenberg.

FASNY Museum of Firefighting, Hudson (Columbia County)

$ 4764 for conservation of an early 19th c. copper riveted leather fire hose- to be treated by objects conservator Abigail Mack.

Friends of Raynham Hall, Inc., Oyster Bay (Nassau County)

$ 2800 for conservation of an oil portrait of William Fondey of Albany, by an unknown artist- work to be done by conservator paintings conservator Jonathan Sherman, Sherman Art Conservation.

Fulton County Historical Society, Gloversville (Fulton County)

$ 555 for conservation of a c. 1920 panoramic photograph of downtown Gloversville and its frame- treatment to be done by paper conservator Ellen Riggs Tillapaugh.

Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College Foundation, Flushing (Queens County)

$ 4430 for treatment of the 18th c. Peruvian Cuzco School oil on panel painted Madonna and Child, work to be done by paintings conservator Alexander Katlan, Alexander Katlan Conservator, Inc.

Greater Patchogue Historical Society, Patchogue (Suffolk County)

$ 7500 for conservation of a 28Ft painted mural, Scene Along the Patchogue River by Robert Zoeller- work to be done by paintings conservator Jonathan Sherman, Sherman Art Conservation.

Harness Racing Museum & Hall o
f Fame, Goshen (Orange County)

$ 2440 for treatment of Richard McMahon’s silk Driving Jacket- work to be done by textile conservator Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation, LLC.

Historic Cherry Hill, Albany (Albany County)

$ 4856 for conservation of two winter landscape paintings by Walter Launt Palmer: Vorheesville Creek and Cedars- work to be done by paintings conservator Matthew Cushman, Willamstown Art Conservation Center.

Judd Foundation, New York (New York County)

$ 7500 for conservation of the 1967 painting Big Gur by Frank Stella- work to be done by paintings conservator Luca Bonetti, Luca Bonetti, Corp.

King Manor Association of L.I., Inc., Jamaica (Queens County)

$ 4074 for conservation treatment of the 19th c. oil portrait of Eliza Grace King Halsey, her cerise Kashmir shawl and her ribbon fragment of a sash worn by General Lafayette on his last visit to America- work to be done by paintings conservator Alexander Katlan, Alexander Katlan Conservator, Inc., and textile conservator Mary Kaldany, Textile Conservation Workshop.

Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages, Stony Brook (Suffolk County).

$ 3055 towards the structural conservation treatment of 6 carriages and coaches- work to be done by objects conservator Valerie Reich Hunt.

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester (Monroe County)

$ 7500 for the conservation of two ancient Greek Kylixes, an African Senufo helmet mask and a Native American Puget Sound Clam Basket- treatments to be done by objects conservator Barbara Moore.

Museum of Jewish Heritage-a Living Memorial to the Holocaust, New York (New York County)

$ 6475 for conservation of a 1935 newprint sign “Avoid Jewish Businesses!” – treatment to be done by paper conservator Caroline Rieger, Rieger Art Conservation..

Neversink Valley Area Museum, Cuddebackville (Orange County).

$ 2296 for conservation of the Caudebec Inn Hotel Register, 1908-1913- treatment to be done by paper conservator Michele Phillips, The Paper Lab, LLC.

New-York Historical Society, New York (New York County)

$ 6600 for conservation of the c. 1858 oil painting Morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Va, by William Sonntag and its original frame- treatment to be done by paintings conservator Kenneth S. Moser, and Eduardo Larrea, Larrea Studio, Inc.

Niagara County Historical Society, Lockport (Niagara County).

$ 2400 for treatment of the 1822 engraved Van Rensselaer Geological Profile Extending from the Atlantic to Lake Erie, highlighting the Erie Canal- work to be done by paper conservator Tracy Dulniak, Great Lakes conservation of NY, LLC.

Onondaga Historical Association Museum & Research Center, Syracuse (Onondaga County).

$ 3951 for conservation treatment of the original Roccoco Revival frame for the painted Portrait of Moses Dewitt Burnet (c.1841), attributed to Charles Loring Elliott- work to be done by painting and frame conservator John Sutton, West Lake Conservators, Ltd.

Seneca Falls Historical Society, Seneca Falls (Seneca County)

$ 4207 for conservation of the 1827 oil portrait of Wilhelmus Mynderse painted by Thomas Wentworth- treatment to be done by paintings conservator Susan Blakney, West Lake Conservators, Ltd. Frame conservation to be done by Gregory Johnson, Heirloom Picture Framing.

Smithtown Historical Society, Smithtown (Suffolk County)

$ 3537 for the conservation of the plaster maquette of the Smithtown Bull Statue of Whisper, created by sculptor Charles Carey Rumsey- treatment to be done by objects conservator I. Joseph Chiarello

Southold Historical Society, Southold (Suffolk County).

$ 3775 for conservation of two period carved frames for works by Edward Bell and Irving R. Wiles- work to be done by Rhonda Feinman, Custom Frames, Inc..

Southworth Library Association, Dryden (Tompkins County)

$ 2905 for treatment of the 1804 oil portrait of Jeremiah Dwhight by AJ Purdy, and its frame- work to be done by conservators Susan Blakney and John Sutton, West Lake Conservators, Ltd.

Wilderstein Preservation, Rhinebeck (Dutchess County).

$ 5380 for conservation of the portrait of Mrs. Robert Sands and its frame- treatment to be done by conservators Thomas Branchick and Hugh Glover of Williamstown Art Conservation Center.

Greater Hudson Heritage Network Award Nominations

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Awards Towards Excellence program seeks to recognize and commend exceptional efforts among GHHN members. Awards are made to projects that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture and diversity of the region. Awards will be presented at Greater Hudson’s Annual Meeting, October 2, 2009. Nominations must be made by July 28, 2009.

Any GHHN member organization or individual can be nominated for projects completed by September 30th of the current year. Projects not yet completed must have reached a point sufficient to permit judgment of merit. Self-nominations are encourged.

Awards may be made to organizations or individuals in any or all of the following areas of achievement:

* public programs (including education, exhibition, interpretation),
* publications
* historic preservation
* community documentation and collaboration
* new technology (e.g. website development, blogs, audio tours)
* Board Vision
* advancement of regional history

Nominations reflecting work in 20th century documentation, or re-interpretation of collections are strongly encouraged- nominations of collaborative or regionally-focused projects are especially welcome.

Nominations will be judged on the evidence of quality, creative use of resources, and long-term significance, by a peer jury of professionals, representing the history, museum, archives and/or academic fields.

Late entries will not be eligible for consideration. Details can be found at Contact 914.592-6726 or e-mail either [email protected] or [email protected] with questions.

2009 Practicum for 21st Century Museum Professionals

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network has just announced the schedule for its 2009 Practicum for 21st Century House Museums, The Container. In its third and final year, the Practicum for 21st Century Museum Professionals in Historic House Museums looks to re-invigorate mission, initiate change, invited new audiences, encourage professional collaborations, and improve presentation and planning in historic house museums and sites so as to provide benefit to the public and sustain their value to local communities. This year, the Practicum will touch upon issues regarding the historic house as envelope, the site and its surrounding landscape.

For an outline of the Spring Schedule and to register check out their website,

April 6, 2009 Symposium: The Historic House Container, Envelope, Site and Landscape
Host Site: Locust Grove Estate (The Samuel F.B. Morse Historic Site)
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY (Dutchess County)

April 20, 2009 Workshop: Retooling the Historic House Envelope for Sustainability- Green Facilities Management
Host Site: Lyndhurst (NTHP)
Location: Tarrytown, NY (Westchester County)

May 4, 2009 Workshop: Master Planning for Site, Buildings and Public Audiences
Host Site: Pocantico Center (The Kykuit Carriage House)
Location: Sleepy Hollow, NY (Westchester County)

May 11, 2009 Workshop: History Preserved for the Urban Community
Host Site: Weeksville Heritage Center
Location: Brooklyn, NY (Kings County)

June 1, 2009 Workshop: Impact of the Landscape on the Historic House: Embracing Trails and Gardens in Interpretation of the Cultural Landscape
Host Site: Olana State Historic Site and The Olana Partnership
Location: Hudson, NY (Columbia County)