Met Curator to Speak at Historic Huguenot Street

On Saturday, March 12th and Sunday, March 13th, the focus at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will be decorative arts. Peter M. Kenny, Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present “Rensselaerwyck Revisitus,” an insider’s glimpse of the acquisition and installation of a quintessential New York Dutch room in the context of the most comprehensive collection of American historic interiors in any art museum in the country.

The Met’s New York Dutch Room comes from an 18th century house built by Daniel Peter Winne (1720–1800) on the famed Van Rensselaer Manor outside of present-day Albany. The architecture of furnishing of this room shares much with the museum houses at Historic Huguenot Street. Kenny, who is currently working on a book about Duncan Phyfe, is the Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator and Administrator for American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kenny’s talk, which is part of the Second Saturdays series, will be offered on Saturday, March 12th at 7pm. There is an $15 charge ($12 for Friends of Huguenot Street).

On Sunday, March 13th, from 1 to 3pm, Sanford Levy, owner of Jenkinstown Antiques in New Paltz, will be joining Leslie LeFevre-Stratton, Curator of Collections at Historic Huguenot Street, for a special “Coverlets Roadshow” Evaluation. Do you have a coverlet tucked away in your home? Perhaps a family heirloom or a treasured antique store find? Ever wonder how old it is, how or where it was made and even what it is worth? Levy and LeFevre-Stratton are the folks to ask. Together, they will examine coverlets brought in by the public and share their expertise. All are invited. There is a $10 suggested donation. This event is offered in conjunction with Binary Visions: 19th-Century Woven Coverlets from the Collection of Historic Huguenot Street, which is on exhibit at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz through March 18th.

Both events will be held in the LeFevre House at 54 Huguenot Street in New Paltz. For more information about these events or about Historic Huguenot Street, visit or call (845) 255-1660.

Tracing Your Ancestors to the Dutch Settlers

Theodore P. Wright, Jr., Ph.D., Vice President of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany and a trustee of the New Netherland Institute, will discuss resources to aid in tracing your ancestors to the Dutch Settlers, specifically in an area under the jurisdiction of the Court of Rensselaerswijck prior to the year 1665 or in Esopus (Kingston, NY) prior to the year 1661. The program will be held in Librarians Room, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, 7th floor 310 Madison Avenue, Albany 12230 on Thursday, June 17th, 12:15 &#8211 1:15 PM Online registration is available.

The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany was founded in 1924, in connection with the celebration of the tercentenary of the settlement of the City, and was instituted to: perpetuate the memory and virtues of the individuals who resided here during the time it was a Dutch colony- and to collect and preserve records and information concerning the history and settlement of Albany and its vicinity, including genealogical records of the settlers and their descendants without regard to race, creed, or country of origin.

For more information about this program, contact Sheldon Wein or Mary Beth Bobish at [email protected], or call at 518-474-2274.

Presentation On The Poesten Kill Thursday

John Warren (yours truly) has written the first history of the Poestenkill ­which flows through the center of Rensselaer County and enters the Hudson River at Troy, will offer a book talk and signing this Thursday (October 22nd, 6:30 to­ 8 pm) at the Rensselaer County Historical Society in Troy (57 Second Street, Troy). The event is free and open to the public. Copies of The Poesten Kill will be available for purchase at the event. The Poestenkill has been home to American Indians who hunted, gathered, fished and farmed along its shores, frontier Dutch farmers and traders, colonial tradesmen, merchants, millers, and lumbermen, and nineteenth century iron, steel, textile, and paper workers.

Shirley Dunn To Speak On Mohicans And Dutch

Shirley W. Dunn, who has published two books about the Mohicans (The Mohicans and Their Land 1609-1730 and The Mohican World, 1680-1750) and has one in press, will speak on October 22nd at the Smithsonian Institution’s Heye Museum in Manhattan (a branch of the Museum of the American Indian) beginning at 6:00 pm. Her topic will be the Mohicans and the Dutch, and the she will deal with contributions of the Mohican Indians to Dutch settlement and to the Colony of Rensselaerswijck. The talk is free and open to the public.

Rensselaerswijck Seminar Scheduled For Oct 1-3

The Rensselaerswijck Seminar, this year themed “Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s Colonie: The Beginning of European Settlement of the Upper Hudson,” will be held in the New York State Museum’s Carole Huxley Theatre October 2nd and 3rd. Scholars and historians from this country and the Netherlands will present seminar topics over the two days, giving current information about the origins and history of Rensselaerwijck, a million acres that encompassed what is now Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia counties. Admission to the seminar is $75 for both days, $50 for one day, and $25 for students.

Noted author Russell Shorto will speak on “Oh, Henry: What Has the Hudson Year Wrought?” at the opening reception of the 32nd Annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar, Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the NYS Museum, Albany. Admission to Shorto’s talk is free.

The New Netherland Institute’s conference theme is a return to its roots as a platform for local historians to present their latest research on the only successful patroonship in New Netherland.

The members of the New Netherland Project staff will all take part. Charles T. Gehring, Ph.D., director of the project, Janny Venema, Ph.D., assistant director, and Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will present new information from their research specialty areas.

Shorto will also take part on a panel of authors Friday at 10:30 a.m., with other contributors to the institute’s recent publication, “Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland.” Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will be moderator.

More detailed information and registration forms are available at the New Netherland Institute website at

State Archaeologist Paul Huey on Crailo Historic Site

State Archaeologist Paul Huey from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will speak at at East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY, Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 pm. Huey will concentrate on Crailo in the 17th century, explaining what archaeological excavations and documents have revealed.

Important archaeological discoveries have been made at Crailo at various times recently. According to Huey, “In 1974 when the sewer line was installed under Riverside Avenue and in 2007 and 2008 when we excavated for a gas line from the street to the house. We have discovered that Indians lived on the site as early as the 1400s. Dutch pottery and other artifacts discovered in 1990 and in 2008 support the interpretation that this was the location of the home of Domine Megapolensis in 1642, which was a different, earlier structure from the present house.”

Call the State Library at 518-477-7476 to register for this free talk.

A Van Rensselaer Era Program at NYS Library

Friends of the New York State Library are presenting a program entitled &#8220The Van Rensselaer Era&#8221 that features Stefan Bielinski and Charles Gehring with senior librarian Fred Bassett. The program, which unfortunately costs $35 per person, will be held this Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 1:00 p.m at the Huxley Theatre of the Cultural Education Center (Madison Avenue between Eagle and Swan Streets in Albany).

Stefan Bielinski, founder and director of the Colonial Albany Social History Project (a model community history program at the New York State Museum), will describe and depict the individual members of the Van Rensselaer family, Albany’s &#8220First Family&#8221 within the city context for the period 1700-1860 (1:00-1:55 p.m.).

Dr. Charles Gehring, Director, New Netherland Institute and translator of New York Colonial Dutch documents, along with senior NYS Librarian Fred Bassett will display ten of the most significant of the original Dutch documents in the New York State Library’s Van Rensselaer Manor Papers collection dating from 1630 concerning Rensselaerswyck. These scholars will describe the historic importance and relevance to the people of Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties of the Van Rensselaer Manor and the Van Rensselaer family (2:00-3:00 p.m.).

To reserve seats send send $35 per person by Monday, April 20, 2009 to:

The Friends of the New York State Library
P.O. Box 2247
Empire State Plaza Station
Albany, NY 12220

Ticket will be held at the Huxley Theatre on April 23 after 12:15 p.m- Tickets at the door will be $40.

New Netherland Institutes Rensselaerswijck Seminar

The New Netherland Institute has announced its 31st Rensselaerswijck Seminar, &#8220Neighbors in the New World: New Netherland and New France,&#8221 a one-day conference to be held on Saturday, September 13, 2008, in the Kenneth B. Clark Auditorium of the Cultural Education Center at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

The theme is the relationship between the Dutch and French in 17th-century North America. Major attention will focus on interactions of these European powers and their respective Indian allies. The following speakers will explore various aspects of this relationship, including direct and indirect contacts between these two European trading powers both in Europe and in the New World:

James Bradley, ArchLink, Boston, MA
“In Between Worlds: New Netherland and New France at Mid Century”

Jose Antonio Brandao, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
“An Unreasonable Offer: Iroquois Policy towards their Huron and Mahican Neighbors”

Willem Frijhoff, Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
“Jesuits, Calvinists, and Natives: Attitudes, Agency, and Encounters in the Early Christian Missions in the North.”

Joyce Goodfriend, University of Denver, CO
Introduction and presentation of the Hendricks Manuscript Award

Conrad Heidenreich, York University, Ontario, Canada
“The Skirmish with the Mohawk on Lake Champlain: was Champlain a ‘trigger-happy thug’ or ‘just following orders?’”

The conference program and registration information can be found online [pdf].

The New Netherland Institute is the friends group of the New Netherland Project, which, according to their website:

Was established under the sponsorship of the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York. Its primary objective is to complete the transcription, translation, and publication of all Dutch documents in New York repositories relating to the seventeenth-century colony of New Netherland. This unique resource has already proven invaluable to scholars in a wide variety of disciplines. It also serves to enhance awareness of the major Dutch contributions to America over the centuries and the strong connections between the two nations. The Project is supported by the New York State Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New Netherland Institute.

The New Netherland Institute (formerly Friends of New Netherland) seeks to increase public awareness of the work of the New Netherland Project and supports the Project through fund raising. The Institute assists authors of scholarly and popular material- disseminates information to educators, researchers, historians, curators, genealogists, and anthropologists- develops collaborations with academic institutions and other organizations interested in early American history- provides learning opportunities, such as internships, as well as research and consulting services pertaining to New Netherland- and sponsors activities related to the work of the New Netherland Project.