This division of the Museum provides management support for a number of extension and outreach programs to museums, historical societies, local government historians, government agencies, and the general public. Most of these services are linked to mandates created in Education Law.
A museum or historical society that wishes to organize as a nonprofit education corporation must do so by petitioning the Board of Regents for the issuance of a charter. A charter is granted by the Board of Regents as an instrument of incorporation to museums and historical societies that satisfy Regents standards of organizational and educational quality. These standards are consistent with professionally accepted principles and practices as adopted by the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. To achieve them usually takes a period of development. For that reason chartering is a two-step process, from provisional to absolute.
is an officially-appointed office with mandated responsibilities to a network of 1,640 appointed local government historians. The State Historian represents the Commissioner of Education on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation and evaluates nominations to the National Register of Historic Places; serves on the State Committee on Geographic Names, the Heritage Areas Advisory Board, the NYS Military History Advisory Board, and other advisory bodies as may be required; serves as "point-of-contact" for legislative, press, and public inquiries on New York State history; offers programs in New York State history as requested and required in order to continue and expand a statewide public presence for the office and the Museum.
represent a network of 1,640 appointed historians. This constituency traditionally looks to the State Historian's Office to provide education, training, and expertise on a wide variety of subjects relevant to their responsibilities. It represents for the Museum a legally-mandated, state-wide, historical outreach program to every county and municipal jurisdiction in the state.
is established by Education Law within the Education Department to advise the United States Board on Geographic Names on issues relating to place names in New York. The Committee reviews proposals for new place names and maintains data on existing place names. Staff of the State Museum, State Library, State Archives, with one outside scholar serve on the Committee, with activities coordinated by the Museum. Research is often conducted to evaluate proposals for place name changes.
The Section 233 Permit Program provides for archeological and paleontological research on state lands and is coordinated by the State Museum. This program is mandated by Education Law and protects public cultural and geological resources.
Unlike many other states, New York State does not currently manage a historical marker program. Instead, local authorities are responsible for the approval, installation, and maintenance of historical markers. Anyone interested in placing or repairing a marker should thus check with appropriate county, city, town, or village historians or officials.
At present, local historians are working through the Association of Public Historians of New York State (www.aphnys.org) to develop standards and guidelines to ensure the quality and consistency of the many markers currently located on the New York landscape. Local historians and others often work with the private William G. Pomeroy Foundation (http://www.wgpfoundation.org/) to secure funding support for markers.
Although there is no comprehensive statewide list of historical markers, researchers and others interested in markers installed by the State Education Department between the years 1926 and 1939 can click on the following link Search Historic Markers
. A separate link
connects to a list of larger area markers that were installed by the State at roadside rest areas and roadside pull-offs during the 1960s. Neither list is actively maintained, and both contain references to markers that may no longer be in place. Some local governments make lists of markers in their jurisdictions available on their web sites or in publications.
Original paper files documenting the State Education Department's management of the 1926-39 marker program contain original applications, maintenance records, and correspondence. Researchers seeking access to these files should contact the New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center, Room 11A42, Albany, NY 12230; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone (518) 474 8955; website http://www.archives.nysed.gov.
Maintenance and Replacement
Local authorities maintain, repair, and replace historical markers often in cooperation with local historical groups and volunteers. Anyone interested in assisting with the repainting, repair, or replacement of a marker should contact the appropriate county, city, town, or village historian (see http://www.aphnys.org/find-an-histrorian). When restoring markers to their original color schemes, use standard Rustoleum colors for gloss finishes on exterior metals: “7727 Royal Blue” and “7747 Sunburst Yellow.” Likewise, anyone wishing to report a missing or damaged historical marker should contact the appropriate local historian.
History of Historical Markers in New York State
The following essay
was prepared by Phil Lord, Jr., in 1996.