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Program Schedule

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Week One in NYC: The Urban Landscape

Monday July 11: Welcome and Conceptual Overview

Participants arrive in New York City in time to attend an afternoon workshop led by Dr. Sheets and Dr. Storch introducing the institute’s key concepts. Teaching Connections: Sheets, Storch, and Maurer introduce project-related primary sources (paintings, lithographs, photographs) and model strategies for developing students' understanding of how meaning is given to different landscapes.

Tuesday, July 12: A Peopled Landscape

Dr. Hasia Diner and Dr. Marcy Sacks lead workshops to help participants understand the impact of migration and immigration on the era’s changing urban landscape. Teaching Connections: In an afternoon session at the National Archives, teachers participate in a hands-on primary source workshop with specially selected sources relating to the institute’s five themes.

Wednesday, July 13: The Industrial Landscape

Dr. Storch leads this workshop helping participants understand how the city’s industrial landscape transformed in this period due to its environment, new technologies, and business practices. Teaching Connections: Sheets, Storch, and Maurer facilitate hands-on exercises using historic city maps.

Thursday, July 14: A Leisured Landscape

Central Park, a man-made “natural” landscape reflecting the period’s responses to urbanization and emerging ideas of wilderness, is the site of a morning workshop on the history of the park led by Dr. Sheets and Dr. Storch. In the afternoon, Dr. Robert Snyder examines class and leisure in the city, with a focus on dance halls, saloons, clubs, nickelodeons, and Coney Island amusement parks that transformed sections of the city. Teaching Connections: Julie Maurer leads a mid-day walking tour of the park, paying particular attention to the section designed to replicate the Adirondack landscape.

Friday, July 15: A Political and Built Landscape

Participants tour the Museum at Eldridge Street and the Henry St. Settlement House (where the NAACP was organized) to understand the central role played by these institutions in shaping community identity and pushing policy reform. These morning tours set up our program led by Dr. Keith Revell who will organize a simulation of a c. 1900 municipal zoning committee hearing, enabling participants to role play the competing political dynamics determining the use of space in the urban setting. Teaching Connections: In the evening, participants begin the transition from an examination of the city to the Adirondacks by examining J.P. Morgan’s urban display of wealth and power (at the J.P. Morgan Library), preparing them for the comparison they will make to his Adirondack retreat, Camp Uncas, which they visit during week two.

Week Two in the Adirondacks: The Wilderness Landscape

Saturday, July 16: Changing Landscapes – Bus Ride to Adirondacks

Following the route nineteenth-century tourists would have traveled, participants take a five-hour chartered bus ride from Manhattan to Camp Huntington, located on Raquette Lake. Once in camp, Rhonda Pitoniak, SUNY Cortland Director of Environmental and Outdoor Education, provides an orientation to Camp Huntington, situated within the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

Sunday, July 17: Cultural Meaning of Wilderness and the Built Landscape

Dr. Philip Terrie leads an interactive discussion of Americans’ evolving ideas of wilderness. Teaching Connection: Pitoniak guides participants on an architectural tour of Camp Huntington, built by William West Durant in the 1870s and sold in 1895 to Collis P. Huntington, the Central Pacific Railroad magnate. A sea plane ride gives participants an eighteen-hundred feet aerial view of the immense Adirondack Park. The day ends with small group debriefing sessions.

Monday, July 18: A Peopled Landscape

The Adirondack Experience, a hands-on museum dedicated to the history of the region and located twenty minutes from Camp Huntington on Blue Mountain Lake, hosts teachers on its 121-acre campus featuring original Adirondack buildings relocated to the site, an exhibit narrating the Native American history of the region, and a first- class research library and archive to facilitate teachers' exploration of the region's history.

Dr. Scott Manning Stevens presents on the Native American experience in the Adirondacks, revising traditional scholarly accounts that had minimized their history in the region and in this period of U.S. history. Teaching Connection: Jennifer Donnelly leads a discussion of her young-adult novel A Northern Light, which explores the perspective of a young, Adirondack farm girl who has daily struggles with the land and vivid ideas of urban life and New York City's promise.

Tuesday, July 19: The Industrial Landscape

Teachers return to the Adirondack Experience to work with exhibit curators and archivists to understand the industrial story of the Adirondacks and its connection to New York City. Teaching Connections: Teachers work in the archive and library with museum staff to research the region’s industrial history.

Wednesday, July 20: A Leisured Landscape

Participants study two other Durant-built camps. Camps Sagamore and Uncas (owned by the Vanderbilts and J. P. Morgan, respectively) are both National Historic Landmark sites located four miles from Camp Huntington. Sagamore Institute educators conduct walking workshops, demonstrating how 19th century Americans domesticated the wilderness by building "civilized" retreats for their leisure pursuits. Teaching Connections: Sheets and Storch conduct site-specific workshops connecting readings to interpretations of the camps masculinized spaces. Following dinner, Sheets, Storch, and Maurer facilitate group project discussions drawing connections between Central Park and the Adirondack Park as leisure sites.

Thursday, July 21: A Political Landscape

Dr. Rebecca Edwards challenges participants to re-conceptualize the traditional narrative of the period by considering the historical use of land and environmental factors in shaping this period. Teaching Connections: Edwards facilitates an analysis of primary sources related to the 1894 New York State constitutional convention that resulted in the controversial “forever wild” amendment prohibiting Adirondack logging, a regional case study of the era’s national power dynamics.

Friday, July 22: The Urban and the Wild: Comparative Landscapes

Sheets and Storch lead a morning debriefing session on the comparative and interconnected exploration between the period’s urban and wilderness landscapes, with application to teaching. Friday afternoon, groups ready their culminating projects for their evening presentations. Their culminating projects allow teams to draw together their two-week study of the “urban” and “wild” with careful consideration to how people living in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era assigned meaning to place, created home and work environments, and legislated land use.

Saturday, July 23: Depart from Camp Huntington

Depart camp with stops at Albany, NY train station and airport.

 

NEH-Preferred-Seal820

Contact Information

Gonda Gebhardt, Project Coordinator
History Department
Old Main, Room 212-B
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045-0900
607-753-5918
commongroundneh@cortland.edu