New York State Museum leadership is under fire again. This time from Albany Times Union columnist Chris Churchill. He points out that it’s been eight years since a $14 million overhaul of the museums exhibits was announced. [Read more…] about The Decline of the New York State Museum
Office of Cultural Education
In 1844 New York State published a volume on birds in Natural History of New York. Written by James E. DeKay with hand-colored lithographs by John William Hill, it was the State’s first attempt at a comprehensive scientific cataloging of New York’s birds. At the time about 301 species of birds were known to be present in the state.
Sixty years later another effort was made to bring together the State’s bird knowledge. The first of the two-volume of Birds of New York – Water Birds and Game Birds – was published to much acclaim. The book was a collaboration between wildlife artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes and author Elon Howard Eaton. Birds of New York listed an additional 100 species – several of which were then “well known,” but unknown in the 1840s. The book would serve as a model for those that followed. [Read more…] about Birds of New York: Scientific Cataloging In Historical Context
The Office of Cultural Education (OCE), made up of the New York State Archives, Library and Museum, has been working to support New York State’s cultural community throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. [Read more…] about NYS Pandemic Documentation Initiative Underway
On August 25th, 2017 from 9 am to 5 pm the County and Borough Historians’ Institute will be held at the New York State Museum Huxley Theater, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany.
The County and Borough Historian’s Institute is a free learning opportunity for County and Borough Historians hosted by the Office of Cultural Education and facilitated by the New York State Historian, the Association of Public Historians of New York State and the Government Appointed Historians of Western New York. [Read more…] about County and Borough Historians’ Institute Announced
In his new role, Schaming will oversee the Office of Cultural Education, which includes the State Museum, New York State Archives and New York State Library. [Read more…] about State Museum’s Mark Schaming Named Deputy Education Commissioner
Is New York’s “historical enterprise” really entering a new phase, as Bruce Dearstyne contends in his recent post? There certainly seems to have been some change going on in the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Perhaps most notably, New York is now employing a full-time State Historian for the first time since 1976 (not 1994, as Bruce suggests).
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it would be naïve to allege that today’s State Historian position holds the same power and responsibility that it once did. [Read more…] about History In New York: Where Are We Headed?
In a previous post, I reviewed the position of the Commissioner of Education. Mary Ellen Elia had received an open letter from two prominent state historians about the state historian position. In this post, I’ll consider what happened next. [Read more…] about Feinman: We Need A NYS History Advisory Coalition
New York State now has a new historian. In some ways that should seem like a routine announcement since the State is required to fill that position. However as people in the history community well know, the State, like many counties, cities, towns, and villages does not always comply with regulatory requirements. There is no penalty to the State for the failure to comply either and only a trivial unenforced one at the municipal level.
Even when the State and the municipalities do comply with the letter of the law, they don’t necessarily comply with the spirit. The position is often disrespected and/or disregarded excluding some ceremonial occasions and is not taken seriously when the real decisions of government are involved. The diminishment of the State position sets a poor but accurate example to the county executives, mayors, and town supervisors that local and state history really aren’t important regardless of any lip service at the press release level. How often is the voice of the history community actually heard in the REDC funding process (which is now beginning again for the 2016 cycle). How much funding is there for collaboration in the Path through History project regardless of how often the jargon is spoken? Message received. [Read more…] about New York State Historian: The Weible Years
At present the position of the New York State Historians lies deep within the bowels of the state bureaucracy, starved for resources, and scarcely able to see the light of day through all the bureaucratic levels above it.
Formerly, the State Historian reported to the Director of the New York State Museum, who reports to the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Culture and Education, who reports to the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Education, who reports to Commissioner of Education, who answers to the Board of Regents.
But what does that mean? [Read more…] about The Commissioner of Education and the NYS Historian
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today announced the appointment of Devin Lander as New York’s State Historian. Lander, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Museum Association of New York (MANY), is expected to join the Education Department on May 19, 2016.
The State Education Department, the Department’s Office of Cultural Education, and the State Museum have been under fire for their handling of the State Historian’s position in recent years, including their downgrading the job to a lesser-paid position reporting to the Chief Curator of the State Museum. Among those critical of the decision to reduce the role of State Historian have been former State Historian Robert Weible and members of the Commission on Local and Public History, convened ten years ago by Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Carole Huxley to advise the Department of Education on the appointment of a State Historian. [Read more…] about Devin Lander Appointed New York State Historian