History Happenings | July 2015
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Rod Howe's Corner

From the Executive Director



Next time you visit The History Center take a gander at the "Looking Out From History" Gateway Center Mural on the side of the building facing Six Mile Creek.

Pictured: The Ithaca Kitty, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and The Sparrow Hawk

The mural was a collaboration between renowned muralist, Mariann Loveland; HOLT Architects; developers, Mack and Carol Travis; and THC. Represented are Elizabeth Beebe, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, George A. Johnson, Irene Castle, Leopold and Theodore Wharton, the Ithaca Kitty, Lilian Gowling Brewster, Elise Brooks, the Sparrow Hawk, and Ezra Cornell (if you do not recognize some of the names ask Kayla Sewell who you will find at the reception desk).The mural has been there for 12 years.


When visiting you might take another look at our permanent exhibit, Familiar Faces, which highlights a variety of individuals from Ithaca and Tompkins County.


"All History is Biography," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, which suggests a key way to think about local history. Your stories, your biographies, are the foundation of the richness of our collective history.


The History Center will be closed on Saturday, July 4th in celebration of the Independence Holiday .
Stay Safe and Enjoy Your Weekend!


A First Friday Gallery Night Event

 Maps of Early Ithaca and Tompkins County: 
Three Puzzles and an Uncovery

The History Center in Tompkins County

401 East State St, Suite 100

Ithaca, NY 14850


Friday, July 10th, 2015

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Presentation at 6:30 PM




Join us on Friday, July 10th, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM for the reopening of The History Center's Map Room! Several historic maps will be on display, including early Tompkins County and Ithaca City maps, as well as topographical maps. At 6:30 PM, Robert Kibbee, History Center trustee and former Cornell University Map Librarian will give a talk on some historic maps of Ithaca and Tompkins County, some newly discovered and some reinterpreted.


Light refreshments will be served.




For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 0

Preserving Your Heritage  
Paper and Photograph Conservation for Family Collections

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 East State Street, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850

Saturday, July 11th, 2015
11:00 AM

Family collections of letters, certificates, newspapers, and photographs contain a wealth of memories and treasures that document our heritage. With care, they can last a lifetime and be passed onto future generations.  Michele Hamill, Paper and Photograph Conservator, will describe how the paper and photograph collections at Cornell University Library are preserved and how you can use similar methods to preserve your personal and family collections of paper documents and photographs. Handouts will detail resources for the care of paper and photographs, as well as resources for preserving digital collections and audio/visual materials. 



For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 0

Digging Into Carrie's Diary
19th Century Life and Archaeology at the Eight Square School House
A Summer Camp

The Eight Square School House

1748 Hanshaw Road

Dryden, NY 13053


Monday - Friday

July 13th - 17th, 2015

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM



The Eight Square Schoolhouse has been home to our Living History Program for over 35 years. This summer we will explore activities based on the 1869 diary of thirteen year old Carrie Manning, a local farm girl who loved her family and friends, and left us a day by day glimpse of her life through her writing.


Pick herbs in our garden, make a 'graces' game to take home, create your own journal, write a letter in pen and ink, learn archaeological techniques, take home a copy of Carrie Manning's diary, and taste some 'delicate' cake! It all takes place at the History Center's historic octagonal one room schoolhouse!


Children will be able to compare their lives in the 21st century with Carrie's 19th century life, and gain an appreciation and understanding for how a child's world has changed, yet in many ways has remained the same over the centuries. Digging with a local archaeologist on our nearly two hundred year old site, the class will be able to understand Carrie's life from a scientific, as well as a social, context. 



WHEN:         Monday through Friday, July 13-17th, 2015


TIME:            9:00 AM - 3:00 PM


WHERE:       Eight Square Schoolhouse, 1748 Hanshaw Road, Dryden, NY


AGES:          Co-ed 8 to 13 year olds


FEE:             $225.00 / week

                     $195.00/week for two or more siblings

                     $50.00/day drop-in rate


                             Limit of 15 full week students/3 drop-in students per day




For more information, please contact Carole West, at 607.273.8284 ext. 3 or at


The Sewing Machine Paradox
A Lecture by Wendy Skinner, Founder and Director of SewGreen

The History Center in Tompkins County
401 East State Street, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
2:00 PM

With the exception of the clock, the sewing machine was 
the fi rst piece  of mechanical technology to become a household fixture. Even before its widespread use, the potential consequences of the sewing machine were both feared and revered. Tailors in France rebe lled against the machine, invading a factory and smashing the  devilish invention. Marx warned against its use to oppress workers. Gandhi saw it as a way to lift his people  from  oppression. Learn more about the sewing machine's paradoxical history and its influence in the home, in women's lives, and on workers around the world at the event The Sewing Machine Paradox  presented by Wendy Skinner, Founder and Director of SewGreen on Saturday, July 18th, 2015 at 2:00 PM at The History Center in Tompkins County.

SewGreen is a not-for-profit reuse/resale program for textiles, fiber, sewing supplies - and now art supplies. Located at 112 N Cayuga Street in downtown Ithaca NY. We offer classes in sewing and knitting, and provide jobs and apprenticeships for teens and young adults. Store hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM weekdays, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday, noon to 5:00 PM Sunday. www.sewgreen.org



For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 0

Find Our Booth!
The History Center at The Artists Market

The Farmers Market/Steamboat Landing
545 3rd Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

Friday, July 24th, 2015
2:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Each year, the Community Arts Partnership has an Ithaca Artists Market on the 24th of July at the Farmers Market. The Market is a juried show and sale of art from local artists and features local arts organizations. Add music, food, wine, and beer and you've got a must see event! The History Center will have a booth with photographs, books, and other items for sale - make sure to find us!



For more information, please contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 0

Archaeology at The Eight Square
A Week Long Adult Archaeology Program


The Eight Square Schoolhouse

1748 Hanshaw Road

Dryden, NY 13053


Monday - Friday

August 3rd - 7th, 2015

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM



Digging for information about local archaeology?

Come dig with us!


The History Center in Tompkins County is offering a one-week archaeology program to the public at the historic Eight Square Schoolhouse, a one-room school built in 1827 and used by generations of students and teachers. Brant Venables, Binghamton University Doctoral Candidate, will lead the camp in learning archaeological field techniques and research skills to develop new and exciting perspectives on local history. Participants will maintain and keep a field journal throughout the week. Participants will need to bring their own lunches. The History Center will provide cold drinks and snacks.


Field School Participants Can Expect:

* An introduction to local archaeology
* An opportunity to examine artifacts from The

  History Center's collections

* A history of the Eight Square School
* Excavation experience on the school house site
* A field trip to Robert Treman State Park Mill Museum 

  and walking tour of its archaeological sites



WHEN: Monday - Friday, August 3rd - 7th, 2015


TIME: 9:00 - 4:00 PM


WHERE: The Eight Square Schoolhouse - 1748 Hanshaw Road, Dryden, NY 13053

18 years old and up, camp limited to 10 participants


FEES: $150 for full week, 40% discount for returning participants, $35/day (minimum 2 days)


For more information, please contact Carole West at EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net or 607.273.8284 x 3

Local History Matters
Early Treasures from the Collection


The History Center in Tompkins County
401 E. State State, Suite 100
Ithaca, NY 14850


June 5th, 2015 through September 17th, 2015


The material culture of history is as varied as the people who live in a community. Objects from cookware to coverlets, from paintings to petticoats all tell the story of the people who came before us. History museums collect many things that don't always seem obviously "historical." But these artifacts reflect the myriad aspects of everyday life and teach us about how our predecessors lived, how they worked, what they wore, and what kind of people they were.

This exhibit features some of the oldest things in our collections and represents the many different kinds of things that we preserve. In addition to the many common articles we will display, we will highlight one item from our Special Collections: discharge papers from the Revolutionary War signed by General George Washington.


This exhibition  embodies the essence of a history museum's mission, and in so doing, shows the many ways there are to tell the story of our local community. 



Tompkins County is situated on what was formerly Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee homeland. These and earlier Native peoples left behind evidence of their presence that archaeologists have found and can interpret. Starting in July The History Center will be showing early Native American artifacts in our exhibit Local History Matters - Early Treasures from the Collection. We will be highlighting stone tools, some dating back as far as ca. 4000 BCE. These tools reflect the changing lifestyles of our predecessors on the land, including, in the words of Prof. Kurt Jordan of Cornell University, evidence of the "dynamic tradition of adaptation, innovation, and interconnection the ancestors of the Haudenosaunee had perpetuated since Ice Age times."




Opening First Friday Gallery Night, July 10th, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.


Special thanks go to Kurt Jordan and Fred Gleach, both of Cornell University, for their generous assistance with our Native American display.




Since 2010 archaeologists have identified two middens at the Eight Square Schoolhouse. Middens are what archaeologists call the garbage pits in which people dumped their trash on their own property before there were garbage collection programs to cart trash to landfills. Because children are often left out of the written record, the chance to excavate such a well-preserved site is a special opportunity to get a glimpse into what it was like to be a child in Tompkins County in the 19th century. Archaeologists excavated twice at the Eight Square and turned up fascinating traces of local school life. We are adding some of these traces to our current exhibit Local History Matters - Early Treasures from the Collection. These simple artifacts, like pencil stubs, a half of a clay marble, and the door to a wood or coal burning stove, teach us about everyday school life in the day of a 19th century local child.




Opening First Friday Gallery Night July 10th, from 5:00 to 8:00.




When you visit The History Center in Tompkins County be sure to answer a few questions at the front desk to be entered to win:

(1) an exclusive tour of our archives and collections

(2) in-house genealogical research on your family


(3) facilitated intergenerational historical dialogue among your relatives


Trust us - the questions are easy!


What is your favorite item in our current exhibition?

Why is it your favorite item?

What is one historical treasure in your home?


For more information, please contact Donna Eschenbrenner at Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net or call 607.273.8284 x 4

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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

The History Center is a proud member of the Discovery Trail 

With support from