Bethlehem Historical Association

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Programs for 2018-2019

Thursday September 20 7 PM

Location: Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk

Mohicans in Bethlehem, History and Today

Presented by Bonnie Hartley

On Thursday evening September 20 at 7 PM, the Bethlehem Historical Association presents Mohicans in Bethlehem History and Today, a talk by Bonnie Hartley, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Stockbridge Munsee Community.

Mohican people are the indigenous people of the Mahicannituck, the waters that are never still, now known as the Hudson River. The presentation will discuss Mohican history in the Bethlehem area including sharing local artifacts. The talk also emphasizes the work that the contemporary tribal nation, the Stockbridge Munsee Community, now based in Wisconsin, is doing today to protect important sacred and cultural sites in the region.

Bonney Hartley is a member of the Stockbridge Munsee Community and since 2014 has served as Tribal Historic Preservation Officer from the tribe’s traditional homelands here in the Hudson Valley. She is based in an extension office in Troy, New York and works to protect Mohican and Munsee cultural sites such as burial grounds and village sites that are important to the tribe’s heritage. She holds a Masters’ Degree in Social Science- International Relations.

Thursday, October 18 7 PM
Location: Cedar Hill Schoolhouse Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk

Geology, Landscape and the Iroquois Homeland

Presented by Chuck VerStraeten

     The bedrock of New York and its erosion created the landscape where the Iroquois peoples made their home.  It influenced their territorial boundaries, defenses, settlement patterns, trail systems, agriculture, and use of key resources. Dr. Ver Straeten’s talk explores these connections in his talk Geology, Landscape and the Iroquois Homeland.

     Chuck Ver Straeten is Curator of Sedimentary Rocks at the NYS Museum.  Dr. Ver Straeten investigates the state's deep-time history during the Devonian Period between 420 and 360 million years ago including ancient environments, sea level changes, mountain building and explosive volcanism. He is a down to earth, entertaining speaker who balances his academic life with his other passion as a musician.

Thursday, November 15 2 PM

Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar

The Schuyler Women

Presented by Jessie Serfilippi

   The three eldest Schuyler sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy, have been causing quite a stir on Broadway in Hamilton: An American Musical, but did you know that there were really five sisters? Jessie Serfilippi’s presentation The Schuyler Women is an in-depth look at the history of the Schuyler women, their daily lives, and the impact they had in shaping their family's history.

     Jessie Serfilippi is an interpreter at Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site. She gives general tours of the house on a daily basis, as well as two focus tours, "When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home" and "The Women of Schuyler Mansion." She also performs research and writes for the site blog. Past articles have included "Schuyler Sisters Land Squabble," "Inquire of the Subscriber at Rhinebeck: Philip Jeremiah Schuyler and Slavery," and "The Cost of Comfort: Philip Schuyler's 1761 Expenses." Her current research is focused on uncovering more information about the men, women, and children enslaved by each generation of the Schuyler family. She will graduate from the College of Saint Rose this December with an MFA in Creative Writing.

Thursday, January 17 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar
The People of Beverwijck

Presented by Charles Gehring

 On Thursday afternoon, January 17, the Bethlehem Historical Association is pleased to present Charles Gehring’s talk The People of Beverwijck. Gehring has designed his presentation as a walking tour of the village of Beverwijck circa 1655. Street patterns, architecture, trades and daily events (such as the baker’s announcement of fresh bread and the herding of cows to pasture) will all be highlighted and put into context of the fur trade. Beverwijck is the early predecessor of the city of Albany.

Charles Gerhring is widely recognized for his outstanding work on early Albany area history. He was born in Fort Plain, an old Revolutionary War and Erie Canal village in New York State’s Mohawk Valley. After completing his undergraduate and graduate studies at Virginia Military Institute and West Virginia University he continued post-graduate work with assistance of a Fulbright grant at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany. There he began his study of the Dutch language and first realized that his future research lay much closer to home. In 1973, he received a PhD in Germanic Linguistics from Indiana University with a concentration in Netherlandic Studies. His dissertation was a linguistic investigation of the survival of the Dutch language in colonial New York. He is presently director of the New Netherland Research Center (sponsored by the New York State Education Department). The Center is responsible for translating the official records of the Dutch colony, promoting awareness of the Dutch role in American history, and providing a center for research in New Netherlandic studies. He has been a fellow of the Holland Society of New York since 1979. In 1994 Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred on him a knighthood as officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. He has received gold medals from the Netherlands Society of Philadelphia, the Holland Society of New York, and the St. Nicholas Society of New York.

Thursday, February 21 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar
An Afternoon with the People of Colonial Albany and their Neighbors

Presented by Stefan Bielinski


Enjoy a musical and visual introduction to the lives of the diverse people who founded and built the city of Albany in Stefan Bielinski’s captivating program “An Afternoon with the People of Colonial Albany and their Neighbors.” 

Bielinski’s presentation identifies relevant themes, raises pertinent issues, and places Albany within larger historical contexts. It calls on the best historic and recreated images of life in the pre-industrial city and is accompanied by the engaging “Albany ~ a song of Community.” The program quickly becomes interactive as audience members rarely resist commenting and soon are asking questions about individual lives, how people lived, and about the shape and structure of the city of Albany 200 years ago.

Stefan Bielinski is the founder and emeritus director of the Colonial Albany Social History Project at the New York State Museum. For more than forty years, he has been a student, teacher, and advocate of the "history of the people, by the people, and for the people" approach of the community historian.

Thursday, March 21 2 PM
Location: Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave, Delmar

A Portrayal of Clara Barton

Presented by Phyllis Chapman

     Clara Barton is best known as the celebrated Civil War nurse and founder of the American

Red Cross. Less is known about her accomplishment as an educator, or that she was one of the first women to hold a salaried US government position in the Patent Office in Washington, DC. When the Civil War began, she was one of the first to recognize the essential and far-ranging support systems that would be required for soldiers in camp and on the battlefield. After years of advocacy, Barton persuaded the United States government to sign the Geneva Treaty and form the American Red Cross, which continues to support those in times of disaster and need.

     Phyllis Chapman, dba “Vintage Visitors”, will personify Barton in period correct costume, and speak in the first person. Excerpts from Barton’s field diaries, period photographs and on-site photos of areas where Barton lived and worked, along with reproduction medical artifacts used in the care of the wounded are included in the presentation.

     Chapman has been doing living history presentations for over 15 years, and has a Master's Degree in Education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and in Museum Education and Arts Administration from Skidmore College. She personally researches each character in depth, and has visited many of the sites where these remarkable women lived and worked. Along with her husband Mike, Chapman presents multi-media programs for historical societies and historic sites, libraries, retirement communities, and historical organizations.    

Thursday, April 18 7 PM
Location: Cedar Hill School House Museum, 1003 River Road, Selkirk
Skeleton Stories from Colonial Albany

Presented by Lisa Anderson

Archaeologist Lisa Anderson discusses her recent work in her presentation Skeleton Stories from Colonial Albany. Dr.Anderson is the curator of Bioarchaeology and NAGPRA Coordinator for the New York State Museum. She is the project manager for the Schuyler Flats Burial Ground project.