Project Definition (12/03)
The Colonial Albany Social History Project is a model community history program. The Colonial Albany Project promotes human understanding by interpreting the history of the people of a broadly constituted and dynamic community that was the center of a large and emerging region over a two-hundred-year-period. The Colonial Albany Project was formed in 1980 for the purpose of reconstructing a people-centered portrait of life as it existed in the city of Albany, New York before the Industrial Revolution.
In order to understand that experience, the Colonial Albany Project has undertaken a comprehensive program of historical research. Information recovered from a structured search of primary sources provides a basis for telling the story of the people of colonial Albany and the world in which they lived. In the process, the project has created a new and unique set of resources. These resources inform comprehensive person portraits for each of the people of colonial Albany and enable the project to represent their life experiences to diverse audiences including heritage groups, scholars, and the residents of Albany today. The project employs a range of innovative programming ideas in order to reach the broadest possible range of potential audiences. At the same time, project programming is experimental in that new research methodologies, delivery formats, and resources are enlisted in an effort to promote history consciousness, heighten interest, increase understanding, and broaden participation. The Colonial Albany Project is a research and field services program of the New York State Education Department and is located in the New York State Museum's Historical Survey.
The Colonial Albany Social History Project was formed in response to three historical problems encountered by the project director. The first followed Stefan Bielinski's biography of an eighteenth century political leader published in 1975 by the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission as Abraham Yates, Jr. and the New Political Order in Revolutionary New York. The Yates study raised the question of why the people of colonial Albany turned away from a way of life that they had created and that seemed to work for them and became revolutionaries and supporters of the cause of American independence. During the early 1970s, Bielinski initiated research on local revolutionary leaders in the hope of answering that question. In the process, he assembled a comprehensive archive of document copies related to Abraham Yates, Jr. and a library of relevant historical materials. Although research in these sources yielded some information on the community's political culture and helped him develop a perspective on individual political ideology, it did not reveal why the rhetoric of spokesmen such as Yates was persuasive to the ordinary people to whom they preached. Scholarship directed at leaders and other elites, regardless of how tightly focused, could unravel only a narrow strand of the overall community mystery. The Yates project made clear that the life experiences of the rank-and-file community members themselves must be considered in order to address the question of motivation. The Yates study also revealed that substantial records and even literary historical resources existed that had not been utilized in previous works on early Albany. While often based on substantial research, all of the traditional literature had ignored important historical resources. Later, these unknown, untouched, or underutilized historical resources would form the backbone of the research plan implemented by the Colonial Albany Social History Project.
A second historical theme concerned the supposed transformation of culture in provincial New York from a "Dutch" to an "English" frame of reference or the so-called process of "Anglicization" as identified by John M. Murrin in an article first presented in 1973 and later popularized by Michael Kammen in his survey entitled Colonial New York: A History. In 1978, Stefan Bielinski began to study the impact made on the so-called Dutch trading community of Albany by Anglo-Saxon-ancestry newcomers during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In 1979, Bielinski presented a paper entitled "Urban Britons in a Dutch Village: Anglicization in Colonial Albany," at the annual meetings of the New York State Studies Group and the Social Science History Association. The resulting commentary prompted further inquiry which revealed that, although the cultural character of the community did change over time, the new way of life was neither Dutch nor English. Instead, an American cultural paradigm had been evolved in response to New World conditions and new needs. As time passed, the gap between British expectations and the reality of the American experience caused a divergence of Old and New World cultures. This evolutionary process has been a major theme in American history. A broadly based understanding of the lives of the diverse settlers and residents of colonial Albany will provide a laboratory for observing this phenomenon over two centuries.
A third more general theme addressed the status of colonial Albany as a frontier outpost and commercial and transportation crossroads, and included its role in the hundred years of warfare between Great Britain and France. Because Albany was a garrison town and, during the colonial wars - a staging area for operations against the French, soldiers in the city were an ongoing reality of life. The relationship of the army to the people of the community was a significant theme in Albany's development. Bielinski's study of Abraham Yates, Jr., and particularly of his career as county sheriff during the 1750s, brought into question the place of the rights of civilians in the face of the wartime needs of the British army. This inquiry was informed by Yates's manuscript journal and copybook for 1754-59 which offered a focused and highly illuminating look at wartime activities and at civil-military relations. Yates was an extremist in his feelings on the primacy of civil authority and his views are clearly articulated in his journal. But how did his neighbors feel about their place in the British Empire and also about the powers and responsibilities of large British and colonial armies which descended on their community during the Seven Years War? This issue is critical to understanding Albany's support of opposition to new British colonial legislation during the 1760s and 1770s.
The Colonial Albany Project crystallized at a time when historical inquiry in the United States was undergoing a dramatic transformation. During the 1970s, historians across the country were able to shed new light on the American past by broadening their concern beyond the leadership echelon of American society and beyond the great moments, documents, and institutions that survive as the legacies of our so-called "founding fathers." Traditionally, these had been the guiding parameters of historical research. The "new" historians sought to understand the development of American civilization by studying the individual and collective experiences of the ordinary people - of the so-called followers rather than the leaders. Since these common folk constitute the vast majority of any society, their life stories are critical to understanding the character and quality of life in the past. Evolving from studies focused on the dynamics of town life in seventeenth and eighteenth century New England, by the mid-1980s this comprehensive and personally focused approach to research and analysis had turned the historical profession upside down. Over the last two decades, the "history from the bottom up" approach has been employed with great success by historians and has become a mainstream scholarly genre still known as the "New Social History."
Inspired by the more broad concerns and personal focus of the scholarship of the new social historians, Stefan Bielinski continued to pursue the research agenda outlined above by searching for information on the everyday lives of the rank-and-file people of eighteenth century Albany. That search drove him backward in time to the European origins of their ancestors (Albany's so-called original settlers) and, from there, forward through their experiences over the next two centuries in America. In the process, he was able to identify a large volume of previously unused records relating to seventeenth and eighteenth century Albany in source repositories across North America and abroad. The volume and diversity of these resources were staggering. After some study, it became clear that a comprehensive community study of colonial Albany could yield significant revisionist findings if the resources to undertake such massive research and analysis could be assembled. However, after some inquiry it became clear that funding support for such an undertaking would prove extremely difficult in the cultural climate of Ronald Reagan's America.
A cooperative approach to the research based on identifying new sources of energy might mediate immense labor requirements if such an effort could be comprehensively conceptualized, efficiently organized, and strategically managed. The Colonial Albany Project's record in this area is chronicled in subsequent sections describing "Resources."
Because of the heterogeneity of the original settlers, constant immigration and migration, and the fragmentary and dislocated nature of documentary records and material legacies, no one yet had been able to implement a community resources-based study of an important Middle Colonies community. Nor had anyone achieved comprehensive demographics as the basis for studying the community-building experiences of the people of any New York, Pennsylvania, of New Jersey pre-urban center. At the same time, no one had been able to place a middle-sized early American community in its appropriate place within regional, provincial, and intercolonial contexts. The research objectives of the Colonial Albany Project directly address these questions.
The general program of the Colonial Albany Social History Project is modeled on features of a number of pathbreaking historical efforts in operation during the 1970s and 1980s. The Colonial Albany Project has moved beyond the purely scholarly goals of the Philadelphia Social History Project and has incorporated some of the public programming and service initiatives employed by the Queens Social History Project, the New York Chinatown History Project, the Broome County Immigration History Project, and other community-based programs focused on the history of Baltimore, Alexandria, Virginia, and Phoenix. The Colonial Albany Project gratefully acknowledges the inspiration of these programs and also the research insights derived from colonial Chesapeake studies undertaken in association with the St. Mary's City Commission (Maryland), the York County Project at Colonial Williamsburg, and the English local history movement as embodied in Local History Magazine and in The Local Historian journal published by the British Association for Local History. The Colonial Albany Project has fortified its program with the most appropriate elements of those pioneering experiences. As a result, the Colonial Albany Project has been able to develop a new set of historical resources, share these resources while the research continues, communicate new historical insights to diverse scholarly and public audiences, and provide a training ground and laboratory for historians and inquiries reflecting the broadest range of the historical community and consciousness.
The activities of the Colonial Albany Project (CAP) are inspired by the goal of the New Social History to foster understanding in the world today by presenting a comprehensive story of the dynamics of people living together in the past. Specific project goals are:
1. To comprehend a full range of life experiences (from birth to death - or the lifecourse) for all of the people who lived in the city of Albany prior to its period of industrialization (generally involving those born prior to 1800). These comprehensive lifecourse biographies for all community members are based on an exhaustive search of documentary and material resources.
2. To instill an appreciation of their historical experiences broadly across society today by raising issues relating to important life themes, to the roles of kinship, community, ambitions and interests, and the impact of attitudes and emotions through the use of learner-based programming ideas and innovative presentation formats.
3. To establish new professional standards for community history research, programming, and community involvement.
4. To provide training and a range of historical services for the people of Albany today, the residents of New York State, and beyond by serving as a model community history program.
Audiences (4/94; revised 9/15)
The Colonial Albany Project directs its programming across a broad audience spectrum by including all members of the early Albany community in its inquiry and by making its resources and services readily available and widely accessible. Project programming and services are dedicated to providing a personally relevant past for diverse audiences. CAP programs and services are intended to benefit a wide range of people both individually and in groups. In support of the State history office's mission to promote history consciousness and to provide historical services for the people of New York State, four specific audience groups receive particular emphasis in the development of CAP resources, programs, and services. These are the scholarly community of professional historians, locally appointed historians across New York State, teachers of history and social studies, and the people of Albany and of New York State today. Beyond those core audience groups, the project has a special relevance for descendants of the people of colonial Albany - who represent a population today of staggering dimensions; and to the members of diverse heritage groups including fraternal, religious, and activity organizations, sons and daughters of antiquity, youth organizations, and centers for the elderly and disabled - to name only a few. The absence of the term "minorities" should not be surprising as we understand that the majority experience of any larger social group is based on the melding of maybe countless minority groups. In short, all people are different in some significant way. To call them simply "Dutch," "Black," "Patriots or Tories" - and an almost endless list of tags and/or labels, is to grossly oversimplify their heritage, abilities, experience, and maybe countless additional variables. This premise enjoins (or at least cautions) us from using those labels beginning with "Majority." [ ? ].
Scholarly concerns share center stage with the promotion of humanism in all Colonial Albany Project activities. An understanding and appreciation of the life experiences of the people of colonial Albany is the central focus of all project operations. The CAP is a manifestation of the State Museum's commitment to advancing new understanding of the diverse people of New York State in historical perspective. Because its most substantial historical resources are comprehensive biographical profiles of each person who lived in the community accompanied by material perspectives on their lives, the CAP has created a historical resource that is unique in the United States today and is frequently consulted by scholars, institutions, descendants, and enthusiasts. To know and to appreciate the lives of all of the people of seventeenth and eighteenth century Albany is the project's primary research goal. To understand the world in which they lived and to set the people of colonial Albany in appropriate historical contexts constitute close corollaries. As a result of completed and projected research and analysis, no complex early American community will have a more comprehensively defined socioeconomic character or well-articulated cultural identity. Project resources and programs provide scholars with new perspectives on the roles of local institutions, kinship and other social networks, on interpersonal relationships among community residents, and between people and their environments.
Sponsored by the State Museum as a model community history program, the Colonial Albany Social History Project provides direct service in support of a provision in the State Education Law that empowers the State Historian to provide guidance and training for the more than 1,600 locally appointed county and municipal historians in New York State. The operations of the CAP provide working models for community-based activities in project conceptualization and organization, research design and methodologies, information management, interpretive programming, community outreach, and public service. The ongoing success of the CAP demonstrates the validity of community-based history programs and documents the vital role that historians can play in any community. These models also can benefit other family, community, and local historians - whether they are motivated by professional interests, heritage, or personal curiosity. The CAP is committed to training community historians and provides educational services and support whenever possible. Social studies teachers are advised how to adapt the community history framework to their classroom situations. The operations of the CAP are directly applicable to the programs of historical societies, to other history and heritage groups, and to more general membership organizations as well.
In addition to scholars, teachers, and organized history and historical organizations, the CAP presents programs intended directly for individuals with a wide range of needs. The Colonial Albany Project serves residents of New York State today and also those with personal, professional, and recreational interests in the region. The CAP provides people living in Albany today with a historical perspective on their home place and particularly on the way of life that evolved in one of the oldest American cities. The insights CAP programs offer on life and on community dynamics provide an essential substance for understanding personal heritage and community identity. Albany's modern character as a center of government, services, and communications is the product of over 300 years of community life. The social fabric of the city has undergone dramatic changes since the seventeenth century and continues to evolve as more people have begun to seek out urban residences and as public and private sector enterprises are becoming reestablished in a revitalized city. The project helps provide a useable past for all those living in today's community. An appreciation of Albany's early history provides sources for community identity and helps instill a positive community image among residents of Albany today.
The Colonial Albany Project has great potential as a resource for presenting the complex and dramatic story of the people of colonial Albany for the benefit of a larger world. An appreciation of that past helps convey a positive and attractive image of New York State's capital city to visitors and outsiders. The commercial and public relations potentials of project resources, programs, and services make the CAP a valuable resource for every community group.
Project operations are organized around and structured by three interrelated activities. These elements are summarized below and are described in detail in subsequent sections. Briefly, these elements are:
1. Resources: New historical resources have been created based on a comprehensive program of research and analysis. The principal research objective of the Colonial Albany Project is to develop a comprehensive data base of information on the life of every person who lived in the community before 1800. The biographical (or lifecourse) data base is supplemented by archives of qualitative resources. All CAP programs rely on the lifecourse biographies. The compilation and creation of the documentary, archival, graphic, and artifactual resources which place those life stories in historical and cultural contexts are integral parts of the research process. A data base of information consisting of lifecourse biographies, an archive of graphics materials, a calendar of historic events, property and estate inventories, and a comparative research resource library are the products of an exhaustive and open-ended search of relevant historical resources. Each data base is organized to permit efficient access and updating of information during the ongoing research process. The information organized and stored as data then can be analyzed using social science research techniques. Analysis is an ongoing feature of project operations.
2. Programming: Images of life in an early American community have emerged from analysis of the project's historical resources. Historical themes are interpreted for general and specific audiences in programs using popular and innovative delivery systems as well as traditional expository forms. In an effort to improve accessibility, all CAP programs are experimental and address specific audiences. Topics and program formats are chosen on the basis of audience needs and abilities. Generally, programs conceived for targeted audiences and are classified according to delivery format as either publications, visual programs, media expositions, or dramatic presentations. Programming is the most significant element of project activities because it represents the most informed conception of the story of the people of colonial Albany and of how it is most effectively presented to particular audiences. A comprehensive exposition on project programming from subsequent chapters of this Guide will appear online before too long.
3. Services: The Colonial Albany Project has developed a data base of historical resources that inform and enrich the lives of people living today. Project programs represent the most regular and obvious services. The project also tries to make its more basic resources available whenever appropriate. Service is the most important element of CAP operations because it builds bridges to today's communities. The project seeks and also welcomes opportunities to make the early Albany story and the community history approach a part of the educational programs of other institutions and organizations. Project resources must remain accessible to all. However, in providing project services, the four basic target audiences - scholars, local historians and historical agencies, teachers and their students, and the people of Albany today - have been accorded highest priority. Cooperative programming is an efficient and desirable way to provide services.
The Colonial Albany Social History Project is building a record of achievement and service by committing its human, institutional, and fiscal resources to the development and effective use of historical resources.
Historical Resources (4/94)
The Colonial Albany Project has none of the archival or artifactual resources that are the traditional collections of historical organizations and institutions. However, the CAP has developed a substantial body of historical resource material. The project's historical resources consist of a data base of information that in final form will be comprehensive biographies of every person who lived in Albany during its first two hundred years; an archive of copies of cartographic works, historic visuals, images of material objects, and modern graphics materials that document their lives; a data base calendar of community and related historical events; a data base of real estate and other property information; an archive of documentary and research resources relating to early Albany and to people in general living in pre-industrial communities; and a library of materials on community history in theory and in practice. These historical resources constitute the Colonial Albany Project "Collections" and are described in more detail in the sections that follow. The project strives to make a unique service contribution by adapting its resources to the specific needs of individual clients and client groups.
Functional resources enable the CAP to identify, assemble, organize, develop, and interpret these historical resources. These resources are human (staff and other personnel); institutional (the project facilities, collections, and technological support provided by sponsoring agencies); and fiscal (central funding, cooperative support, grants, and contractual incomes).
Human Resources (4/94)
Given its humanistic goals and the social history focus of its research, programming, and services, it is fitting that the Colonial Albany Social History Project considers the contributions of those people who participate in its operations as its chief functional resource. Because of its cooperative nature, the project's ideal staff roster brings together humanists from diverse backgrounds and must derive support from varied sources. Project personnel are categorized as central staff, associated staff, volunteers, and students.
The central staff is headed by the Project Director, who is responsible for the development and implementation of the Guide and for the planning and direction of future operations. The director is the project's senior scholar with training in the history of pre-industrial society, experience in public and community history, and a strong commitment to programming and service. The project director determines priorities, provides program and service leadership, focuses the activities of other staff members, and serves as the general project administrator. The director is responsible for revision of the project Guide and also manages the computerization of all data bases. The project director serves as coordinator of the editorial committee and the project Advisory Group.
Stefan Bielinski, historian, writer, teacher, a long-time advocate of community history, and founder of the Colonial Albany Social History Project, is its director. As a long-time employee of the State Education Department and the State Museum, Stefan Bielinski has taken the lead in sustaining institutional support and for adapting project initiatives to SED and State Museum goals and objectives.
The Project Assistant supports all activities. In 1989, Joyce Patterson, a library clerk, was transferred to us from the New York State Library. Her arrival was extremely fortuitous. After completing basic training, her full-time dedication made an immediate and substantial impact on the development of CAP research resources. Since then she has performed every task in our research program and has escalated the pace of information retrieval and processing in all areas. She serves as our liaison with the State Library, prepares archival resources for processing, organizes information collected by interns and associates, assists in program production and staging, and maintains necessary supplies. She also provides internal support for interns and other staff associates. As a result, project resources are much better organized and much more accessible. Her presence in the office has enabled the project to welcome phone and walk-in inquiries at all times. In addition, Ms. Patterson's kindness and overall good humor have made a tremendous, positive difference in the way the project actually functions.
Over the past decade, the CAP has been able to support and/or staff a number of other central staff positions. At present, none of those described below are funded and their functions have fallen to the project director and assistant and to some extent to project research associates. Filling any of them on any basis would make a tremendous impact on project productivity.
The Research Coordinator implements the research design by supervising the collecting and recording activities of interns and volunteers. The coordinator is responsible for the maintenance of research standards, consolidation of data, and direction of program research on a project basis. The coordinator is thoroughly familiar with all elements of the data collection process and works closely with those engaged in collecting activities. The coordinator oversees the development of all resource data bases - insuring that information conforms to project standards. The coordinator supervises the internship and Associates training program. Like the director, the coordinator plays a major role in project programming and service activities.
Bethany Newman Schroeder first defined the coordinator's position as the project's first staff member during 1982-83. Thomas E. Burke, a teacher of American History, the author of a book and several articles on Dutch Schenectady, and a graduate of the Associates program, served as research coordinator from 1984 thru 1986. His wisdom and dedication were critical to the accomplishments of our early years. Since 1987, the coordinator's responsibilities have passed to the project director although Tom Burke continues to uncover new sources that are placed on the research agenda. His ongoing contributions and concern have more than justified his designation as CAP Research Fellow.
The title of Research Historian was created to recognize the strong overall contribution made by Shirley Johnson Rice. After completing the Associates training program in 1984, Ms. Rice's full time support dramatically accelerated the pace of collecting and analysis activities. Ms. Rice's critical role in the production of the Women of Colonial Albany community history calendars for 1986 and 1987 and her contributions to our service programs demonstrated the potential value of additional, trained staff. Clearly, additional full-time historians would enhance the project's ability to produce programs and provide more extensive services.
Research Historians are experienced in all phases of project research and analysis and work independently on elements of the information retrieval, analysis, and data entry programs. Historians accept responsibility for a particular historical resource area and participate and/or support programming and service activities. Such staff activities make it possible for the project director and research coordinator to focus on research, programming, and services, and on development activities. One or more research historians would make a substantial difference. These are recruited through the Associates program described below. At present, Research Historians Jan Ghee and Tricia Barbagallo, both graduates of the Associates training program, provide substantial services in these areas on a part-time, volunteer basis.
The Graphics Coordinator manages the Graphics Archive and is responsible for providing artistic, photographic, and cartographic services for all CAP operations. General graphics responsibilities include development and maintenance of the project's Graphics Archive; supervision of the production of publications; development (drafting, adapting, and revising) of creative renderings of portraits, views, and maps; photographic services; and the production of graphics materials to support project programs and services. This staff member services requests from the history community and the public in accordance with CAP objectives. The graphics coordinator plays a leadership role in exhibit design, development, and implementation and integrates the contributions of associated photographers, artists, designers, cartographers, and curators. Ideally, this position is administrative and manages the activities of students, associates, and consultants.
Karen Phillips, an art historian and educator, defined the position during her tenure from 1984 to 1987. At present, the project director has assumed responsibility for development of the graphics archive.
The City Property Historian is responsible for the development of the City Property Program through the integration of information recovered by interns and as a result of focused research on individual units of real estate. This information manager organizes research materials according to real estate unit (street and street address) files; chronicles improvements to each unit over time; oversees the integration of real property information into the life course biographies; maintains a map archive; and supports programming by providing a spatial perspective on community lives.
R. Beth Klopott, author of a doctoral dissertation on rural Schaghticoke, was the Property Program historian from 1985 to 1987. At present, this area has fallen to a lower priority although each new intern/trainee recovers real property information and researches space use.
The positions defined above for the Project Director, Project Assistant, Research Coordinator, Project Historians - including the Graphics Coordinator and Real Property Historian, constitute an ideal central staff. The funding of these staff positions during 1986 enabled the project to play a major role in the Albany "Tricentennial" celebration.
Because of its location in the State Museum and the Cultural Education Center, the Colonial Albany Project has been able to call on a number of talented and generous individuals to help achieve its research, programming, and service objectives. Their specific contributions enable the project to serve as a model community history program.
Support staff are required to provide necessary technical skills. The role of the Graphic Artist was defined by the contributions made by Keith Prior, a member of the State Museum staff. He designed the project logo, drew maps, adapted historic visuals, designed flyers and other publications, and provided artistic advice and more miscellaneous services. Although he has been reassigned, his talent and overall willingness during the 1980s enabled the project to begin implementing its programming ideas. Since then, Tricia Barbagallo has provided artistic support in these areas. Computer-driven art seems to represent the most efficient direction in this area for the future.
Chris Supkis, a photographer on the staff of the Museum's Geological Survey has provided significant photographic/artistic support since 1988. He has produced more than 10,000 slides of historic and modern subjects for use in project research, programming, and service activities. His ability to provide slides and prints of features of portraits, scenes, maps, documents, and other types of visuals uncovered by project staff has greatly enhanced our scholarly and public programs. In addition, his creativity in production work with colors and text and more recent videographic support makes him a key member of the CAP team.
An Information Manager services the data base information held in computer memory and file facilities. This person advises on the design of the data entry plan, supervises the coding and entry of data into CAP data base, and provides technical support in the analysis of project data. A humanist with computer skills who has been involved with the CAP on a long-term basis is an ideal person for this position. Craig Williams, a history curator at the State Museum, developed the initial computer format and has provided critical technical support. His contributions are gratefully acknowledged. As data is converted from mainframe to microcomputer storage, new data processing skills will be required.
A staff initiative in the areas of Development and Programming would explore funding potentials; seek institutional and individual cooperative support; establish and maintain a membership program; schedule programs and service activities; and promote project resources, internally, among potential external audiences, and to the public in general. This staff member would solicit new resources, investigate programming and service opportunities, and help coordinate activities in support of project goals and objectives. The project director and other staff personnel must provide active support in development activities. This is a critical activity area. Securing new resources is basic to enhancing the project's success and strategic value.
Ideally, "Development" and "Programming" are undertaken by different individuals who might work together to achieve their individual goals of adequate resources and optimal audience coverage. The functions of development and programming/publicity should be the concerns of two salaried staff members. It may be possible for a volunteer to raise funds to implement these critical staff positions. The success of Shirley Rice in securing sponsorship for the Women of Colonial Albany calendars suggests that resources will follow marketable programs. Soliciting funds to support specific programs is an approach the CAP continues to follow. The importance of development and public relations activities cannot be overstated. More energy must be devoted to these needs in the future.
Because of the volume of human energy required in each operational area, central staff members must focus on supervising data collection and program development. The actual compilation and production should be accomplished by project associates, interns, and colleagues. These individuals are the miners who dig out and clean historical nuggets buried in the broadly defined mountainous record of the past. They form the backbone of the CAP work force. Workers fall into three general descriptive categories:
1. Student Interns support Colonial Albany Project operations under the auspices of a university or college-sponsored course or program of study. Each intern participates in a program of basic training in social history research. This exercise is designed to provide each project member with a common body of knowledge and pool of historical skills. At the start of the internship, students agree to support specific project objectives for a defined duration. Each intern participates in an intake interview. Interns are asked to study this Guide, read a number of historical items, and are given a printed menu structuring their semester-long program. They also receive supplementary instructional materials. The intern is introduced to project operations, receives training in social history research, gains practical experience and is encouraged to think historically, produces a body of research material that becomes part of one or more CAP data bases, documents all activities, and submits a summary paper. Interns are closely supervised and are evaluated as a requisite for receiving course credit. Evaluation sheets are shared with the students and their faculty mentor and become part of the project's personnel file. Because project staff work closely with each intern, the project is able to prepare informative letters of recommendations and reference. Graduate schools and employers often solicit evidence of an applicant's ability to perform in an applied environment. Each year, the project director is asked to write several dozen recommendations for current and former interns. All evaluation materials are shared with the intern. Potential interns learn about the Colonial Albany Project through the project brochure and from the teaching and public presentations of project staff members. Through these and other cooperative activities, the CAP has developed linkages with members of the education community. The continued support of educators and program administrators is critical to the success of the internship program.
The Colonial Albany Project is committed to excellence in historical scholarship and to the training of community historians. Its record of service as an educational facility is characterized by flexibility in accommodating students from diverse backgrounds and varied needs. The project is a unique resource for the training and focusing of interests of fledgling historians. Since 1980, the CAP has cooperated with the "Special Projects in History" (History 499 and 599) and Community Service programs of the State University of New York at Albany. The long-term support and goodwill of Professor Ivan Steen, director of Public History at SUNYA, has enabled the project to make great strides in its research program and in the training of students. To date, most of our interns have been students at SUNY Albany - typically, graduating senior history majors.
The semester-long, full-time research internship sponsored by the History Department of the State University College at New Paltz; the "Albany Semester Program" administered through Empire State College; the field placement program at the College of St. Rose directed by Professor Honora Kinney; the internship program at Sage Junior College of Albany mentored by Professor Harvey Strum; the Skidmore College "University Without Walls"; the Union College "Senior Honors Thesis" program; and a number of SUNY Albany programs have enabled the CAP to provide a substantial training experience for more than 200 students. A number of these interns have continued their project connection in the Associates program, others have gone on to graduate study in history, and still others have been able to utilize their CAP experience as a recommendation for their employment in the history field. A roster of CAP interns is included as an appendix.
When consistent with the guidelines established by their college or university, students have elected to take a second or even a third internship program for course credit. The returning intern is employed in the advanced research, programming, or services phases of project operations and is not reassigned to the collection of basic information. As a graduate of the basic training program, returning interns explore topics for specific programs; learn how to present the past in publications, scripts, and promotional material; and are involved in the production and staging of programs. They also gain experience in the computerized elements of CAP operations. Returning interns have compiled bibliographic aids and functional guides, have conducted topical research, and have supported publications, exhibits, and service activities with specialized research and production support.
The Colonial Albany Project offers advanced training, guidance, research opportunities, and a support network to further the education of graduate students. More than two dozen graduate students from SUNY Albany and other universities have conducted substantial research in CAP resources. Graduate students must first complete the basic internship. Ideally, that requirement is fulfilled as an undergraduate. In addition, former interns have entered the Associates program after completion of course requirements. A bibliography of project-sponsored graduate research topics is included in an appendix.
2. An Associates Program enables the Colonial Albany Project to recruit and train potential staff members and also provides an organizational umbrella for those more generally interested in historical research. In today's employment climate, volunteers have become an extremely important human resource. Potential volunteers are given an initial orientation and assessment, are asked to study the Guide, and are encouraged to enter the Associates Program leading to the formal designations of "Associate" and "Research Associate." Because the project must develop a core of well-trained and dedicated individuals, the support of volunteers is critical to its success. Recruiting interested volunteers, guiding them toward Research Associate status, and then working toward their economic viability is a priority concern of the project director and is supported by all other staff members.
All those who choose to take part in CAP activities as interns and volunteers are asked first to complete the internship training program. The training program is designed to acquaint the newcomer with the community history approach to the past; make them aware issues in and of the state of the practice of early American history; familiarize them with the Colonial Albany Project and its operations; and provide practical experience in using a variety of historical resources. A standard basic training program provides a common core of useful knowledge for all of those associated with the project. After completion of the one hundred hour basic training program, the trainee is designated an "Associate" and is assigned to more complex research and analysis duties.
3. Research Associates are those non-student volunteers who contribute substantially to project operations on a long-term basis. Research Associates have completed the basic CAP orientation and internship programs. They collect information, conduct complex research, and monitor the activities of interns and newer volunteer historians. At that point, they have become well-trained and experienced social historians. "Research Associate" status is a formal designation and is conferred after 250 hours of contributed services and the expression of willingness to support project operations in the future. Research Associates maintain their active status by contributing one hundred or more hours each year. Research Associates are acknowledged in all attributed programs and are preferred as salaried staff in all funded activities. This designation is intended to recognize substantial contributions and is awarded with gratitude and admiration. The Colonial Albany Project values its Associates and has enjoyed surprising success in supporting their employment in the history field. A roster of Research Associates is included in the appendix.
4. Resource Associates are those professionals who bring a necessary expertise to project activities. They are asked to serve as advisors, cooperate in project operations, participate in the development and implementation of grant-funded activities, and bring their special perspectives to the overall climate of the program. Resource Associates are formally designated to recognize substantial contributions to CAP activities. Charles T. Gehring, translator and editor of Dutch manuscripts and director of the New Netherland Project of the New York State Library, has been a valuable source of information on the New Netherland Dutch, Dutch culture, and on Dutch language problems. He is the first CAP Resource Associate and his support is critical to our program. Leonard F. Tantillo, a historical artist specializing in the historic Hudson Valley, has provided unparalleled visual perspectives through his paintings and drawings of early Albany. His recreations of life in Albany in 1686 have made central contributions to CAP programs. His knowledge of spatial relationships and architecture has focused our perceptions of the pre-urban cityscape. His work is described in the sections that follow. Other potential Resource Associates may include cultural geographers, historical archeologists, demographers, architectural historians; prints, maps, and artifacts curators; manuscript librarians, curriculum development specialists, and also videographers, cartographers, and other production specialists. Resource Associates may be asked to serve as members of the Project Advisory Group and are encouraged to counsel the director on operational matters.
5. An Advisory Group representing professional interests and constituents will help balance the course of project operations. This body should consist of scholars, educators, representative of Albany-area educational, service, and corporate institutions, and others with a relevant expertise and interest in the Colonial Albany Project. Advisory Group members offer advice on project operations and support project activities by cooperating with educational and community groups and for specialized audiences. An ideal Advisory Group would include the Chief of the State Museum's History Survey, representatives of the academic community, the appointed Albany city and county historians, and representatives from the Albany Public Library, the Albany Public Schools, the Capital District Genealogical Society, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany County Historical Association, Schuyler Mansion, Historic Cherry Hill, and the Urban Cultural Park. Members from the larger public history and research fields also should be considered. Twelve members would make an effective group. Formation of the advisory group would represent an important step forward and should be done as soon as any two more central staff positions are filled.
Institutional Resources (4/94)
These are facilities and funding provided by the State Education Department/New York State Museum; by other cultural and educational institutions; and by membership, service, and private organizations.
The History office at the New York State Museum in the State Education Department provides the administrative umbrella for the Colonial Albany Social History Project. The State Education Department is the institutional sponsor and the State Museum is the operational home of the Colonial Albany Project. The State Education Department provides office space at the Cultural Education Center in Albany; office furniture, supplies, and storage facilities; data processing, photographic, and printing support; telephone and mailing services; funding for the project director and project assistant; administrative and cooperative staff support; and additional resources when feasible. These basic resources and sponsoring umbrella have enabled the project to concentrate on its research, programming, and service goals and not commit it best resources toward the fundraising activities incumbent on most other similar programs. In return, the CAP is an active participant in Museum and SED-sponsored programs and is generous in sharing its resources with institutional client groups.
At the same time, the Colonial Albany Project must actively solicit support from cooperating institutions. Cooperative support takes the form of shared sponsorship (a formal designation entailing a substantive allocation of resources); shared staff participation (staff time); program funding (either directly, on contract, or in cooperative ventures); special research and program development considerations (such as special access to research collections, technical, production, and publishing support); use of facilities for staging of programs; or flexibility in modifying existing programs and courses to embrace CAP research or program objectives. Institutional linkages are sought with public service agencies (governmental and private); educational institutions (colleges, schools, and libraries); cultural institutions (historical agencies and museums); and community organizations (heritage, social, service, or other special interest groups).
The comprehensive nature of the project research design requires a substantial commitment to the development of research resources. The Colonial Albany Project will seek research sponsors in the Albany area to support information recovery and analysis. Obvious potential sponsors include the Albany Institute of History and Art, Historic Cherry Hill, the Albany County Historical Association, the Capital District Genealogical Society, the Dutch Settlers Society, and history clubs and groups in local schools, family and social organizations, and in the present-day incarnations of early Albany's churches. A plan for investigating the potential of senior citizens (as individuals and through their membership organizations) must be developed.
Research sponsorship is a formal designation and requires an organization or group to make a CAP research initiative (for example, the exhaustive search of property records, church records, newspapers, family history resources, sites, or artifacts) the scheduled activity of an organization's research group. Project staff will organize individual projects, train participants, and monitor results. Upon completing the requirements specified above for Research Associate status, research sponsors will be designated as institutional associates and will be acknowledged in program credits.
Fiscal Resources (4/94)
Fiscal resources are required to support all project activities and are categorized as follows:
1. Central funding - the salary and benefits of the project director and project assistant; office space, materials, and supplies; and travel funds. These are drawn from the resources allocated thru the annual State appropriation to the History office at the State Museum in support of its programming and field services initiatives. The Colonial Albany Project first became a regular budget item during the 1987-88 fiscal year when funding was dedicated to personal services, travel, and equipment and supplies. Maintaining adequate central funding is critical to project well-being. However, experience has taught us about the limits of State support. More visible broadly based fiscal resources would lift the project to a new level of viability.
2. Cooperative and In-Kind support - staff time, facilities, and supplies provided by other units of the State Museum and by other organizations either in formal cooperative arrangements or through the service programs of other agencies. The resources contributed by interns, Associates, and other benefactors also are accounted for in this category. At present, the CAP does not accept monetary contributions nor does it have a "Friends" support group. Those conditions could change in the future.
3. Grants - direct funding awarded by granting institutions or received as a result of fundraising activities. Funding is used in accordance with the conditions of receipt to support the activities of central staff members, Associates, and contractors. Grants also are used for operational purposes, particularly to offset research costs or in the development and implementation of programs. The project must establish a record of achievement in this area.
Funding for the Research Coordinator position became a priority concern after central funding support was withdrawn in 1987. Thomas Burke's training, experience, and personal commitment to the project made him an ideal person for the coordinator's position. Toward this end, the CAP assisted him in applying for grants to support specific elements of the overall research design. In 1984 and 1985, Tom Burke submitted funding proposals for research grants sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1988, Burke applied to the National Endowment for the Humanities for three years of support to produce an edited volume of a previously unpublished segment of the Albany "City Records." Although none of those proposals were successful, we believe such proposals are viable. The project will continue to seek research support from traditional funding agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
In addition, the Colonial Albany Project has applied for funding for project research through grants submitted by Research Associates Beth Klopott to the New York State Archives and Gerard Johnson to the New York State Library. Neither of those proposals was successful - like Burke's, chiefly due to a large number of applicants for a few grant awards.
We understand that securing funding for research must become a focal point of Development activities in the immediate future. Paid internships and foundation, corporate, and other potential sources of support must be investigated. The project needs help in this area.
4. Revenues: These are funds derived from the sale of externally produced publications and other CAP program items. At present, the CAP does not perform research for clients on demand - preferring instead to share its resources whenever possible. Numerous requests in this area and constant offers of monetary compensation may change this condition in the future.
5. Contract service fees: These are derived from teaching, the delivery of programs, from invited participation in conferences and other programming, and from consultations. These are applied to the CAP revenue account.