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What Our 2013 NEH Summer Scholars Had to Say:

“The Forever Wild seminar has affected me like no other. I am a stronger teacher of the Gilded Age because of this week.”

“This was by far the best seminar and learning experience I have ever had as an adult.”

"The directors Dr. Kevin Sheets and Dr. Randi Storch and their assistant Kerri Freese were amazing--they were enthusiastic, generous, fun-loving, hard-working, passionate and well-organized in executing the program."

"The visiting faculty were intense and highly qualified to speak on the topics they did. The readings they assigned were excellent and will be highly adaptable as references in my classroom."

"The participants were amazing--it was a history nerd extravaganza in the best possible way."

"The activities were sublime--from touring the great camps to the excellent Adirondacks Museum to kayaking and swimming in Raquette Lake before breakfast--sublime!"

"This was simply a superb institute and experience. It will PROFOUNDLY affect my teaching of the Gilded Age and the beginnings of environmentalism in our history."

"The directors were knowledgeable, hands-on, and very engaging. They did not pontificate, but rather created wonderful lectures and groups that we as participants could actively be involve in as well as thrive in. The visiting faculty were outstanding, the use of primary source materials valuable, and the mix of colleagues was second to none. It was a pleasure to be around all the participants, faculty, and staff."

 

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program and website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Overview

Only a few Americans at the turn of the century ever received the engraved invitation to join these Gilded Age elites at their “great camps” nestled deep in New York’s Adirondack forest.  For those favored guests of Uncas, Camp Pine Knot, and Sagamore, the trip by train, steamboat and carriage brought them out from soot-choked skies clouding industrial America to the pristine and unspoiled wilderness.  But what did they see when they arrived?

Join your “Forever Wild” colleagues for a week at the Great Camps of the Adirondacks to explore Gilded Age America from the unique perspective of the wilderness. These camps, now all National Historic Landmark sites, preserve the original buildings and serve as “history labs” for us to puzzle through the ironies and historic themes related to the Gilded Age's American “wilderness.” Morgan’s guests no doubt imagined the wilderness as a retreat to a virgin forest with restful and curative powers. But did they also see industrialization transforming the Adirondack region?  Did any of Vanderbilt’s companions, who embraced the raw and untamed wilderness as a test of manhood, nod with a note of irony at the two-lane private outdoor bowling alley erected on the banks of the Sagamore Lake? In what ways was their fantasy of “roughing it” in the wild undermined by the army of cooks, laundresses, maids, and caretakers who worked behind the scenes? Forever Wild explores the meaning of “wilderness” by anchoring the Adirondacks into its historical context to reveal the political, economic, social, and cultural history of this real and imagined landscape.

When will Forever Wild take place?

There are two, one-week opportunities to participate in this unique workshop. You can choose from Sunday, July 12th through Saturday, July 18th or Sunday, July 19th through Saturday, July 25th. Because of the remote nature of the camp, you will not be able to join late in the week or leave early. Please indicate your week's preference on your application form.