Historian Puts a ‘Premium on Empathy’

By Matthew Colon

During a recent visit to the Captain David Crawford House, headquarters of the Newburgh Historical Society, Dr. Kevin M. Burke became another of many natives to admire the award-winning exhibit, “Growing Up in Newburgh.” Unlike most visitors whom may have been motivated by nostalgia, Dr. Burke as a professional historian is equally interested in how the historical record becomes the starting point for a conversation. Continue reading

The price of beauty: birds, feathers, eradication and conservation

By Matthew Colon

The price of beauty commonly refers to an individual’s cost of attractiveness. It frequently becomes the punch line as we force ourselves to accept discomfort. The “price” can also refer to the large amount of money one spends on maintaining attractiveness, how health may be affected by certain beauty practices or, more broadly, society’s role in it all. Sometimes, however, the demand for attractiveness goes beyond individual sacrifice and takes a toll on the environment enough to lead to extinction, murder, prison and inspire acts of conservation. Continue reading

Social Media Does Not Belong at Our History Organizations?

By Matthew Colon

Social media has no place in the office! It’s a distraction! I’ve heard this in some form or another from a variety of museum professionals. Their message was that unless you were hired with the purpose of managing an organization’s online image, then engaging in the internet’s social world may lead to no good. Horror stories that include public shaming and job terminations may have accompanied breakroom conversations. There’s also the claim that social media doesn’t bring people through the doors of our historic houses, sites and museums. Numbers matter. Continue reading

We Quizz the Public Strolling Through Downing Park

By Matthew Colon

I surveyed a total of 100 visitors to Newburgh’s memorial Downing Park for a good reason: while researching a topic to write about or develop into a presentation, I seek insight. Whether that be insight into a time period, an object or person, I look through many sources for commonalities to thread into a narrative. It doesn’t hurt to consider the topic’s historiography; regarding how historians have researched or written about a topic. Over time, interests begin to expand, narrow or change altogether. Then there is the audience to consider. What have they chosen to read, listen in on or remember? Continue reading

Picture Gallery: Planning a Walking Tour of St. George’s Cemetery

By Matthew Colon

On July 12th, the Newburgh Historical Society and St. George’s Episcopal Church are leading a walking tour of St. George’s Cemetery. It is a collaborative effort that involved many people to plan what will be a wonderful event. Four tour guides will lead members of the public for a half mile walk through one of Newburgh’s remarkable cemeteries. Along the way, the history of Newburgh will be told through the stories of select citizens from the American Revolution through the present. Continue reading

Growing Up In Newburgh: Past Meets the Present

By Matthew Colon

Nostalgia is something that we all experience. These pleasant recollections accompanied by moving emotions may affect us at random times. This was the case for me when I visited a local ninth grade classroom during a creative writing lesson plan this week. Sometimes, the feeling is so perfect I get the sense that nostalgia seeks us out. Other times, we seek out nostalgia, which is the case for a new exhibit by the Newburgh Historical Society titled, “Growing Up In Newburgh,” opening on Sunday, June 7th, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Continue reading