I wanted to give an update on some things I am working on currently.
I am happy to see the excitement generated regarding the history community coming together for a meeting [ed. – more on this as it develops]. I think it certainly shows both the passion members of the community have for the important work they are doing and the need for a concise and attainable priority agenda.
As a result of these realities, I am in the process of putting together the New York State History Advisory Group to advise me and help craft an agenda for the coming year. This group will be made up of representatives from State agencies, municipal historians, the National Park Service, academia, Heritage Areas, historical societies and other prominent experts interested in New York State history. I have generated a list of potential members and will be reaching out to them as soon as possible, with the idea that we would hold our first meeting this fall.
The goal of the History Advisory Group is to meet twice a year (spring and fall) to provide the State Historian with information and advice to help him/her to conduct their work related to the coordination and promotion of the field of New York State History. The History Advisory Group will be made up of geographically and organizationally diverse historians as well as State and Federal agency representatives who are experts in history and/or the promotion of history.
I have also been working with the State Museum’s IT team on designing a new website called New York History Crossroads that will be hosted on the Museum’s main website and will provide a public forum for historians and lovers of history. The website will include the State Historian’s blog, a historical events calendar, links to grant opportunities and other resources for historians, history relevant news, Today in New York History vignettes, highlights from historical collections, and a Historian’s Corner that highlights the work of a different municipal, academic, or museum historian. The website can also be potentially expanded to include a bibliography of academic work published each year on New York State history. The website will link to as many other pertinent websites as possible, including academic departments, State and Federal agencies, museums, historical societies, and municipal historian’s websites.
As I start my second month on the job, I will be continuing to work on these projects and will be announcing them as soon as possible. Once our website goes live, we will be conducting outreach for content and will make an announcement to the field. And, once the History Advisory Group has been created and people have agreed to serve, I will make an announcement to the field that will include the meeting date and the draft agenda.