Thursday, February 26, 2009

Congress OKs $750,000 for Quad celebration

The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial celebration will get $750,000 as part of money allocated for the Interior Department, according to a release from the office of U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley. Congress gave final approval Wednesday. More details are here.

400 Years: Life on the Hudson River

400 Years: Life on the Hudson River, an all-day symposium by the Great Estates Consortium, takes place on Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Route 9 in Hyde Park.

This conference celebrates the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's expedition up the river that bears his name, and will focus on the lifestyles of those that lived alongside the Hudson from the 17th century until today. It will also explore what future roles the river can and should play in the lives of the citizens of the Hudson River Valley.

Here is more info from the brochure:

G. Peter Jemison, Historic Site Manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, will open the symposium with a look at the lifestyle of the Native American peoples who lived along the Hudson River at the time of Henry Hudson's arrival in 1609. Mr. Jemison is a member of the Heron Clan of the Seneca Nation and Faithkeeper to the Cattaraugus Seneca Nation.

After a brief coffee break Vernon Benjamin, Adjunct Lecturer in History at Marist College, will speak about the lives of the German Palatines whose major migration to New York took place in 1710.

Following lunch, Kjirsten Gustavson, Curator of 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration, will explore how New York self-consciously and very publicly transformed itself from a city that was merely "the largest" to an undisputed world-class metropolis.

After a brief coffee break Vincent Tamagana, Hudson River Navigator, will moderate a panel discussion about the Hudson River and what lies ahead for this significant natural resource. The panelists have been selected to represent various perspectives including: conservation and open space protection; public access, recreational
opportunities and tourism; economic develop- ment, and education. Symposium attendees will be encouraged to submit prepared questions to the moderator for presentation to the panel.

Panelists include David Conover, Education Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater; Catherine Maloney, Director of Business Development, Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation; Seth McKee, Land Conservation Director, Scenic Hudson, Inc.; and Mary Kay Vrba, Director, Dutchess County Tourism.

Symposium attendees can participate in an optional walking tour of Roosevelt Farm Road. The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m., departing from the lobby of the Henry A. Wallace Center.

The Symposium registration fee of $55 per person includes lunch and a wine & cheese reception. Pre-registration is strongly recommended. For additional information, call 845-889-8851.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ulster County Quad events in April

Ulster County has unveiled its plans for celebrating the Quad this year with dozens of events that showcase the arts and explore the region's colonial history.

It all starts on the first weekend of April, with a reception, several art exhibitions and a show of original Dutch documents. Here are the details:

On Thursday, April 2, a meet-and-greet event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Kingston. Representatives from art and history venues will be on hand to kick off the celebration. Food, music and a display of banners hand-painted by the region's most accomplished artists will give a preview of the cultural treats to be offered up in the upcoming celebration.

On Saturday, April 4, three art exhibitions with a Dutch or Hudson River theme will open. A special show of watercolors by Dutch illustrator Willem Burgert will debut at Donskoj & Co. in Kingston. Burgert, who is the first of 10 artists from Holland participating in the county's Artists in Residence program, painted the watercolors to illustrate a book he wrote especially for the Quadricentennial. It describes the adventures of three young people from northern Holland who immigrate to what is now Kingston in the 1600s. With their fresh execution and accurate details, the watercolors vividly re-create the world of the Netherlands and the Hudson Valley in the 17th century. The book is in both Dutch and English and will be for sale at the exhibition.

A few blocks away, Hendrik Dijk's photographs of World War II concrete bunkers in the Dutch countryside will be on display at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts. Dijk, who was born in Holland but resides in Ulster County, stumbled upon these forgotten structures during a trip to his native land and is now embarked on a project to photograph all 200 of them.

And over in Woodstock, "The River," a juried exhibition of pieces exploring the culture and the landscape of the Hudson, curated by Niko Vicario, from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, will open at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum.

Three shows of centuries-old documents and artifacts will be on display at the Ulster County Office Building, the Senate House State Historic Site (both located in Kingston) and Historic Huguenot Street, located in New Paltz. The exhibit at the office building, opening April 2, will include documents from the 1600s written in archaic Dutch and be accompanied by an unveiling of the English translations on the county's archives web site.

On April 18, the Senate House show will open, with diaries, photos, newspapers and other documents revealing forgotten narratives.

On April 24, Native American artifacts will go on display at Historic Huguenot Street, which dates back to the 1670s. Some of the projectiles, pottery shards and other items, which were dug up from the six-acre site, are thousands of years old. Huguenot Street will also exhibit Delft tiles in its gallery space.

A show about the Dutch legacy at the Rosendale Library opens April 1. The library will also host a lecture examining the complicated roles played by Hudson, Samuel de Champlain and steamboat inventor Robert Fulton on April 8. A talk about Native Americans at the time of Hudson's arrival is scheduled on April 18 at the Esopus Town Hall.

For more information about the Ulster County celebration, go to Ulster County Quadricentennial Arts Celebration Committee received funding for its marketing efforts from the Cultural Tourism Initiative, a project of the Arts & Business Council of New York and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Friday, February 20, 2009

First voices of the river

Noted writer and storyteller Joseph Bruchac will present First Voices of the River: American Indian Stories and Traditions of the Hudson on Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. at the Albany Institute of History & Art. His talk will focus on the historical folklore and culture of the native populations in the Hudson Valley, and will include musical performance on flute and drums to accompany traditional Abenaki songs.

Bruchac is a traditional storyteller and writer whose work often reflects his Abenaki Indian ancestry and his lifelong interest in American Indian history and culture. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and Storyteller of the Year from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, his work has appeared in hundreds of publications from American Poetry Review to National Geographic.

The Albany Institute of History & Art is at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany, one block from the New York State Capitol. Call 518-463-4478 or visit for more information.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Delft tiles in the Hudson Valley

A Quad-related talk about Dutch tiles takes place from 1-3 p.m. this Sunday (Feb. 22) in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center on Huguenot Street in New Paltz. While donations are appreciated, there is no fee for this program. For more information, visit or call (845) 255-1660.

Here is the press release:

On Sunday, February 22nd, the Dutch Culture Group at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will host “Once Adorned With Quaint Dutch Tiles…,” a discussion about Delft Tiles found in Archeological Context and Historical Collections in the Upper Hudson Valley.

Delft Tiles are the iconic Dutch ceramic tiles known to many. These tiles, most commonly blue and white, are made in and around Delft in the Netherlands. While they continue to be made today, the most coveted tiles date back to the eighteenth century. They were an important decorative item not only in the Netherlands, but also in colonial New Netherlands and New York as well.

Archeological excavations undertaken in the upper Hudson Valley region, particularly in the vicinity of Albany during the past 40 years, have yielded a number of fragments of decorative Delft tiles of various patterns. While several of these have been published and analyzed, to date no systematic assessment of this collection has been made. This paper will present a preliminary analysis of this body of material and compare it with examples possessing clear provenance from local historical collections and with references from documentary resources. A comparison of this group of tiles with examples known to have been contemporaneously available in the Netherlands will add depth to an analysis of the aesthetic choices and cultural meanings represented by these artifacts.

Walter R. Wheeler, the Senior Architectural Historian at Hartgen Archeological Associates, is the featured speaker. Hartgen Archeological Associates is a cultural resource management firm headquartered in Rensselaer, New York, and with offices in Albany and Putney, Vermont.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quad speakers available to schools

Are you an educator looking for ways to bring Quad programs into your school?

Speakers in the Schools, a New York State Council for the Humanities program, offers more than 150 free curriculum-enhancing lectures for public and private high school communities across New York state. Topics include national and New York state history, anthropology, philosophy, media and literature. This year, they offer a special selection of lectures exploring the themes of discovery and progress raised by the Quadricentennial, including lectures exploring technology, commerce and transportation, and environmental conservation.

Visit their Web site for more info. If a school's application is successful, the lecturer's honorarium and travel expenses are completely covered by the council. Speakers in the Schools is made possible by funding from the New York State Legislature.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seeking images for Quad doc

Jonathan Donald is producing an hour-long documentary about the history of Greene County for the Quadricentennial, and is looking for images of "engravings, prints, and paintings of 17th century Dutch farming, fishing, trading for beaver skins, any and all aspects of life in upstate New York along the Hudson."

In a follow-up e-mail, Donald told me he is producing the program pro bono for broadcast on WMHT, the Albany PBS station, which is also a co-producer.

Here's more about the project from the producer. You can contact him at if you have info about where to find the images he seeks.

It is a very ambitious effort given the scale of the subject matter which at first glance seems relatively unimportant but upon examination is revealed to be complex and interesting. The one-hour special is titled: "Greene County USA, a Local History of National Importance." Its obvious national qualities are the Hudson River School of painting and the rise of American tourism dating from the building of the Catskill Mountain House. But there is a great deal more. I have attached an outline of the program. You can review my background in television at my website Some of the program's production costs have been met through the generosity of The Industrial Development Agency of Greene County, state Senator Jim Seward, the Greene County Legislature and the Bank of Greene County.