Strengthening NYs Historical Enterprise

Anyone who follows this website, New York History: Historical News and Views From The Empire State, knows the close to astonishing amount of historical activity going on in our state. New York’s history, I believe, has more variety, interest, and potential for us to draw insights today, than the history of any other state. We have hundreds of historical programs and officially designated local historians. But we also know that the state of the historical enterprise is not as strong as it ought to be. Read more

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

Farmers Museum Event to Help Fund Local Schools

The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown will host an evening of music, food, and activities that is sure to keep your feet stomping and your heart pumping – all while supporting local school children. The event, “Heat Up The Night,” will take place on Saturday, February 27th from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the museum’s Louis C. Jones Center. The benefit will raise funds needed to provide museum programming for area schools.

The highlight of the evening will be live music by local favorites “The Gypsy Pioneers” and the band “Cheese of the Misty Ceremony.” The event will also include other diversions such as fire juggling, an abundance of food and drink, a raffle by Ommegang Brewery, and interesting activities for the kids.

Adult tickets are $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door. Tickets for kids ages 13-18 are $5.00 and kids 12 and under are free. Facebook fans and museum members will receive an extra $1.00 off the regular ticket price. For more information or to order tickets by phone, please call Karen Wyckoff at (607) 547-1410.

Since 2008, NYSHA has seen a sharp increase in requests from local schools for assistance with field trip funding. Responding to this need, NYSHA has written grants and allocated resources that have allowed 29 schools and community groups to visit the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum during the 2008-2009 school year. Both museums see an annual visitation of approximately 10,000 students, and of that number over 1,100 students were able to visit utilizing these funds.

Since support is still needed, NYSHA is currently developing a fund that will be available to all New York State Schools for museum programming. The monies will go primarily to transportation costs, but all types of needs will be considered. Funds will be made available immediately after the event and interested schools should contact Karen Wyckoff at (607) 547-1410 for details.

Schools and community groups that received support from NYSHA in 2008-2009 include Cooperstown Schools, Benton Hall Academy, Sydney Central Schools, Hancock Central Schools, Roxbury Central Schools, Franklin Central Schools, Stamford Central Schools, South Kortright Central Schools, Sydney Center Central Schools,Townsend Central Schools, Jefferson, Downsville, Delaware Big Buddy Programs, and Otsego Head Start Schools.