History Happenings | August, 2014
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Career Opening
Executive Director Position Open


The Board of Trustees of The History Center in Tompkins County seeks a dynamic executive director who will work with the board and staff to carry out the Center's mission in a manner respectful of the past and adventurous about the future. She/He will work within a broad network of community partners from regional cultural institutions, universities, foundations, and local governments.

In order to succeed in this position, the executive director must be a leader committed to partnership and community, proficient in fundraising, and able to articulate the vision of The History Center to its diverse array of stakeholders.  Interested candidates must possess effective nonprofit management experience, preferably in an educational or cultural environment, and should be able to demonstrate success in building relationships with diverse constituencies and community organizations.


The History Center in Tompkins County is an equal-opportunity employer. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.  Application deadline is August 29, 2014.    For more information and application instructions, see

Captains, Commerce, and Community
The Impact of the Erie Canal on Tompkins County

New Exhibition Opening Reception
Friday, September 5th, 2014 
5pm - 8pm


401 E. State /MLK Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


The History Center in Tompkins County will open their new exhibit Captains, Commerce, and Community:  The Impact of the Erie Canal on Tompkins County on Friday, September 5th at 5PM.  The artifact-based exhibit will explore the lasting effects of the Erie Canal on Tompkins County.


In 1820 the Seneca-Cayuga Canal, an extension of the Erie Canal, was opened, connecting Cayuga Lake, and therefore Tompkins County to the economic watercourse that spanned across most of New York State. Combined with the increasing ubiquity of railroads, the Canal system changed Tompkins County from a collection of quiet lake-side towns into a mass of booming centers of commerce and industry. Captains, Commerce, and Community will illustrate the changes and affects the Canal had on this region through representational artifacts from The History Center's object collection. A series of themes will be explored over the course of the 12-month exhibit, which includes commerce (September through December 2014), boats and their builders (January through April 2015), and travelers and community folk (May through August 2015).


This exhibit has been made possible through a generous grant from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. In 2012 the ECNHC funded the development of a Canalway object collection, and provided The History Center the opportunity to gain greater intellectual control over its object collection. Additionally, the project supported the complete inventorying of The History Center's permanent Open Storage display. As a result, The History Center has ascertained a classifiable collection of historical objects that directly relate to the Erie Canal.


For more information, please contact Catherine Duffy, Curator, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or welcome@TheHistoryCenter.net. 


For more information on the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridore visit:  www.eriecanalway.org.

Lev Theremin
Sound, Science, and Espionage

A Switched-On Public Event 
Thursday, August 28th, 2014
at 7pm 


401 E. State/MLK Street, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850


Peter Rothbart, Professor of Music Theory, History, and Composition at Ithaca College's School of Music will discuss the fascinating and controversial life of Leon Theremin, the Russian innovator, international spy, and inventor of the only musical instrument played without being touched.


Join us for this special event that honors Bob Moog's favorite musical instrument, the theremin. Participants will even have a chance to play the instruments!


Free and open to the public.


For more information, contact Catherine Duffy, Curator at 607.273.8284 x0, or welcome@TheHistoryCenter.net


This program is done in partnership with the Bob Moog Foundation:  http://moogfoundation.org/

Take Our History Forward with a gift to The History Center. Your gifts support history education at its finest. To learn more, please click here!
Cornell Cinema Film Series
A Celebration of the Moog Synthesizer

Movies in Music History!
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Eric and Mary Ross Ultimedia Concert
Friday, September 12th, 2014

104 Willard Straight Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

This series is presented in conjunction with The History Center in Tompkins County's exhibition Switched-On: The Birth of the Moog Synthesizer, taking place in downtown Ithaca through May 31, 2015. Telling the story of Bob Moog and the development of the groundbreaking electronic instruments bearing his name, Switched-On provides museum-goers an interactive, engaging opportunity to learn about this important chapter of the region's history. 


The series at Cornell Cinema features the Eric and Mary Ross Ultimedia Concert on September 12th, a special electronic music performance with composer and master thereminist Eric Ross and his Avant Ensemble, including Trevor Pinch (Cornell) and Peter Rothbart (IC). The evening will include music on the theremin (considered the first widespread electronic instrument, which Moog updated decades later), as well as analog and digital synths, guitars, percussion and electronic wind instruments, and will be accompanied visually with work by the late video/computer artist Mary Ross, whose work will be deposited in Cornell's Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art. The event is co-sponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts and the Rose Goldsen Lecture Series.


Tickets for the Eric and Mary Ross Ultimedia Concert are $12 general, $10 for students and seniors, and are available online at CornellCinemaTickets.com. No comps, guest passes or Six Passes.

The series also includes three films. The Day the Earth Stood Still features master film composer Bernard Herrmann's classic sci-fi score with music for two theremins, three organs, two pianos, two harps, three timpani, four tubas, strings, guitar and more. Elektro Moskva explores the wired world of avant garde rock musicians, DIY circuit benders, vodka-swilling dealers, and urban archaeologists/collectors, who are all fascinated with obsolete Soviet-era electronic synthesizers that were the by-product of the KGB and Soviet military. Apocalypse Now Redux features "an impressive and imposing synth-driven soundtrack created, for the most part, by Coppola himself and his composer father, Carmine." (musicradar.com)


The first film in this series will be The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), directed by Robert Wise, with an introduction by Prof Charles Van Loan (Computer Science). The world is thrown into hysterics when a spaceship lands in Washington, D.C. and from it emerges a human-looking alien, Klaatu, and his intimidating robot, Gort. A sci-fi classic for the ages!      


For more information, contact Catherine Duffy, Curator at 607.273.8284 x0, or welcome@TheHistoryCenter.net


For a complete listing of showtimes and ticket prices, visit Cornell Cinema:  http://cinema.cornell.edu/


Done in partnership with the Bob Moog Foundation:  http://moogfoundation.org/

Clash of Civilizations Book Group
Community Reading Project at The History Center

Come read with us!
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
6:30pm - 8pm


401 E. State/MLK Street, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


This year The History Center in Tompkins County is proud to join Cornell University Library and the Tompkins County Public Library as a partner in the 2014 Community Reading Project. This year's selection is "Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio", by Amara Lakhous, a novel that "concerns a small culturally mixed community living an apartment building in the center of Rome that is thrown into disarray when one of the neighbors is murdered." The community discussion will include how we determine truth in historical and social contexts, and how nationality, race, age, and gender may impact how truth is interpreted and understood.


Africana Library Director, Eric Kofi Acree and Tompkins County Public Library Reference Librarian, Teresa Vadakin will lead a discussion at The History Center on "Clash of Civilizations", Tuesday, October 7, 2014 beginning at 6:30PM. Free books are available for pick up at The History Center, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between 11AM and 5PM. Please note that registration is required and space is limited.


For more information or to register, please contact Kayla Sewell, at 607.273.8284 ext. 0 or at



To learn more about the Community Reading Project, visit:  blogs.cornell.edu/reading2014/


This program is in partnership with The New Student Reading Project, Cornell University Library, and Tompkins County Public Library.

Finding Aids
New Edition to the History Center's Website

Archivists prepare guides to archival and manuscript collections called finding aids. These typically contain a brief description of the collection as well as a list of the contents that tell users how the collection is structured and where to find particular materials in it. They often describe the people or institutions that are highlighted in the collection. They are indispensable tools for historical research, and at The History Center, we are trying to make our finding aids more accessible to researchers everywhere. We recently expanded our website to include a partial list of our finding aids. Simply go to www.thehistorycenter.net, click on our Research Library page, then click on the link for Finding Aids, and browse. We will be enlarging the list over the next few months as we add to it.

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The History Center in Tompkins County

401 E. State/MLK Jr. St.
Suite 100 

Ithaca, NY  14850

In the Gateway Center, just one block from The Ithaca Commons.
Free parking available in the rear lot.


Phone. 607.273.8284  


Hours: Tues, Thurs, Sat from 11-5pm and by appointment

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