Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Historic Preservation: Kate Mullany National Historic Site

Some of you may recall my daughter & I participating in a re-enactment of the Collar Laundry Strike of 1864 this past February. Well, on October 4, 2014 I was able to visit the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, NY with my aunt's DAR chapter.

The Kate Mullany House was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 1998 and designated an affiliated unit with in the National Historic Site Congress on 2005. It is located at 350 8th St. in Troy, NY. It is the home of the American Labor Studies Center. The site is undergoing restoration and does not have regular visiting hours. For information on visiting the site, call the American Labor Studies Center at (518) 331-4474. 

 The house at 350 8th St. is under renovation. The other half of the building at 352 8th St. is in foreclosure, and the ALSC is hoping to acquire it as well. Until that time, the renovations continue, as does the fundraising. For more information on supporting the restoration project, please click HERE.

The Kate Mullany house became a National Historic Landmark in 1998

My mom on the steps of Kate Mullany's House

The back yard has been recently landscaped

Kate & her Irish parents arrived in Troy in 1853

One of the exhibit panels at Kate Mullany NHS

Another of the exhibit panels at Kate Mullany NHS

Kate was inducted National Women's Hall of Fame 2000
 Read Kate Mullany's bio at National Women's Hall of Fame website.

Staircase leading to the 3rd floor

Original floors under modern bathroom linoleum

Lathe & plaster and modern plumbing

New old windows

Renovating the ceiling

Turquoise plaster over the brick fireplace

More renovations 

Me at the top of the stairs

3rd floor plan

Me in my "Don't iron while the strike is hot!" tee

Kate Mullany's grave at St. Peter's Cemetery in Troy, NY

Leaving a token to show I was there
The house is not open for regular tours during renovation, but call the ALSC for more information about scheduling your group visit.

Also, check out the PowerPoint presentation for more information on Kate Mullany & the Collar Laundry Strike.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Accessible History: Let the Visitors Linger

There are some interesting things going on in the history/ museum communities at present. They all seemed to be centered around one idea; "How do we engage more people in history & museums?"

One way, is the allow more access to historic sites. On his blog Twisted Preservation, Frank Vagnone writes about what he calls "fingerprinting." Read more here: Fingerprinting: A Defense of Leaving Your Mark. When it's all said & done, the self professed "Museum Anarchist" is saying let people take selfies & post them to instagram, pinterest, & tumblr. It can only increase the visitor experience, plus give your site some added exposure (pardon the pun) & free advertising.

But the other point he makes is even more provocative; let people have time in the space. Let them truly feel what it was like to live in a house museum, for example. Let them feel the history, the magic if you will, that we as site interpreters, tour guides, museum educators, guardians of the past, feel when we open up the site for the day. My favorite thing to do in all the house museums I worked at (the Schuyler House & Neilson House in Saratoga National Historical Park, the Marston House, & Villa Montezuma in San Diego, CA, and Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY) was to walk in before the first tour of the day. Opening the curtains, or shutters to let the light in was almost poetic. I reveled in lingering on the staircase, glancing out an upstairs window, perusing the books on the historically accurate bookshelves. This is why I love house museums. As a visitor, I linger behind the group, so I can snatch a few fleeting moments without the constant chatter of the guide. This is the kind of thing we need to allow, & encourage. Our history NEEDS to be accessible. It belongs to all of us, not just a chosen few.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movement on the NY Suffrage Centennial Front

Well, after yesterday's post (a coincidence I'm sure) I received some interesting news- an ad hoc committee is forming of people interesting in the New York State Suffrage Centennial in 2017! So, I have been included in the email blast by my friend, & fellow suffrage devotee, Teri Gay. Right now it looks like there is a monthly conference call of like minded individuals. I will keep you updated on the progress, but if you are interested, please email Marguerite at suffragewagon@gmail.com to be included in the list.


Reblogging from Marguerite's Suffrage Wagon News Channel:

08/21/2014

Envision a NYS suffrage centennial celebration in 2017


The first stage is the dream, and then comes the planning and reality of a New York State suffrage centennial celebration in 2017. The facts are being collected and the dreamers called into action. Every month I’m on a conference call with others who are stepping up to the plate in terms of making sure that New  York State celebrates its 2017 suffrage centennial, and by this, I mean, big time. There’s a great deal to celebrate, and of course, in 2017 I’ll pull out the stops in terms of telling suffrage tales of old. If you’re interested in working on a suffrage centennial ad hoc committee, let me know at suffragewagon at gmail dot com... click HERE to read the entire post.


01/19/2014

No New York State suffrage centennial planning (yet): News notes and videos during “Hot Tea Month”


Suffrage film buffs in the UK are busy preparing to go into production for a suffrage movement major motion picture, “Suffragette,” in February. And the UK suff sit-com “Up the Women” has been pleasing audiences over the past year.

But what about your local community, your friends and associates who are itching to get started with suffrage centennial planning? In the US during 2014, Nevada and Montana have their centennials underway. And don’t forget the necessity of advance planning for the 2017 suffrage centennial for New York State... click HERE to read the entire post.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Women's Equality Day 2014

In my last post I discussed the lack of planning for the NY Women's Suffrage Centennial. This is not to say that there are not efforts being made throughout the state, but they are typically individual women's history sites going about there regular business, which is FABULOUS! but more effort is needed if we are to get a fire started.

That said, Women's Equality Day is fast approaching. What is Women's Equality Day you ask? It is the anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment's official inclusion in the US Constitution guaranteeing that the right to vote will not be denied due to gender. The Amendment was ratified one week prior on August 18, 1920 when the Tennessee legislature voted in favor of ratification. The House passed it by ONE VOTE!

19th Amendment stamp 1998- 150th anniversary of Seneca Falls Convention


Women's Equality Day, August 26th, is approved by resolution every year as it is not a national Holiday. This year marks the 94th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Here are some places in NY commemorating Women's Equality Day & the 94th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (all times are EDT). If you know of any others, please let me know...

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro, NY (near Syracuse) will present a program "Legacies of Equality" on Sunday, August 24 at 2:00 p.m.

*Foundation for the National Archives in conjunction with the Sewell-Blemont House are presenting a live stream via YouTube- Women's history on the horizon: The Centennial of Women's Suffrage in 2020- Tuesday, August 26 at 7:00 pm.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association in Johnstown, NY is hosting a garden party on Monday, August 25.

Women's e-News is hosting a live stream of the 1972 documentary "The Hand hat Rocks the Ballot Box" on Tuesday, August 26 at 6:00 p.m.

 Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY does not have a specific commemoration, but the M'Clintock House is open, and Ranger Programs are offered all weekend.

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY held their event last weekend, but it is always a great place to visit.

If nothing else, invite some friends over & have a suffrage tea. Tea parties were a frequent fundraising event for the later half of the suffrage movement. I even have a Votes for Women tea pot & tea towel. There is a great collection of china displayed on the Suffrage Memorabilia page. For event kits & balloons, check out the National Women's History Project.

Here are some women's suffrage blogs you might be interested in as well:

Suffrage Wagon News Channel
Suffrage Centennials
Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement
Woman and Her Sphere
Suffrage Memorobilia


*added 8/20/14 at 3:57 pm



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where is the NY State Suffrage Centennial?

WARNING: This may well be a bit of a rant, but something I believe NEEDS to be addressed. What are we doing about the upcoming Suffrage Centennial? Anyone? (I hear crickets chirping...) Bueller?

Meme I created. Isn't Inez Milholland fabulous?

So, what is NY doing to commemorate one of the single most important social history movements in our history? Chances are, nothing. If anything, it will be one of those mandates coming down from the governor's office (& I know Mr. Cuomo loves our history & wants to promote it as much as possible- Path Through History anyone?) with no real plan & no budget, leaving municipalities to foot the bill. So, it is up to private citizens, & businesses to step up & say, we want this! Social history is just as important as military history! Women's history belongs to EVERYONE!

My mother & I went to a great event in March 2013 at the Rosendale Theatre near SUNY New Paltz, where I earned my BA in History. It was a kind of play/ living history event called Brimstone, Booze, & the Ballot: Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage & was presented by the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, & Votes for Women 2020. In the 16 months since that event, I have been expecting a bunch of similar events: events that could be seen as dress rehearsals for the NY State Suffrage Centennial. Unfortunately, I have yet to see that.

Don't get me wrong, there are sites, & organizations catering to the Suffrage Movement, but they are places that do that on a daily basis, like the previously mentioned SBA House, MJG Foundation, as well as Seneca Falls. The Women's Rights National Historical Park just wrapped up their convention commemorating the 166th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. & I am sure there are others. (Please let me know. I would LOVE to hear about them.) But we need more. We need living social history demonstrations to be as prevalent as Revolutionary & Civil War re-enactments. We need more women & girls involved in re-enacting.

& I need to put my money where my mouth is! I am currently working on a living social history project related to the Suffrage Movement. I am also making my own 1895 bicycling costume! Me who just recently learned how to sew...

1895 Bicycle Costume- Work in Progress

“Brimstone, Booze and the Ballot; Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage” - See more at: http://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2013/03/21/brimstone-booze-and-the-ballot-a-susan-b-anthony-vs-matilda-joslyn-gage/#sthash.PfPlnwPr.dpuf
“Brimstone, Booze and the Ballot; Susan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage” - See more at: http://newyorkhistoryblog.org/2013/03/21/brimstone-booze-and-the-ballot-a-susan-b-anthony-vs-matilda-joslyn-gage/#sthash.PfPlnwPr.dpuf
What do you say? Anyone interested?


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grand Opening of Trail Commemorating Battle of Bennington

On June 7, 2014 I attended a great event hosted by the Washington County Historical Society: Grand Opening of the Road to the Battle of Bennington.

In a nutshell: As General Burgoyne was slowly making his way to from Fort Ticonderoga to his eventual defeat at the Battles of Saratoga (The Turning Point of the American Revolution), he sent Col. Friedrich Baum to Bennington (Walloomsac) to commandeer the provisions the rebels (i.e. us) had stored there. This trail contains a series of markers, starting with the new one installed at the Lock 6 rest area on US Route 4 in Fort Miller, detailing the route. *Spoiler alert* Col. Baum & his Brunswickers (or Braunschweigers. There was no Germany at this time. & the Hessians, contrary to most school social studies textbooks, never made it this far north.) were defeated by the rebel forces lead by Gen. Stark, Col. Herrick, Seth Warner, & Col. Nichols.
Baunschweigerswere defeatedIt was nice to see so many groups collaborating for a common goal.

Program for the Grand Opening

It was great to see so many organizations working together to complete this project.

Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership:
The Partnership’s mission is to preserve, enhance and develop the historic, agricultural, scenic, natural and recreational resources and the significant waterways within the Partnership region. Through the tradition of municipal home rule, the Partnership will foster collaborative projects with pertinent non-profit and governmental entities with an emphasis on both agricultural and open space protection, economic and tourism development, and the protection and interpretation of our natural and cultural heritage.

Lakes to Locks Passage:
Midway between Manhattan and Montreal, this inter-connected waterway shaped the destiny of the United States and Canada. By bike, foot, boat, train or car, Lakes to Locks Passage provides access to charming cities, rural landscapes and Adirondack hamlets. Through all four seasons, you can travel through numerous historic, natural, cultural and recreational experiences along the scenic waterway that links upstate New York to southern Quebec.

Kingsbury Historian Paul Loding representing His Majesty's 53rd Regiment of Foot

NYS Senator Betty Little

Janet Kennedy of Lakes to Locks Passage

Joe Craig of the Saratoga National Historical Park
Saratoga National Historical Park:
Here in the autumn of 1777, American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender.  This crucial American victory in the Battle of Saratoga renewed patriots’ hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world.
William Krattinger, Trustee of the Washington County Historical Society

Senator Betty Little cuts the ribbon

The panels finally arrived

Panel #2

Panel #3

Front page of the Washington County Historical Society newsletter


If you are interested, a brewery in Troy, Browns Brewing Co., has created a limited edition beer to commemorate the Battle of Bennington: Braunschweigers Mumme Ale.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Map of Greenwich: Using History for Art

Some of you may know that I am a hand embroiderer & I design my own patterns. About 6 years ago I embroidered 2 blocks for the APHNYS quilt project. One is partially my own design, the other is the Village of Greenwich Bicentennial logo created by a local student. (When I find her name I will update this post.) I recently saw my quilt blocks at the APHNYS conference in Saratoga Spring, NY in March. The blocks are just basted together, waiting for more municipalities to submit their blocks.


Town and village of Greenwich, NY blocks in APHNYS quilt

I love redwork embroidery, so I snapped some pictures of the other redwork blocks in the quilt. There were other embroidered squares too, some hand done, & some machine, but I didn't take pictures of all the squares.

Town of Moreau, NY redwork block for APHNYS quilt

North Salem, NY redwork block for APHNYS quilt

Town of Deer park, NY redwork block for APHNYS quilt

As you can see above, many of them are maps of the towns, mine included. I decided, after I completed 2 more of my Susan B. Anthony & Chester A. Arthur map, that I would do a cartoon like map of Greenwich. So, using the history, & natural resources of the town, I got to work designing my block. This is what I came up with.

Town of Greenwich, NY by Tisha Dolton, Historian

Oddly enough, history is what got me embroidering in the 1st place.
I began embroidering in 1998 when I started a summer job at the Saratoga Battlefield in upstate NY. All of the other interpretive Rangers had skills when we were stationed at stop 2 on the tour road (the Nielson House), except me. I read for a few weeks, but I had a difficult time putting my book away when visitors arrived. Plus, my introverted nature would allow me to use the book as a crutch. I needed something else. As a kid I did long stitch needlepoint, & remembered enjoying it. Therefore, I decided crewel work & embroidery would be perfect.

What do you use your historical research for?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Carter's Pond

I apologize for being so far behind on the blog.  Today's post, in honor of our freak mid-April snowstorm, I am writing about a quick hike my daughter & I took this past weekend at Carter's Pond. We were out & about checking out cemeteries & trying to fulfill some grave stone image requests from Find-A-Grave in Salem, when I decided to take a detour off Route 29 & head up to Crater's Pond. I had the blog in mind because I haven't featured much on the eastern part of the town.

Sign says 435 acres, but DEC website says 446.5 acres

If you have never stopped at Carter's Pond, I highly recommend it. The hiking trail is an even, well-maintained path, about one mile in length, at the southern portion of the 447 acres managed by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. It was completed in 1980. This portion is handicap accessible, & you can get a good view of the pond to the north from the "observation tower." You can get a detailed map HERE.

Looking north at Carter Pond from observation tower

Looking east from observation tower

As of 2002, Carter's Pond is also a Bird Conservation Area boasting over 100 species of birds, including geese, ducks, sparrows, pheasant, turkeys, warblers, heron, & water thrushes, just to name a few.

Waterfowl Habitat Restoration sign at Carter's Pond

One of the many birdhouses in the wetlands

We only saw a few Canada Geese at Carter's Pond

The sun was bright & warm through the leafless threes

Trail marker at Carter's Pond
It was nice that the trail markers were present & in good condition, though with the well-maintained trail, they seemed a bit redundant.

A beautiful patch of moss

Remember to leave only footprints

In my office I have a copy of the Fresh Water Wetlands Preservation map outlining & approving the management area around Carter's Pond. The maps are signed by Paul J. Elston, First Deputy Commissioner of the DEC, under Ogden Reid, Commissioner. The documents are dated January 29, 1976.


Northern portion of Crater's Pond 1976

Southern portion of Carter's Pond 1976

Close-up of scale for Carter's Pond map 1976