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Bruce Dearstyne put together a fantastic article posted on the New York History Blog regarding November as New York History Month. In that article, along with one he authored back in June (Legislation for the Proposed NYS History Commission)
there is great information regarding the approach to history of this state IN this state. While reading those articles is beyond worth opening the links provided, it should also be noted that the everyday public, as well as the volunteers and the Friends of heritage sites, museums, libraries and historical societies should understand more completely the task at comprehensively approaching the education of history to citizens of New York.
Underneath it all, we as a community understand the challenges and the worth of teaching history; it is in the practice that good intension seems to fail. Perhaps, as Dearstyne discusses, a consolidated effort by way of a commission is in order –but that will need some convincing and ideally oversight of an un-political nature.
So, support legislation that would offer this. Share with friends and family those supportive ideas and more so, act. Act by writing letters, making phone calls, participating in the discussion, having your voice heard by the legislature. We can look around us, we can listen to the news and fully understand that if we do not – as a society – teach and learn of our history, we are in fact doomed to continue making the same mistakes. We will be doomed further by neglecting our heritage – not knowing where we come from to guide us to where we wish to be.
There are 30 days in November. That is 30 days to support local and New York State History with one solid voice, 720 hours to have it heard. But that isn’t enough. There are more than 30 days that are worth celebrating New York History – every day is the perfect day to do that. Highlight the good, recognize the bad and forge ahead the New York way.
Just of a few of the ways to get started:
- Check out your local library for books on local history
- Contact your local historical society and/or historian (The Association of Public Historians of New York State)
- VISIT historic sites in your area
- Share that information with people you know