Posts tagged People who preserve history
Posts tagged People who preserve history
People Who Preserve History: The Great People Who Work in Museums!
In addition to going to the Chancellor’s Sheep and Wool Showcase last weekend, I also got to attend a conference with our educator, Ashley. The conference was called “Museums in Conversation,” and had all kinds of people who work or volunteer in museums from all over New York State. I got to meet directors, educators, curators, volunteers, docents, and conservators— lots of people who help preserve history and share it with us. They are all working on great projects at their museums— I wish I could visit every single one! Sadly, there were no other museum mascots or blogging groundhogs at the conference…
The conference was put on by two organizations that help museums: Museumwise and the Museum Association of New York (MANY for short). In addition to putting together the conference and other workshops where museum staff can meet and learn new skills, they also provide grants (a gift of money that allows a museum to complete a project) and other resources to help museums out.
I got my photo taken at the registration desk with Stephanie Rowe, the Program Coordinator for Museumwise, who did a lot of the planning and preparation for the conference. I forgot to register ahead of time, so she didn’t have a name tag for me, but I borrowed Ashley’s!
People Who Preserve History: Museum Educators
This week, I got to go with CCHS’ museum educator and museum teacher to a meeting with museum educators from many of the different museums in Columbia County!
What is a museum educator, you ask? They are people who work very hard to help people learn about what is in their museums.
Sometimes, they work with groups from schools. Have you ever been on a field trip to a museum? (I have, but lets not talk about that) If you have, a museum educator probably worked with your teacher to make sure your class had a good trip, and learned a lot. Museum educators go to schools too, to visit classrooms.
Museum educators also like working with children when they are with their families. They might give special tours of their museums, just for kids. Sometimes they organize special workshops or classes for kids too. Do you remember when I got to go to CCHS’ February break week programs? Our educators helped make that all happen. They had to decide what historical themes the programs would follow, do lots of research, try out different craft activities, and make sure we had all the right supplies (glitter! paint! ribbon!).
Museum educators also help adults learn about their museums too. They might gather information for tours of their museums, and train tour guides and volunteers to give tours. Sometimes they also arrange lectures or workshops for grown-ups too.
Do you know what I think is the best things about museum educators? They want to make learning about history, or art, or nature, or science (or whatever their museum is about) fun!
In this picture, I am standing with educators from CCHS, The Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, The Shaker Museum and Library, and Olana State Historic Site. I hope to see all of them again when I visit their museums! They were showing me some of the activities they are working on for schools. We met at the Wagon House Education Center, at Olana. It has a classroom, with big windows that look out on the beautiful grounds at Olana. I bet you could make some very nice art there, inspired by Frederic Church (the painter who lived at Olana… more on him later)!
Sorry I’ve been quiet for a couple days… all those fun history activities at CCHS last week tired me out!
People Who Help Preserve History: Genealogists
This installment of “People Who Preserve History” is kind of a 2 for 1! I got to meet Sue, who works at CCHS as a volunteer doing genealogy for people who live too far away to come to the library to do research.
First, let me start with the volunteer part. A volunteer is someone who does some kind of work for a charity (perhaps a museum!) for free. They do the work without pay because they think the work the charity is doing is important and worthwhile. CCHS is lucky to have lots of volunteers who work on many different kinds of projects. Without its volunteers, CCHS would not be able to do nearly as much as it does to preserve Columbia County History, and to share that history with people like you. As I meet them, I’m sure I’ll get to introduce you to more of CCHS’ great volunteers. Hey, wait a minute… I don’t get paid to write this blog, and I do it because I think learning about our history and sharing it is important… I guess I’m a volunteer too!
Now, on to the geneologist part. When we study our geneology, it means that we are interested in learning more about our ancestors. We can go back from our parents, to their parents (our grandparents), to our great grandparents, to our great great grandparents… depending on what records are available for your family, you might be able to go really far back! If you put all the information you find in a chart, it starts to look like a tree… your family tree! There is a good examples of a family tree that you can start yourself here.
When people are researching their geneology, they are trying to find the names of their ancestors, as well as the dates when they were born, got married, and died. One useful source for geneologists are the census records (surveys that the government does every 10 years, that tell who lives in each household, how old they were when the census was taken, their race, and what their job was).
Researchers that come to CCHS most often use the cemetary and church records. The cemetery records are listings of all the people buried in a particular cemetery, with any information listed on their grave stone (often stones list a person’s brith date and death date, and sometimes they list who their husband or wife was). The church records are transcriptions (a typed copy of a hand-written original document) of records kept by different churches that list marriages and baptisms in the church.
Some reserchers that come to CCHS are extra lucky. They might find a file on their family name that contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and even family trees done by their distant relatives. Some families even have books about their genealogy available on the shelf… that certainly makes research easier!
There are lots of resources for genealogists available on the Internet now…but not everything! Church records, for example, can be hard to find online. That’s where Sue comes in. She does genealogy research for other people, who can’t make it all the way to the CCHS library. Often, people from all over the United States find out that their ancestors once lived in Columbia County. Sue has gotten very good at checking out all the good sources in the CCHS library for people who write in with questions about their family history. In fact, she’s like a family history detective!