New York State Museum Hosts First Family History Day Oct. 1

Photos: New York State Museum

The New York State Museum is pleased to announce its first Family History Day on Sunday, October 1, 2023. In observance of New York State History and Archives Month, this free event will offer hands-on experiences for multi-generational visitors highlighting the upcoming 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution. Activities will include booths from various statewide cultural organizations; a family-friendly tour of the Museum’s newest exhibit, “Each One Inspired;” the chance to try on clothing and play with games and toys from the Revolutionary Era, and a historical scavenger hunt. The New York State Library will open a new temporary exhibition, New York During the American Revolution, until the end of the month to display documents from the collections of historical relevance to the American Revolution and New York State.  

 Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Museums help to preserve the history, culture and heritage of families, communities, and societies. Events like Family History Day are important in ensuring our shared history is not lost over time. By displaying artifacts and documents and sharing stories with generations of New Yorkers, we are creating a deeper appreciation of American history and how it correlates with our state’s role in the struggle for our national independence.”

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said,“Family History Day and New York State History and Archives Month are a time to celebrate the rich history and cultures that contributed to who we are as a state today. The exhibitions and hands-on activities and learning opportunities will inspire and ignite curiosity, helping to nurture a love of history for future generations.”

 As part of the inaugural Family History Day event, the New York State Museum will offer many interactive activities, providing New Yorkers of all ages the chance to learn about the Revolutionary War—a pivotal period in our state’s history. Family History Day events include:

  • A tour of the newest exhibit, “Each One Inspired” with Dr. Gwen Saul, New York State Museum Curator of Ethnography. The exhibition examines the sources of inspiration for Indigenous artists across what is now New York.
  • New York State Museum Senior Historians will provide highlights from various collections.
  • Learn about historic medicine from the American Revolution with Interpretive Historian Paul Supley.
  • Make and take crafts to bring home.
  • Complete American Revolutionary themed coloring sheets
  • Visit information tables from historically focused cultural institutions.

Additionally, the inaugural presenter of the monthlong speaker series, renowned historian and novelist Jack Kelly will present, “God Save Benedict Arnold: The True Story of America’s Most Hated Man,” at 2 p.m. in the Huxley Theater. During this time, the original papers which were found concealed in the boot of British Spy Major John André, will also be on display from the collection of the New York State Archives. The papers were created by General Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War to supply information to the British Army concerning the conditions, personnel, and ordnance of the American fortifications at West Point. The discovery of these original papers, on British Spy Major John André, led to his capture and hanging.

 The presentation will focus on the history behind General Benedict Arnold’s treason and the events leading up to the capture of Major John André. Jack Kelly will also explore Arnold as a successful American military leader and offer new perspectives on his eventual treason.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. For additional information, visit the New York State Museum website. 

 The New York State Library is part of the Office of Cultural Education within the New York State Education Department. Visit the New York State Library website for a complete list of upcoming programs. To receive news, resources, and other updates, please subscribe to the quarterly newsletter. 

 The New York State Archives holds many of the oldest and most important archival treasures in the nation. The 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 Archives Partnership Trust was founded in 1992 to build an endowment and provide project support to enhance humanities programs, increase access to these outstanding treasures, and continue the preservation of New York’s historical records. Since its founding, the Partnership Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has supported exceptional projects and programs. These include the Research Residency Program, the Student Research Awards Program, history conferences, special exhibitions, public education programs, book signings and lectures, publications, teacher training institutes, preservation projects, and more. 

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 by visiting the Office of Cultural Education website. 

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