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Didn’t get all the material you wanted? Need access to collections? Here are some websites to help!

I’m sure there are others, but here is a good start!  Happy surfing!

Metropolitan Museum of Arthttp://www.metmuseum.org/

Metropolitan Museum of Art Storehttp://store.metmuseum.org/

LES Tenement Museumhttp://tenement.org/

New York Historical Societyhttps://www.nyhistory.org/web/

NPS – Home of Franklin Roosevelthttp://www.nps.gov/hofr/index.htm

NPS – Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Sitehttp://www.nps.gov/elro

FDR Presidential Library & Museumhttp://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/

Fort Ticonderogahttp://fort-ticonderoga.org/

NPS – Saratoga National Historical Parkhttp://www.nps.gov/sara

Culinary Institute of Americahttp://www.ciachef.edu/

Museum of the City of New Yorkhttp://www.mcny.org/

NPS – Federal Hall National Monumenthttp://www.nps.gov/feha/index.htm

NPS – Ellis Islandhttp://www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm

Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island Foundationhttp://www.ellisisland.org/

NPS – Statue of Libertyhttp://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

Save Ellis Islandhttp://www.saveellisisland.org/site/PageServer?cvridirect=true

Ellis Island Institutehttp://www.saveellisisland.org/site/PageServer?pagename=eii_homepage

NPS – Sagamore Hillhttp://www.nps.gov/sahi/index.htm

Baseball Hall of Famehttp://baseballhall.org/

Fenimore Art Musuemhttp://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/

Farmers’ Musuemhttp://www.farmersmuseum.org/

Otesaga Resort (We had dinner there at the Hawkeye Grill) – http://www.otesaga.com/

NPS – Women’s Rights (Seneca Falls)–  http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm

NPS -Wesleyan Chapel http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/wesleyan-chapel.htm

NPS – Elizabeth Cady Stanton Househttp://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/elizabeth-cady-stanton-house.htm

NPS – M’Clintick Househttp://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/mclintock-house.htm

NPS – Hunt House (Even though we didn’t visit) – http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/hunt-house.htm

William Seward Househttp://www.sewardhouse.org/

Harriet Tubman Homehttp://www.harriethouse.org/

Staten Islandhttp://www.statenisland.org

Fraunces Tavern Musuemhttp://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org

South Street Seaporthttp://www.thenewseaport.com  – or – http://www.southstreetseaport.com

Katz’s Delihttp://www.katzdeli.com


Post Trip Wrap Up and Idea for Lesson Plan

As I reflect back on our two weeks in New York it is hard to pinpoint just one activity or site that would stand out as my favorite.  There were bits and pieces from almost every place we went that combine into a very useful, resourceful adventure.

One of the most beneficial aspects of being able to travel with a group like this is the contacts you make. Not only with the people you travel with but with the presenters, education coordinators and museum docents. This creates a very eminence network of collaboration and resources.  You learn about so many available resources that are free to educators. We were quite lucky on this trip and received some phenomenal resources from Ellis Island, the New York Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York.  Also having links to their collections and expertise via the internet is like being given a pot of gold.

If I was forced to choose I would have to say the information and lessons we were given in regard to the object based learning will be the most beneficial for me. Even though it is a rather simple concept, it adds another dimension to document based questions and primary sources.  You don’t always have to use printed material as a primary source; objects can be primary sources too!

Of the places we visited I would have to put the New York Historical Society, Ellis Island, the William Seward House, Sagamore Hill, the Tenement Museum and the Erie Canal at the top of my list.  They are all different types of venues and were all very useful.

There is one thing that is troubling to me after this trip.  The majority of the places we visited (in regard to historical sites) are usually not the original buildings or have been altered in such a way as to make them nothing like the “historical” site you really wanted to see.  For example, Federal Hall. I had been to New York five times prior to this trip and had never visited Federal Hall. I was very excited to stand in the place where George Washington was sworn in as the first President of this great nation. Then I find out that the building that is there is not the original building. The original was completely torn down!  Another example is Fort Ticonderoga. Obviously seeing a fully built fort  lends to the display of what the fort probably looked like, but the fort we visited is not the actual “ruins” of the place.  Another such place would be the Wesleyan Chapel where the first Women’s Rights Convention occurred.  So this brings up the question; is it better to recreate these venues in order to show what the original houses, buildings, etc. probably looked like? Or would it be better from a historical perspective to keep the ruined or damaged facilities in their run down state (maintaining them as best as possible) and rebuild a replica in an adjacent area? What affect does the recreation have on the historical value of the area?

If you look at the main blog page and look at all the posts in response to the question about what our favorite site on June 15th was, the majority of the responses are the Seward House. The reasons given are because it was original, without replicated furniture, etc. It was more real because the family really lived in that place with the furnishings that are there. We know that it went from a house to a museum without being torn down, turned into a rental, etc.

Lesson Plan – I believe that I am going to create a unit on bridges, using the Brooklyn Bridge and its history as the main example. I will include vocabulary, information on Roman arches and how they are incorporated into bridges, we will create several different designs/structures and possibly even a field trip to the site of a bridge being built. (The 4th street bridge would be a good example) I purchased a book from the Museum of the City of New York about bridges.  When I was making the purchase EY commented that they have a whole unit that they did on bridges, so I will be contacting her and picking her brain to see what they have done and how it could tie into my plan.

Wednesday June 16, 2010

As we prepare to fly home today, I want to thank Matt and Johnathan for letting us stop at the Albany Rural Cemetery to visit the grave site of President Chester Arthur. This is one of the things I wanted to do on our brief stay in Albany, NY.

Grave of President Chester Arthur

President Arthur was the 21st President of the United States. He was a member of the Republican party and worked as an attorney prior to becoming the Vice President under President Garfield. When President Garfield was assassinated, Arthur was then sworn in as President and served until March 4, 1885.

While President he was a “champion for civil service reform”.  Arthur’s primary achievement was viewed to be the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act which earned Arthur the nickname “The Father of Civil Service”.

There was actually a lot of speculation as to whether or not President Arthur was an American citizen.  Some groups thought he was born in Canada and others argued that he was actually born in Ireland.  (Does all this sound familiar? LOL)

He did want to seek re-election but due to a kidney disease (Bright’s Disease) he wasn’t able to throw himself into the campaign as needed and he did not win the election.

President Chester A. Arthur (taken from wikipedia.org)

Tuesday June 15, 2010

With a 4 1/2 hour bus ride we arrived at Ft.Ticonderoga.

Our first stop was at the French Lines from a battle in 1758. I was a bit confused as to why we were stopping here and what this battle in 1758 had to do with the Revolutionary War. This is what I learned…

The French Lines - Battle of Carillon - 1758

The French actually built the Fort in 1755 and it was called Fort Carillon. In the Battle of Carillon the French were able to defeat the British, even though the Brits had twice as many soldiers as them. This set a precedent, showing that the Americans, with their smaller forces could also hope to beat the British in this same area.

On to the Revolutionary War – When the war began the fort was in the control of the British, but wasn’t manned to full capacity. (I’m still not really clear on how this shift from French to British occurred. Need to study this more!) On May 10, 1775 a group of soldiers including Green Mountain Boys, Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen were able to capture the fort.  I find it odd that this first “win” of the Revolutionary War is not what is usually taught in our classes, but only the information about Colonel Henry Knox the following winter, having the foresight to go to the fort and take the cannon to Boston to help the American Army.

Fort Ticonderoga

Various notes taken during Saratoga tour

-Americans were down at the Mohawk River where they had retreated.

-If the British could take Albany, they can cut off the New England states – felt they could negotiate with the lower colonies

-The Dutch farmers in the Hudson River Valley referred to the New Englanders as Yaunkee’s which was a Dutch word for Johnny or a person of little intelligence

-Daniel Morgan monument – put up by his great granddaughter – This is where Daniel Morgan would muster his riflemen

-He targeted British officers because of the beating (flogging with cat-o-nine tails) he received – When he had the opportunity to have General Fraser shot, he took it

-The ideal course to cut off New England is to control Lake Champlain and the Hudson River (these were the interstates of the 18th century)

-As you tour Saratoga Battlefield white fence posts with blue tops depict the American lines and ones with red tops depict British lines

-Beemis Heights – The Neilson Farmhouse which was erected by John Neilson from NJ – It is the original house 1775/1776 – Consists of one room downstairs and a loft upstairs, pantry in the back and a root cellar underneath – In the 1800 census, there were 13 people living there

-Taddeus Koshuiska – set up this defensive line at Beemis Heights – it is the weakest part of the American line because it angles – Each angle represents a weakness – The British goal was to get their guns up to the west and bombard with shells

-Neilson House was a headquarters – John Neilson was in the Albany County Militia – General Benedict Arnold was stationed there with 2 others

-The British never get anywhere near here – they were coming from the North

-Mountains to the east, Ticonick Mountains – they were once higher than the Himalayas – some of the oldest mountains – all of these bluffs are erosion from those mountains -Ticonick non-conformity (geologists call it this) – it is very unstable and subject to landslides

-3 defensive elements here – (1) bluffs close to the river (2) steep ravines protecting the bluffs (3) the great Vly which is a Dutch term for wetlands which is like a swamp most of the time and mud the rest of the time

-Burgoyne splits his army into 3 columns – sets stage for Sept. 19th 1777 battle – he stayed with the center column- (1) Germans by the river (2) advance column up by where the visitors center is now (3) up the center

-James Wilkinson – Adjutant General – 19 years old

-Stop 5- Barber Wheat Fields  (Oct 7th battle)

-Gates and Arnold could not agree – Arnold advanced out, set up a field headquarters and fed his troops in incrementally

-600 British casualties on the 1st day of battle most from the 62nd

-Gates refused to send troops to support Arnold, so the Americans with Arnold had to retreat

-Gates and Arnold get into an argument – Arnold tries to quit, Gates told him no, that he was fired

Our Guide - Jim Hughto

**I had a hard time following a lot of what our guide had to say. I’m not sure if this was due to my exhaustion or the bouncing back and forth with information about the September battle and October battle held at Saratoga, and throwing in information about the French from 1758. This just reinforces the fact that as teachers we need to be careful how much information we throw at our students at one time. They can only absorb so much and then the rest is lost. I think overall I have a pretty good understanding, and this is what I gleaned from all the information we were presented with…

On September 19, 1777 the British army began to head towards the American lines in 3 separate columns.  The battle began with a group of VA and PA rifleman starting a brief engagement with the center column of Burgoyne’s troops. This happened in an area known as Freeman Farm.

The battle then began in earnest and lasted about three hours, switching back and forth between the British and Americans making advances. Burgoyne’s troops were beginning to waver but were saved by a group of German (Hessian) reinforcements.  Even though the British now held the main battlefield, they had not reached the American lines. The British troops, even though they technically won the first battle, were worn down. Burgoyne had two choices; keep fighting or retreat. He decided to fight again and on October 7 they met the Americans in an area near Barber Farm, actually fighting in the wheat fields.

Barber Wheat Fields

After several encounters the British and their German counterparts were forced back to Freeman Farm.  The American’s then led by Benedict Arnold attacked the Balcarres Redoubt and the Breymann Redoubt. They were well on their way to victory when it got dark. The British retreated the following day and several days later General Burgoyne surrendered.  These two engagements with the ultimate surrender of Burgoyne are remembered as one of the most decisive victories in American history.

When we were at the monument honoring Benedict Arnold I was a little taken aback by our guide (Jim Hughto’s) comparison of Benedict Arnold with Timothy McVeigh.

Memorial Honoring Benedict Arnold

While I understand the similarities in that they were both in the American military and served valiantly and then both turned on their country, that’s where the similarities end. If Arnold’s dispatches hadn’t been captured, the result may have been as devastating as the Oklahoma City bombing, but they weren’t. I just don’t see Arnold and McVeigh being on the same level of domestic terrorism.

On to dinner at Salty’s Pub and Bistro. As we entered the restaurant some of the locals asked how we had heard about this place as it was their favorite local place to eat. They said we would love the food, and boy did we ever! I had a huge Pastrami on Rye which was quite delectable! Can’t find a sandwich like that around Pueblo!

Dinner at Salty's Pub and Bistro

Followed that up with a delicious, mouth watering concoction called a Chocolate Concorde. Yum! Thanks Marie for sharing!

Ahhh, Chocolate!

Monday June 14, 2010

After a 7 AM start, we arrived at the site of the 1st Women’s Rights Convention only to find out that the Wesleyan Chapel where the convention was actually held was under “rehabilitation” and we were not able to go inside.

Wesleyan Chapel - Seneca Falls, NY

The Chapel is the actual spot where about 300 were gathered in July 1848 in order to hear the list of demands being made for Women’s Rights. Oddly enough those in charge had first thought to leave out the right to vote but were encouraged (by Frederick Douglas?) to put it in.  It was in this Chapel that the Declaration of Sentiments was adopted.

We were able to tour the National Park Service site, seeing some very interesting displays. There were a set of bronze statues in the main area of the NPS building, and our ranger, Meghan, explained who they were and their relationship to each other.

Bronze sculptures - Women's Rights National Historical Park Visitor Center

We then clambered back on to the bus and traveled to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house. This house was the actual family home for 15 years. We were able to tour the house but it was almost completely empty of furnishings, etc. and had been used as a rental property for some time. I was also disappointed that several wings that she had added to the house  were no longer there, changing the layout of the true house she lived in. Why were those additions removed? I can’t imagine having raised 7 children in that house. Although without seeing it with the additions Elizabeth had made, it makes it appear so much smaller. Her comment about feeling like a “….caged lioness” is very appropriate when put into the context of the small space they lived in, in the small town she didn’t want to be in.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton House

After a quick walk through and a half hearted attempt at a group photo we piled back on the bus to travel to the M’Clintock house which we were allowed to walk through and take pictures of and did have a few artifacts. I would like to know more about this Quaker family and their involvement in the abolitionist movement. The house was actually owned by the Hunts but they rented it to the M’Clintock’s who were relatives. It was in this house that the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted.

M'Clintock House

William Seward’s house which was a phenomenal place, was our next stop of the day. Everything in the house was original to the house, with William Seward’s grandson actually stating in his will that the house was to become a museum upon his death. I hate the fact that we cannot take pictures of places like this. I understand that there are copyright issues, that flashes make items deteriorate, etc. but how do you convey to a student the particulars of a place like this without that visual display? I was also greatly saddened that we were not able to see the room where runaway slaves stayed while making an escape on the Underground Railroad. They started building an exhibit about an hour before we arrived! Darn the luck. That would have been amazing! I liked the fact that the family was packrats and saved everything. I didn’t realize how close Seward was to becoming President, or that he actually ran against Lincoln for the nomination.  I was fascinated by the display regarding the assassination attempt on Seward, the night that Lincoln was assassinated. The fact that the family had kept a portion of the bed sheet with his blood and the knife cuts was a bit gruesome, but just added to the exhibit that they had.  This house was beautiful. I was struck with how large the rooms were and the vaulted ceilings.

Seward House

Back of William Seward House

I also find it a slight of history that our textbooks and probably a lot of teachers do not include the full story of the purchase of Alaska in their classes. William Seward purchased this land from Russia in March 1867 which totaled 586,412 square miles. AND he purchased it for 2 cents per acre! Even though this purchase became known as “Seward’s Folly” it added more land to the United States than the state of Texas!

Then we were back on the bus traveling to the Harriet Tubman house.  I was fascinated by the story that the education director told and would have loved to have had time to watch the orientation video and tour the entire grounds.  We were only able to visit the small original house from the property which Tubman used as a home for the aged.  I never knew that she had set up a hospital and home for the elderly on her estate until today.

"Old Folks Home" at the Harriet Tubman Estate

Once again, artifacts in place, but no ability to take pictures.  This is a sad situation that needs to be rectified!  I was SO disappointed that we weren’t able to tour her house or see the actual acreage of her estate.  When we present the “person” Harriet Tubman to our classes, it is always as this champion to runaway slaves, but she was so much more than that. A lot of the slaves she actually rescued were family members too! I was also enthralled by the idea of a black woman owning property and attending an auction to purchase more land. We needed the ability to explore her life more. This is definitely something I will be doing on my own.

Back on the bus and travel to Pittsford / Rochester, NY for our cruise down the Erie Canal. This was totally fascinating and awe inspiring. I was surprised at the width of the canal. Is this how wide it was when originally built? Or has it been expanded over the years?  When the boat went into the first lock and they began filling it with water it was almost scary. You knew that it would fill, and the boat would rise, but I half expected water to just come gushing through the gate and topple us into the canal.

A lock on the Erie Canal

I was able to take a video of the 2nd lock we went into and cannot wait to show this to our students as an actual demonstration on how the locks in a canal work. It’s all well and good to describe it, but for them to see it actually happen in real time will be awesome! The video is a bit wobbly (I was standing on a boat after all!) I have saved the video in a powerpoint presentation. If you get a pop-up box that says “sight previews” close that box out and click on the link again. When the PPT opens, you will have to start the slideshow in order to access the video.

Lock on the Erie Canal

It is just over 5 minutes long. If you use the video be sure to point out that we start out even with the roadway in front of us and you can see the noticeable decrease in the waterline.  Thank you Matt for including this in the tour and foregoing the museum!

Upon arrival in Syracuse I decided sleep was more important than dinner and just toppled into bed. Out like a light by 9 PM!

Sunday June 13, 2010

Baseball Hall of Fame

Upon arrival in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame we were greeted by the Education Coordinator.  We started off with some basic information about the Hall of Fame. First, how it came to be in Cooperstown, NY, second the qualifications for being inducted, that the induction ceremony is held at the end of every July, the Hall of Fame is not affiliated with MLB and all the artifacts have been donated; they have never purchased any items.

Qualifications for Induction:

  • Had been a MLB player and played for at least 10 years
  • You are eligible for induction five years after your retirement
  • The Baseball Writers Association of America votes to induct new members and you must receive 75% of the vote

We were then given an overview of their website (baseballhalloffame.org – click on education then click on learn) with the 16 different curriculum units that they have available for us to use, all which have baseball as a “hook”. She also went over the various video conferences that are available. I have never heard of the equipment that is necessary for these (a Codec), but am definitely going to check with the district to see if we have these and how to sign up for them.  If we don’t have them, I want to see about raising some money, writing a grant, getting a donation, etc. to purchase them for my building. I know that I would use them and I believe several other teachers would also.

We were then given a 2010 Yearbook, which was greatly appreciated and then “let loose” in the museum. Being the huge baseball fan that I am, it was wonderful to just roam and observe. I wish my dad could have been there with me; he’s the one who taught me all about baseball and he would have loved it!  He’s jealous that we went there to begin with.

After touring the museum for a few hours we walked down the street to the Doubleday Cafe and had a great cheeseburger and fries.

After lunch we went to the Fenimore Art Museum. While the exhibits in the museum were nice, I was more interested in the property and house. I had no idea that Cooperstown was named after the Cooper family, as in relatives of James Fenimore Cooper, author of “Last of the Mohicans”. Talk about being out of touch.  I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the small exhibit about the family, and wish we would have been given more information about them. After touring several exhibits in the museum I wandered out onto the patio, and what a breath taking site that was!

Patio at Fenimore Art Museum

Looking toward Otsego Lake - Patio of Fenimore Art Museum

I cannot imaging living in such a beautiful spot! As we sat and relaxed for a moment a deer wandered along the tree line.

Deer on the lawn at the Fenimore Art Museum

We then walked across the street to the Farmers’ Museum. We were given a brief overview and then taken to see the Empire State Carousel.  All of us except for one unadventurous type who will not be named, climbed aboard the carousel and went for a spin! It was rather hysterical to see I must admit.

The Empire State Carousel

Marie and I then went walking through the village and happened into the pharmacy where the pharmacist was making ginger pills. He showed us the method of making them which was completely amazing!  He mixed gum arabec which would have been obtained from Egypt, and ground ginger obtained from Jamaica. This created a type of paste.  He then took some of the paste, rolled it into a small section that looked like a worm, put it onto a device that rolls it out evenly and then cut it into small tablets. He said when they were allowed to dry they were completely hardened and could not be broken. Ginger was (and still is) used for nausea and sea sickness. This would be a very cool activity to do in combination with a science class.

Gum Arabec from Egypt

Mixing the Arabec and ground ginger

Preparing to make ginger tablets

Tada! Ginger pills!

He then brought out a jug with leeches!  It was very interesting to learn that a leech really does suck blood, but a very miniscule amount. The saliva of the leech numbs the area and acts as a blood thinner and this saliva is actually what causes a person to bleed for up to four hours!  Gross!!!!

Ugh! A Leech!

We went into the blacksmith shop which was completely reminiscent of Sturbridge Village down to the fact that they were making the same items (nails, door latches, hinge latches, etc.) with the same type of bellows and fires. If Sturbridge Village was supposed to be an 18th century village and the Farmers’ Museum is 19th century, there wasn’t much difference in the techniques that they were using. Do I have the time periods wrong?

The Blacksmith

Saturday June 12, 2010

After leaving the hustle and bustle of NYC this morning and taking a leisurely drive through the countryside, we arrived at the “Summer White House” or home of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt better known as Sagamore Hill.

Sagamore Hill - Oyster Bay, NY

This is more than a retreat, it is a world removed from its surroundings.  TR was the first President of the United States to leave Washington DC during the summer.  Other Presidents, such as Lincoln, left the immediate area during the summer to get away from the heat, but none returned home until TR. Upon arrival you can see why he would want the escape.

Walking into the house you can immediately see the things that truly define TR.  He was President  but first and foremost he was a husband and father, a Colonel and an American. His house is “stuffed” from stem to stern with a wide variety of animals he killed while on safari, as well as several others that were given to him as gifts. The most monumental would be the giant elephant tusks that greet you as you walk into the North Room. (Rest assured, they were taken from an elephant who died of natural causes, and was actually a pet to the giver!)

Image of North Room Taken from http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsahi.html

I was taken aback by the size of the home.  Thirteen bedrooms and 23 rooms total. Looking into the rooms they were all of a very opulent size compared to those in the Tenements in the lower east side.  Every room in the house, excluding the children’s bedrooms, have taxidermyed animals or the hides. The one exception with the children’s rooms was Alice’s. Edith gave her a tiger rug to try and cheer her. It seems that since she was the only child from TR’s 1st marriage, at times she didn’t feel like she belonged with the rest of the family.  Her father never called her Alice because she was named after her mother and he never wanted to say his 1st wife’s name, so he always called her “sister”.

The layout of the house also shows the relationship that the Roosevelt’s had with the servants that worked in the house. I think I would refer to them more as a household staff.  They lived, worked and played with the family. In fact the nanny, Mame that took care of the five younger Roosevelt children was in fact Edith’s nanny when she was a child.

TR’s house was much more livable and inviting than FDR’s house was. Maybe that is because the house actually belonged to him and Edith so he could do what he wanted with it.  Whatever the case may be, it definitely reflects the style of TR with the book lined shelves, numerous animals mounted on the walls and the obvious signs that children lived in and grew up in this house.

The ranger who was our guide also mentioned that at 4 PM every day, no matter what TR was doing, he made a point of spending time with the children; whether running about the house, fishing, target practice, etc. he was a very devoted father and husband. It was also a rule in the house that every meal was eaten together. There were 4 exceptions to that rule 1.) if a child was away at school 2.) if a child was sick 3.) if a child was late to dinner or had misbehaved and  4.) ???? The children were required to ask the dinner guests questions and lead the conversations that were held. The children felt that this was the best education that they received.

After a brief look into the personal life of TR, I find him to be a very intriguing man.  I am looking forward to reading some about him. Does anyone have suggestions on books to read?  What about David McCullough’s “Mornings on Horseback?”

After the house tour I went into the museum which was once his oldest son’s house (Ted)

House belonging to Theodore Roosevelt's son, Ted

and then took the hike down the trail to Oyster Bay. What a beautiful sight.  Very chilly waters with a sprinkling of sailboats all around. The very steep hike back up was well worth the trek to the shore.

Me at Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay, NY

Ate a wonderful lunch at “The Gourmet Whaler” in Cold Spring Harbor, NY and then set off on the next leg of the journey which will be Cooperstown.