The strength of our combined voices is our superpower. When we come together to speak out on an issue, we can be loud and we can be heard. Sometimes advocating for New York’s history, art, and cultural organizations is the most gratifying part of my job.
Other times, it is the most challenging work I do.
Sue Storm bends light to become invisible, Superman steels himself with his cape, and Wonder Woman’s bracelets deflect projectiles. On days when I feel like there are huge obstacles separating our state’s history, art, and cultural organizations from those who can help, I close my eyes, and in my imagination, I put on the Trojan Greens Officer’s coat (1809-1815) pictured here, tuck all of you in my pockets, take a deep breath, and start again.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in the past year is raising awareness of the critical need for a Semiquincentennial Commission in New York. I am asking you to add your voice now before New York’s contributions to our nation’s history are left behind in the 2026 commemorations.
Some of us have gathered resources to move ahead without a NY250 commission. In MANY’s September newsletter, you can read about Fort Ticondergoa’s 250th Northern Department which will promote and market regional historic sites during the commemorative period from 2024-2027.
The Office of New York State History created a Field Guide that aligns with themes established by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in their Making History at 250: The Field Guide for the Semiquincentennial.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) is investing in the preservation of historic sites with the help of the National Park Service’s Semiquincentennial Grant Program.
In partnership with Humanities NY and the Smithsonian Institution, and the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Museum Association of New York (MANY) will launch Voices and Votes: A New Agora for New York in March of 2024.
But without a NY250 Commission, most of New York’s history will remain untold.
I know that advocacy work does not come easily to some people. But I am asking you to gather whatever you need — a coat, a cape, or bracelets — to find a few minutes and the place within you to speak up for New York’s history.
Please write to Governor Kathy Hochul and ask her to complete the appointments to seat the NY250 Commission.
New York needs to support our history, art, and cultural organizations to produce commemorative activities that can tell an inclusive story of our state’s essential role in the Revolutionary War and all of the struggles for civil rights and justice that followed.
Thanks in advance for sharing your superpower.
The New York Almanack is offering continuing coverage of America’s 250th celebration. You can follow all the news here.
Photo: Trojan Greens Officer’s Coatee from Troy, New York, 1809-1815 (Fort Ticonderoga).