The Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) is
pleased to announce the following schedule of county history
conferences as part of the effort to promote a sense of place, a sense
of community, a sense of belonging in one’s community. These programs
will be offered for professional development credit to teachers, have
been approved for CLG training for historic preservationists, and
provide an opportunity to bring together municipal historians,
historical societies, historic organizations, scholars, teachers, and
friends of history in a single meeting at the county level.
The counties participating in this program at present are:
Date: May 7
Location: Dutchess Community College
Local Contacts: Andrew Rieser, Department Head, History, Government &
Economics, Dutchess Community College
Nancy Cozean, former Poughkeepsie Mayor
George Lukacs, City of Poughkeepsie Historian
Drew Nicholson, Village of Pawling Historian
Date: April 30
Location: Catskill High School
Local Contacts: Kate Ferrell, Catskill CSD Superintendent
Hudson Talbott, author, The Thomas Cole House
Dave Dorpfeld, Greene County Historian
Jim Planck, Greene County Historical Society
Date: April 16
Location: Albert Wisner Public Library, Warwick
Local Contacts: Ted Sly, Orange County Historian
Sue Gardener, Town of Warwick Deputy Historian,
Local History, Librarian, Albert Wisner Public Library
Date: March 19
Location: VFW Memorial Hall, Carmel
Local Contacts: Karl Rohde, Putnam County Historian
Sallie Sypher, Deputy Putnam County Historian
Date: September 10
Local Contacts: Marianne Leese, President, The Historical Society of
Claire Sheridan, Vice President, The Historical Society
of Rockland County
Eileen Miller, Rockland County Historic Preservation
Date: May 14
Location: Ulster Community College
Local Contact: Anne Gordon, Ulster County Historian
Historic organizations wishing to participate in the conferences can
do so in three ways:
1. Display tables – contact me if you wish to have a display table
especially since the number permissible at each location may vary.
There is no charge.
2. Presentations – we are particularly looking for examples of
collaborations with schools not including the standard 4th grade field
trip. These might be intern programs, traveling trunks, research
projects. Please contact me regarding possible examples for inclusion
in the conference.
3. Attendance – your assistance in promoting attendance in your own
newsletters and websites is appreciated.
Teachers wishing to participate in these conferences can do so in three ways:
1. Teacher Presentations – we are particularly looking for examples of
lesson plans based on local history and examples of elective classes,
primarily high school and college, using local history. Please
contact me regarding possible examples for inclusion in the conference.
2. Student Presentations – we seek short presentations by students on
some aspect of the history of the county possibly as a result of
participation in of the elective classes or as intern at an historic
3. Attendance – teachers are welcome to attend conferences in any
county for professional development credit regardless of where they
teach subject to approval by their school.
Other counties may be added to this list, but at this point in time,
these are all the confirmed county conferences initiated by IHARE.
In addition, Staten Island is having a conference on March 19-20 in
celebration of its 350th anniversary at Wagner College (Lori Weintrob).
Furthermore, the following messages have been sent to IHARE in
response to a previous e-blast on county history conferences:
“Does your organization know of any county historians conferences
being organized in the North Country?”
“Great – When will you be bringing your programs to Syracuse,
Rochester and Buffalo areas?”
Unfortunately there is no formal program, only an initiative
communicated through an email blast. Also there is no funding for
these programs nor is it a statewide initiative. While IHARE has
served as a catalyst for these conferences, ultimately it is up to the
individual counties to make it so. If you are interested in pursuing
a county history conference in your own county, below are some
guidelines which may be helpful to you.
1. The host site should be for free and provide adequate space for
parking, facilities for eating, and AV equipment. Colleges,
libraries, and schools are typical examples.
2. Contact information should be available municipal historians at the
village, town and county level. Based on experience, these lists may
not exist or may need to be updated.
3. Similarly contact information is needed for historical societies
and organizations in the county.
4. Schools contact information can be achieved via BOCES or a teacher
center. Having the support of a superintendent is very beneficial.
5. The program should be taped for cable TV. This can be done by the
cable station or the media department of a school.
6. Because of the Civil War Sesquicentennial and the War of 1812
Bicentennial, it would be appropriate to have speakers on these
7. Examples of historic preservation efforts in the county may range
from taped documentaries about some aspect of county history, oral
testimonies collected, demolition proposals debated, and innovative
school/historic site collaborations.
8. Examples of classes in local history may be from an elective at the
high school or perhaps at a local college. These classes, along with
intern programs at historic sites, may provide the students for the
student presentation portion of the program.
9. Finally, no matter what I have said, it is your county and you can
create the program that you decide best serves your needs.
As you may have noticed, not only can county history conferences be
extended to include additional counties in the state, they can be
expanded geographically or reduced in size. For example, future
conferences could be held on the Hudson River Valley, the Champlain
Valley, or the Mohawk Valley with the bi-annual Frontier Symposium for
the Mohawk Valley serving as one example of such a conference.
Similarly such conferences could be held a the local level during the
school week to highlight the history of a particular village, town, or
city. Perhaps one day, the NYSED standards will change to reflect
such programs and teachers of social studies will be required to take
such classes in state history for certification with regional and
local programs for professional development credit in the area where
they get a job. I can dream, can’t I?
Thank you for your time,
Dr. Peter Feinman
6/27-7/3 American Revolution Teacherhostel
7/18-7/22 Mohawk Valley Teacherhostel
Dr. Peter Feinman
Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education
PO Box 41
Purchase, NY 10577
Peter J. Wosh
Director, Archives/Public History Program
New York University
53 Washington Square South
New York NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-8601
Fax: (212) 995-4017