November 4, 2019

November is New York State History Month

Office of State History

The New York State Museum, State Library, and State Archives will celebrate New York State History Month in November with a variety of free public programs for children, families and adults.

"As we celebrate New York State History Month, we thank historians and educators help us understand our past," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “I urge both adults and children to visit the extraordinary cultural institutions, museums, libraries, archives and historic sites across New York not only during New York State History Month, but every day.”

“The State Museum, State Library and State Archives tell the story of New York’s history every day through artifacts, documents and photographs,” said Interim State Education Commissioner Beth Berlin. “During New York State History Month we highlight the importance of learning about our history and highlight the local historians and cultural institutions across the state who keep New York’s history alive.”

“I continue to be amazed at the vastness of New York’s history,” said New York State Historian Devin Lander. “History Month provides an opportunity to highlight this history and the vital work of historians across New York State.”

The following is a schedule of free programs in November related to New York State history at the Cultural Education Center, located at 222 Madison Avenue, Albany:

Brain Food for the Curious: Creative Women’s Collective Collection
Tuesday, November 5 | 12:10 – 12:40 pm

Craftivism—using artistic skills and forms to spread an activist message—has had a resurgence in recent years, especially around feminist issues. Craftivism, in part, has roots in the artistic collectives of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, which produced posters, t-shirts, and other materials to support various causes. This talk by Senior Historian and Curator of Social History Ashley Hopkins-Benton will focus on a collection of material produced by the Creative Women’s Collective in New York City in the 1980s and its ties to modern women’s movement materials.

Genealogy Online with Ancestry Library
Thursday, November 7 | 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Learn how to access Census records, genealogy and history book, maps and other resources included in this database, as well as, the resources on Ancestry NYS page which are freely available to all New Yorkers. Seating is limited and registration is required.

Walking Tour of the Local History and Genealogy Resources at the New York State Library
Saturday, November 9 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join us for a tour highlighting published genealogies, local histories, church records, Daughters of the American Revolution records, United States and New York State Census records, newspapers on microfilm, city directories and more. The tour is limited to 15 individuals and registration is required.

Lunch Bite Gallery Tour: The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection
Wednesday, November 13 | 12:00 – 12:30 pm  

Come discover Woodstock’s importance as an art colony long before the famous music festival in 1969. The remarkable range of work produced there has been the focus of collector Arthur Anderson for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive collection of its type—some 1,500 objects by 170 artists—all of which he recently donated to the New York State Museum.

Bringing It Back Home – New York State Archives Magazine Speaker Series
Wednesday, November 13 | 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Get a sneak peek inside New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s forthcoming research guide to the New York State Archives. Written by Jane E. Wilcox, this publication is geared towards genealogists and family historians who want to explore the vast collections of the New York State Archives. Jane will share some of her favorite discoveries in the stacks, anecdotes that will leave you chuckling, and challenges encountered along the way. Registration encouraged(link is external).

Lunchtime Book Talk: Erie Canal Boats, Stagecoaches, and Wagons: Traveling and Living in New York State in 1826
Thursday, November 14 | 12:10 – 12:40 pm

Bring your lunch and enjoy a short, informative, entertaining talk by Paul Schneider, author of Everything Worthy of Observation: The 1826 New York State Travel Journal of Alexander Stewart Scott. On September 25, 1826, a young Canadian traveler by the name of Alexander Stewart Scott arrived in Albany, New York. Keeping a daily travel journal, he jotted down the incidents of his extended trip across the state. Paul Schneider, who transcribed and edited Scott’s unique journal, will discuss the world this young traveler encountered and some of the remarkable historical coincidences linking this story to the present.

Happy Birthday to the Bronx Zoo
Saturday, November 16 | 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This year the Bronx Zoo is turning 120 years old. Visitors will learn more about the zoo’s history and create birthday cards. The cards will be sent to and archived in the collection of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that founded and opened the zoo in 1899.

Woodstock at 50: The Festival, the Film, the Legacy
Sunday, November 17 | 1:00 – 4:30 pm

The New York State Museum will screen the critically acclaimed 1970 documentary, Woodstock, about the legendary three-day 1969 music festival in Bethel, New York.

Brain Food for the Curious: Champions in a Changing World: New York Mets, Jets, and Knicks in 1969
Tuesday, November 19 | 12:10 – 12:40 pm

Fifty years ago, Tom Seaver, Joe Namath, and Willis Reed delivered one of the most iconic years in New York sports history. The 1969 New York Mets, Jets, and Knicks triumphed on the field and court, winning championships in a fast-changing world. Join New York State Museum Sports History Curator Stephen Loughman as he explores this significant year in New York sports history.

Researching New York Conference Public Event: Edward Berenson presents his book, The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town
Thursday, November 21 | 7:30 pm

Scholar Edward Berenson presents his new book, The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town (2019), a chilling investigation of an incident of antisemitism in the upstate town of Massena, New York in 1928. This program is a featured public event of the University at Albany History Department’s annual Researching New York Conference.

The First Grand Slam
Saturday, November 23 | 1:00 pm

The first grand slam in Major League Baseball history was hit on September 10, 1881, in a game between two long-defunct teams: Troy and Worcester. So how did the home game that was supposed to be in Troy end up being mislabeled as Albany and actually end up in what's now the city of Rensselaer?  Speaker Matt Malette will discuss how he proved that the first grand slam in Major League Baseball history was hit in Rensselaer, NY.  

Happy Birthday Sesame Street
Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30 | 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Join the New York State Museum and WMHT to celebrate the colorful characters, entertaining videos, and magical music of Sesame Street. Visit the Sesame Street exhibit to see the famous set, create your own character mask, and more.

In addition, the State Museum’s Office of State History website offers an online portal of information about historical research, news, grant opportunities and events happening around New York State. The website is an online resource for historians throughout the state to learn about the work of fellow historians and identify opportunities for increased coordination and collaboration. The website offers a New York State History Month promotion kit to encourage cultural institutions and historians statewide to plan and promote public programs in their community. Cultural institutions are encouraged to submit their History Month events and programs for listing on the Office of State History website. The Office of State History also produces a podcast, “A New York Minute in History,” in collaboration with WAMC/Northeast Public Radio and Don Wildman of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel.

The first issue of New York History journal was published in September 2019 under a new collaboration between the New York State Museum and Cornell University Press. Published twice a year, the scholarly journal presents articles regarding New York State history as well as reviews of books, exhibitions, and media projects with a New York focus. Co-editors of the journal include New York State Museum Chief Curator of History Dr. Jennifer Lemak, New York State Historian Devin Lander, New York State Museum Senior Historian Aaron Noble, and Senior Lecturer in the History Department at University of Maryland Dr. Robert Chiles. The Editorial Board actively solicits articles, essays, reports from the field and case studies to be featured in the journal. Submission guidelines are available on the State Museum website.

The New York State Archives preserves and makes accessible over 250 million records of New York’s State and colonial governments dating from 1630 to the present. The State Archives provides free access to photographs, artifacts, documents, manuscripts and other materials that tell the story of New York’s history via its Digital Collections on the Archives website.

The New York State Library’s collections include over 20 million items that support State government work and the research needs of the public. The State Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections unit consists of rare books, maps, photographs, posters and manuscripts that document the history of New York from the 17th century to the present. The Library’s Local History and Genealogy Section contains printed materials and records on individual families and is used by researchers, genealogists and historians.

In 1997, the New York State Legislature established November as New York State History Month with the goal “to celebrate the history of New York state and recognize the contributions of state and local historians.” New York State History Month represents the opportunity for historians, museums and cultural institutions to highlight importance of New York State’s history through public programs, exhibitions and other learning opportunities.

The State Museum, State Library and State Archives are programs of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Office of Cultural Education website.