Visiting Namygal Monastery
Almost thirty Tompkins County residents met up on Ithaca's South Hill despite a bitterly cold and windy day to tour and learn about a unique part of our local history: the Namygal Monastery.
The only monastery outside Asia in service of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan monks, the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies opened in Ithaca in 1992. It moved from the Fall Creek neighborhood to right off Danby Road in 2004. The Du Khor Choe Ling -- which means the Land of Kalachakra Study and Practice -- is 28 acres of forest land containing the institute and soon the Library and Museum of His Holiness. When asked why he chose Ithaca over a large American city, His Holiness said this location required people who wanted to learn to really travel to seek their knowledge, in addition to Ithaca being a place devoted to education and nature.
The monks and staff warmly welcomed us and brought us into the worship space, a brightly colored space full of natural light, altars, tapestries illustrating some of Buddhism's many deities, and a sand mandala. (This monastery is where people travel from all over the world to study the most complex mandala practice, in addition to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, meditation, and more.)
They then shared with us some of the history of the three monasteries, the first two being located in Lhasa, Tibet and Dharamsala, India. The head monk led a five-minute silent meditation, then explained many items around the room including sacred texts, each hung in their own hand-sewn pouch. We enjoyed cookies and chai tea and continued to chat with two monks and the office manager until it was time to bundle back up. It was an experience that remains with those of us who participated. They reminded us the monastery is open to all and the guidance of the monks is available to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. They hold an open meditation every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:15 to 6:00 pm, in addition to private meeting with monks and educational courses.
February Move Update
The staff is still working out of the Gateway Center on East State/Martin Luther King, Jr. Street. The offices will move on Friday, February 22, at which point all meetings and communications will be in the Tompkins Center for History and Culture, at 110 North Tioga Street on the Ithaca Commons.
The research library, archives, exhibits, and retail store are closed to the public, but staff are available via phone or email.
Retail sales continue via phone, email, and social media, with an online store coming soon. The History Center cannot accept any new donations
until after the move. The opening dates for the museum, research library, and archives will be announced over the next few months.
Packing of artifacts continues and the moving has begun, under the supervision of Donna Eschenbrenner, Director of Archives and Research Services, with the help of incredible volunteers.
The History Center can
especially utilize volunteers
February 21, 22, 23, and 24 for packing, moving, and unpacking, or Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays throughout March for unpacking and shelving the collections. If you are willing to get a little dusty in support of Tompkins County history, please respond to this or email
net with your availability. Service groups are welcome!
History Happenings will be again published bimonthly starting March 1.
Recruiting Heritage Ambassadors
Training Begins Soon!
The History Center in Tompkins County and Historic Ithaca partner for the third time to train Tompkins County
Ambassadors, who support Ithaca
Heritage events and the county's broader
This six-week training program is a free, fun, and engaging opportunity for interested area residents. It introduces volunteers to Tompkins County's
history and rich
. Past sessions have focused on the county's people, land, architecture, culture, enterprise, and more.
training runs six consecutive Wednesdays, beginning February 27, 2019 and ending April 3, 2019. All meetings are held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at a downtown Ithaca location TBD.
Once the training is completed,
Ambassadors serve as volunteer docents for Ithaca
Heritage, Historic Ithaca, and The History Center public events, including HI's That Old House Tour, THC's HistoryForge Days, and Ithaca
You'll join a motivated group of more than two dozen already-trained
eager to share area history with residents and visitors.
Martha Preston, a 2017 Tompkins County
Ambassador, said: "The Tompkins County
Ambassador program offers a wonderful opportunity to learn and share interesting information and insights about our diverse community! I've always been a local history enthusiast so now I am thrilled to have access to the resources and opportunities to gain knowledge for my own curiosity, and to share that knowledge with other longtime county residents, as well as newcomers and visitors!"
To participate in the Spring 2019
training, submit the electronic application at
by Thursday, February 21, 2019.
Engaging History with Carol Kammen
Thursday, February 14, 12:00 to 1:15 PM (TCPL, Schwarz Jacobson Meeting Room,
101 East Green Street, Ithaca, NY 14850)
Carol Kammen presents documents from the county's past for reading aloud and discussion. Participants are encouraged to think about what the documents meant at the time of their creation, and to discover what they might tell us here and now.
HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturday, February 16, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (The
History Center in Tompkins County, 110 East State Street, Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850)
Come volunteer at our next transcription bee! This will be the final HistoryForge at the "old" location. Light refreshments will be served with lots of fun and an educational opportunity that will make Ithaca history come alive. Bring a laptop if possible.
Wednesday, February 20, 4:00 to 5:00 PM (The History Center
in Tompkins County
, 110 East State Street, Suite 100, Ithaca, NY 14850)
As The History Center moves into our new location, we are developing a new docent program for the museum space within the Tompkins Center for History & Culture. It won't be a one-size-fits-all opportunity. Some will specialize around the "Tommy" plane, others will assist in the children's area or at the greeting desk. High school and college classes and seasonal availability can all be worked around. If you're interested in being a part of orienting visitors with the county's history and culture, please attend this meeting to share input on the docent program as it develops. If you cannot attend, please email Community@TheHistoryCenter.net with your interests and ideas.
Tompkins County Genealogy Society Meeting
Wednesday, February 20, 6:00 to 7:30 PM (TCPL, BorgWarner Room West, 101 East Green Street, Ithaca, NY 14850)
Bob Kibbee and Steve Bissen will give a presentation on HistoryForge. Following the presentation, there will be an open discussion session for attendees to ask questions about the HistoryForge project, genealogy in general, or to talk about their own research. All are welcome.
Achieving Beulah Land - A History of Suffrage Activities in Tompkins County
Saturday, March 23, 4:00 to 5:00 PM (TCPL, BorgWarner Room East, 101 East Green Street, Ithaca, NY 14850)
The History Center is proud to be a sponsor for this event, organized by the League of Women Voters in Tompkins County. Drawing from their recently published book,
Achieving Beulah Land: The Long Struggle for Suffrage in Tompkins County, New York
, Cornell Library Archivist Emerita Elaine Engst and Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen will share the story of the suffrage movement as it unfolded in New York State, in Tompkins County and at Cornell University.
What is our Next Taughannock Giant?
Friday, March 29 & Saturday, March 30 (Tompkins Center for History & Culture, 110 North Tioga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850)
For many years Ithaca hosted "Light in Winter" which creatively linked art, science and culture. The History Center, via the Ithaca Heritage brand, plans to offer an annual event that builds from Light in Winter and from The History Center's successful March 2018 event entitled "Rod Serling and Carl Sagan: Bridging Imagination and Science." The 2019 focus is on "What is our next Taughannock Giant?" Ithaca and Tompkins County are unique in that we are known as a community where science, wonder and culture get interwoven in exciting and dynamic ways. Friday evening's Taughannock Giant panel will explore the intersection of culture, science, history and tourism. A Saturday morning family activity with Corinne Stern of FLOOF Collage pARTy will involve building mini-giants from found and scavenger material. A facilitated discussion Saturday afternoon will highlight "giants" in community past and present. A replica of the original Taughannock Giant is in the process of being made by artist Annmarie Zwack and sculptor Durand Van Doren. There will also be an exciting announcement about populating our landscape with Taughannock Giants. Look for more information in our March 1 newsletter. This program was made possible in part by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program.
Follow the Ithaca Kitty's Adventures? Create More Kitties!
Ithaca Kitty can't wait to move to its new home within the Tompkins Center for History and Culture. Want to help him get there and all over the county? Host a Kitty-Thon! You sew and stuff kitties to fundraise for THC as Phyllis Smith-Hansen shares history with your group.
Learn more from J.T. Stone's
Ithaca Voice article
Friends of the Library's
November 18 Kitty-Thon. Then reply to this newsletter or email Community@TheHistoryCenter.net to schedule your very own Kitty-Thon.
Update from the Youth Ambassadors
The Youth Ambassadors are halfway through their pilot program year.
They have been exploring topics of interest in local history, and will be putting that exploration into action this spring. Together as a group, they are designing a project that will engage the community in some aspect of local history and make connections to current events. Stay tuned to see what they have in store.
The History Center in Tompkins County's Youth Ambassador Program brings together local youth to explore key themes from our history and gain experience using a historical framework to connect our past, present, and future.
Share Ithaca Love With Your Love(s)
Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day with your
significant other, children, or Galentines, consider
Ithaca Our Home (A Forty Year Musical Odyssey in Tompkins County)
by Johnny Russo as a gift. This combination book and 18-song CD costs only $22 including tax. It can be picked up at the "old" location on East State Street or shipped.
Save The Date: More 2019 Events
Celebrating History Gala
April 11, 5:00-7:30 PM at the TCHC
Ithaca Heritage Tasting & Cocktail Tour
April 13, 2:30-5:00 PM around the Ithaca Commons
Tompkins Center for History &
May 10, 5:00-7:00 PM at the TCHC