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This summer, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Summer Seminars will offer The Lost World of Early America, a two-week NEH Summer Institute led by historian John Demos at Yale University. Teachers invited to participate will travel back to the Colonial Era in order to explore the lives of early Americans—and, in turn, gain a richer understanding of the changes that resulted from both the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in the American experience.
All K-12 history, social studies, and English teachers, including those who attended a Gilder Lehrman Summer Seminar in 2009, are now eligible to apply to this NEH Summer Institute.
John Demos is the Samuel Knight Professor of History at Yale University, where he has specialized in teaching early American history since 1986. His most recent work, The The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World (Viking, 2008), culminates a half-century of intense study of witch-hunting incidents in Europe and America.
This is a unique opportunity for Summer Seminar alumni who typically have to alternate years for their application.
Selected participants will receive fellowships to offset travel costs to the Institute, July 18-31, 2010—and be eligible to apply to and attend the full-range of Gilder Lehrman Summer Seminars in 2010 and the future.
Application deadline: March 2, 2010; seminar space is limited.
For further details about this NEH Summer Institute visit:
www.gilderlehrman.org/education/seminar_NEH.php, email email@example.com or call 646-366-9666.
The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown is seeking submissions for its 2010 quilt contest entitled A New York State of Mind. The entries will be exhibited October 16 and 17, 2010 and will be judged by a team of museum professionals and textile experts.
Quilters are welcome to submit an original quilt project that fits one of the three contest categories: New York Beauty Quilts – quilts based on traditional motifs, styles and construction methods from the 18th- through 20th-centuries; Hometown New York Quilts – quilts that celebrate the hometown of the crafter in original designs; and Carousel Quilts – quilts drawing on the color and creativity of the carousel tradition.
Category winners will be exhibited in Cooperstown at the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum as a precursor to a major quilt exhibition that will run from April through December of 2011. Additional prizes will be awarded for audience favorite, judge’s choice, and others.
The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum have long been associated with collecting and interpreting decorative and utilitarian textiles – including a large collection of quilts that date back to the 18th century. The Museums’ quilt collection has now grown to several hundred. Contest winners will have their quilts displayed alongside many of these rare works during the 2011 exhibition.
For additional information, a complete list of contest rules, or an entry form, please contact Kajsa Sabatke at The Farmers’ Museum, Box 30, Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326, (607) 547-1453, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be downloaded from the Museum’s website at www.FarmersMuseum.org. All entries must be postmarked by August 2, 2010. Entry fee: $20.
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.
Plattsburgh’s first interpretive panel celebrating the Anti-Slavery movement will be dedicated at 5 pm on February 16, 2010. The unveiling will take place in front of the main entrance to the First Presbyterian Church at 34 Brinkerhoff Street. Interim pastor Virginia Murray and North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association president, Don Papson, will be joined by members of the church and the association.
The distinctive panel is one of a series of state funded markers on New York’s Underground Railroad Heritage Trail. The North Country has three others-at the John Brown Farm in North Elba, the Essex County Courthouse, and the First Congregational Church in Malone.
Plattsburgh’s First Presbyterian Church played a pivotal role in the early stages of the area’s anti slavery movement. It was a moment of change in the fall of 1837 when the Clinton County Anti-Slavery Society convened for its first annual meeting in the original edifice constructed on the site. Among First Presbyterian’s founding members were some of Clinton County’s wealthiest and most influential citizens. Several owned slaves before New York abolished slavery in 1827.
Agitating for the nation to end slavery was a divisive issue by 1837. In the spring of that year, First Presbyterian Trustee, General Benjamin Mooers, circulated a petition against the immediate abolitionists meeting anywhere in Plattsburgh; their activities would destroy the nation. The abolitionists were denied use of widow Sperry’s Meeting Hall on Broad Street, the Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church. When several wagon loads of non violent Quakers and Methodists arrived from the village of Peru and attempted to convene in the County Court House, a name calling, egg throwing mob stopped them. General Mooers’ son-in-law, attorney John B.L. Skinner Esq., entreated the angry, unruly protesters to desist. The delegates were then allowed to quietly adjourn to Beekmantown’s Old Stone Methodist Church where they were warmly welcomed. Champlain Presbyterian Noadiah Moore presided at their historic convention.
By August of 1837, antagonism against the abolitionists had subsided to a degree in Plattsburgh, and they were allowed to hold their first annual meeting in the First Presbyterian Church. Nonetheless, they were subjected to annoyances-the doorway to the building had been tarred in the night, two boys sang out “Jim Crow!” beneath the windows, and retired judge Caleb Nichols told them slavery should be perpetual.
Then, on April 25, 1838-precisely one year to the day the riotous mob of men had barred the abolitionists from meeting in the County Court House-John Townsend Addoms, the son of former slave owner, Major John Addoms-“respectively” invited the “Citizens of Plattsbugh” to gather in the Court House and organize a “Town Anti-Slavery Society.”
John Townsend Addoms and the principal organizers of the Clinton County-Anti-Slavery Society, Noadiah Moore and Samuel Keese, would become leading Underground agents, secreting an untold number of fugitives from slavery and aiding them on their arduous journey to freedom in Canada.
Following the unveiling of the interpretive panel, members of the Board and Steering Committee of he North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association will convene in the church for their regular monthly meeting. First Presbyterian has graciously hosted the association for the last five years and will do so until the grand opening later this year of the Town of Chesterfield Heritage Center and North Star Underground Railroad Museum at Ausable Chasm. The public is invited to the unveiling of the interpretive panel and the meeting.
First there were nineteen. Then there were five. Now there are two. John Adamski, president of the Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum, said today that the Site Selection Committee has referred two sites to the board for further assessment. They are the Geneva/Seneca Lake State Park site along the lakefront in Geneva and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport in Yates County. Both sites offer lake frontage. [Read more…] about Finger Lakes Museum Site Selection Narrowed to Two
“It’s a prime example of American folk art, probably one of the best collections of decorated stoneware in the country,” is how John Scherer, Historian Emeritus of the New York State Museum characterized the Weitsman Stoneware Collection. The over 200-piece collection was donated to the museum by Adam J. Weitsman, one of the leading collectors of 18th and 19th Century stoneware.
Forty unique vessels from the collection titled Art for the People: Decorated Stoneware from the Weitsman Collection are currently on exhibit at the Albany museum’s New York Metropolis Gallery. The show was recently extended due to popular demand through the summer of 2010. “We are delighted with this collection. It attracts a lot of visitors to the museum. They are very, very impressed and almost overwhelmed by the quality of the collection,” said Scherer.
The exhibition features decorated stoneware vessels, including jugs, crocks, pitchers, jars and water coolers. The designs are considered premier examples of American folk art. Most were created in New York State and many are “presentation pieces,” oversized and often richly decorated with cobalt blue designs and folk art illustrations. Decoration tools, early pottery related graphics and photography complement the exhibit.
After the exhibition, it will become a permanent part of the New York State Museum. The collection is also the subject of a color, coffee-table format book being published by the museum that will be released this spring. The book is being funded by the generosity of Mr. Weitsman.
“We had a few important pieces of stoneware, but nowhere near the quality that Adam donated. The Weitsman Collection is supreme,” said Scherer.
Adam Weitsman collected his first piece of stoneware in 1980 at age 11 and the experience sparked his passion for the genre. Since then he acquired rare pieces at antique shows, estate sales and auctions. One example was a water cooler decorated with a portrait of a Civil War general and his wife. He purchased it at auction for $88,000 which set a record price for American stoneware at the time.
In 1996, Weitsman donated 100 pieces to the museum to ensure his collection would be preserved. From those and pieces acquired subsequently, 40 were carefully selected for the current exhibition. Most have never been publicly displayed.
Stoneware was vitally important to the development of New York State and its central role in western expansion of the country via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal and its network of feeder canals, and through the Great Lakes to the western river systems. Stoneware was in high demand for storage and preservation for things like drinking water, milk, butter, eggs, beer, ale, whisky, pickles and salted meat. Clay deposits ideal for making stoneware were found in what is now South Amboy, New Jersey, lower Manhattan and eastern Long Island. As a result, New York State became a large stoneware producer.
Potters sprang up along the Hudson River and throughout the New York State canal system making vessels of various shapes and sizes. During kiln firing, salt was applied to vessels that combined with clay silica to create a smooth, lustrous finish. Chocolate brown Albany Slip, named for where the clay was mined, was used to coat the insides of vessels. To identify or decorate the vessel, a painter applied a metallic oxide clay slip that turned a rich blue when fired. Sometimes manganese that turned purplish-brown was used. Simple identification included the makers’ mark and the vessel’s capacity. Elaborate designs and highly creative illustrations such as those found in the Weitsman Collection represent the sublime expression of this folk art period.
Historically significant of examples of stoneware from the Weitsman Collection include:
A Jar made by Paul Cushman of Albany in 1809–Weitsman acquired it from the personal collection of PBS’ Antique Road Show host Leigh Keno.
A Jug created by William Lundy & Co. of Troy, New York in the 1820s that depicts cobalt blue caricature of a merman, a male version of mermaid.
Crocks displaying a prancing zebra and a camel were inspired by the traveling circuses of the era.
A Jug displaying a fisherman with a pole on a lake signed Nathan Clark, Lyons, NY.
A Crock decorated with a Dutch or German-style church with a gambrel roof and round tower and a weather cock, signed W. A. Maquoid, Little West 12th Street, New York City.
A two-gallon crock made by Charles W. Braun of Buffalo around 1870 is decorated with what appears to be a caricature of Buffalo Bill.
A humorous long-necked gooney bird on a six-gallon water cooler made by M. Woodruff of Cortland, New York around 1860. It was acquired from the collection of Donald Shelley, former director of the Henry Ford Museum.
A highly decorated five-gallon water cooler came from the famous George S. McKearin Collection. It was created by Julius and Edward Norton of Bennington, Vermont and shows three types of decoration commonly associated with potters at Bennington, Troy and Fort Edward, New York.
One of the rarest is a six-gallon crock made by Nathan Clark & Co. of Rochester, New York in about 1845. Decorated with the mythical phoenix firebird, it was rendered in such detail that it has a three-dimensional quality.
“I emphasized to Adam how important his collection was and how important it is to New York State. He not only donated it, but also acquires new pieces every year to add to it which is wonderful for us,” Scherer concluded.
While not engaged in collecting stoneware and fine art, Mr. Weitsman is busy with his other passion as President of Upstate Shredding LLC. With numerous locations, Upstate is the largest privately owned metal processing and recycling operation on the East Coast.
Photo: Two-Gallon Jug, (c. 1815) by Israel Seymour (1784-1852) of Troy, New York. The finely incised figure of an American Indian decorates this early ovoid jug. He carries a sword in one hand and a banner with the letter T (for temperance) in the other. Some intricately decorated stoneware pieces commemorate special events and historical figures. The Indian is believed to be Handsome Lake (c. 1734-1815), the Seneca religious prophet who in 1799 began to tell his people to refrain from drinking and doing evil.
Tokens of Love; from lockets and hair jewelry to ornate cards people have always found ways to express their love for one another. View some of the unique expressions of love from the collection of RCHS and enjoy a three course lunch at Daisy Baker’s Restaurant.
Love in the Marble House; join us for a romantic candlelight tour of the Hart-Cluett House and learn about the stories behind the numerous weddings held here over the years. Guided tours will include the second floor rooms. All Valentines programs include a sweet treat from Uncle Sam’s Chocolates.
RCHS Valentine’s Day Program details:
Tokens of Love, Lunch & Learn. Thursday, February 11. Program 11am-12pm at RCHS, Lunch 12-1pm at Daisy Bakers.
View some of the unique expressions of love from the RCHS collection then enjoy a three course lunch at Daisy Baker’s Restaurant just a block down the street. RCHS Members $27/person; not-yet-members $30/person, includes program and lunch. Registration required by Feb. 9th.
Candlelight House Tour – Love in the Marble House. Friday, February 12, 6-8pm.
Join us for a romantic candlelight tour of the Hart-Cluett House. See the house in a different light and learn about the stories behind the numerous weddings held here over the years. Staff-led tours will include the second floor rooms. Special Valentine’s Day treat included. $15/person, $25/couple. Registration required by February 11th.
Second Saturday House Tour: Love in the Marble House. Saturday, February 13, 2-3pm. See the house in a different light and learn about the stories behind the numerous weddings held here over the years. Staff-led tours will include the second floor rooms. Special Valentine’s Day treat included. $10/person, $15/couple. Registration required by February 11th.
Pre-registration for RCHS programs is easy, Click on our website, www.rchsonline.org; call 518-272-78232 ext 12; or come in to RCHS at 57 Second Street, Troy, Thursday-Saturday 12-5pm.
The Early American Industries Association (EAIA) has announced a $6,000 Research Grants Program to provide grants to individuals or institutions engaged in research projects that relate to historic trades, crafts, and tools and their impact on our lives. The numbers and amount of each grant is to be given at the discretion of a committee, with no one grant to exceed $2,000.
The 2009 grant supported a project on 18th and 19th century coopering in Virginia and New England. Previous grants have supported a wide variety of projects, and normally three or more grants are made each year. A complete list may be found on the EAIA web site.
The Early American Industries Association, established in 1933, preserves and presents historic trades, crafts and tools and interprets their impact on our lives. The Association comprises collectors, curators, historians, antiquarians, librarians, material culturists, and anyone who shares our interests.
The Application deadline for 2010 is March 15. For further information on the EAIA and the Research Grants Program, and to print the four-page application visit their web site, www.EAIAinfo.org or contact Ms. Justine Clerc, Lorleton Assisted Living, 22 West 14th Street, Apt. 129, Wilmington, DE 19805 (302) 652-7297.
Send all inquiries to Research Grants Program c/o Ms. Justine Clerc.