As per §57.09 of the NYS Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, all appointed local government historians “shall make an annual report, in the month of January, to the local appointing officer or officers and to the state historian of the work which has been accomplished during the preceding year.”
In an attempt to make this process easier, the New York State Historian has created an online form. The data produces a useful statistical abstract which are now shared annually.
Submitting the form automatically generates an email to the State Historian and to the submitting municipal historian, include the submitted information.
Municipal historians can submit the required report, adn contribute to an understanding of part of the New York State history community HERE.
Christopher K. Philippo says
There’s room for improvement with the form, I think. It doesn’t appear to allow for attaching a document, for example, though that might be a desirable option.
The questions currently are fairly typical of ones used on forms in past decades (when forms were used, which was not always the case). However, something I’d noticed when volunteered for the former State Historian Robert Weible in organizing and roughly cataloguing the local government historian files was that the forms do not specifically ask about, nor did local government historians typically include mention of, the specific duties named in the law. That might be something to consider adding in some way, e.g.:
* promote the establishment and improvement of programs for the management and preservation of local government records with enduring value for historical or other research
* encourage the coordinated collection and preservation of nongovernmental historical records by libraries, historical societies, and other repositories
* carry out and actively encourage research in such records in order to add to the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the community’s history
* to collect and preserve material relating to the history of the political subdivision
* to file such material in fireproof safes or vaults in the county, city, town or village office
* examine into the condition, classification and safety from fire of the public records of the public offices of such county, city, town or village
* call to the attention of the local authorities and the state historian any material of local historic value which should be acquired for preservation
It might also be worth noting:
* how the guidance from the State Historian at “regular intervals, not less than once a year” was followed
* whether (in accordance with the law) local government appropriated, raised by tax or expended any moneys for historical purposes within their several jurisdictions, including historical edifices, the erection of historical markers and monuments, the collection of war mementos, and, either alone or in cooperation with patriotic or historical organizations, the preparation and publication of local histories and records and the printing and issuing of other historical materials in aid of the work of the local historian.
* whether the report given to local officials is solely in written form or if it is also given aloud in person
* how copies of the report are retained (by the local historian only, added to municipal minutes, filed by clerk?)
* whether the report is shared with people of the municipality via a print newsletter, on the municipal website or elsewhere online, or in a local newspaper.