Speakers in the Humanities Program

New York Council for the Humanities, Speakers in the Humanities Program

Between January, 2010 and February, 2015 I delivered more than a dozen presentations through the Speakers in the Humanities Program of the New York Council for the Humanities.  Among the highlights:

Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, NY

Addressed the history of the Adirondack Park in the context of the broader history of shifting attitudes toward preservation and conservation of natural spaces, with a focus on the work of Winslow Homer and A. F. Tait in promoting an image of the Adirondacks as a vacation destination.


Rockwell Museum of Western Art, Corning, NY

A broad overview of the tradition of “representing nature” in American literature and art, with a focus on the stylized heroic school of landscape photography associated with National Geographic’s depiction of the American West.


Jay Heritage Center, Rye, NY

A comparative analysis of the issues and ironies relating to historic preservation and natural landscape preservation, with a focus on historic homes in the Hudson Valley, the failed effort to preserve New York City’s original Penn Station, and the shifting urban aesthetic represented by the Ashcan School and, in particular, the artist George Bellows.


Niagara County Historical Society, Lockport, NY

A history of the efforts to create the Niagara State Reservation (State Park) as a chapter in the ongoing debate between utilitarian and aesthetic values in American attitudes toward the natural landscape; a focus on the work and influence of Frederick Law Olmsted and Frederic Church (the Two Freds).


Arkell Museum of Art, Canajoharie, NY

An overview of the Pastoral, Sublime and Picturesque traditions in American landscape art and their relationship to the political, intellectual and economic context of the nineteenth century.


Historic Hugenot Street, New Paltz, NY

An examination of the “opportunities and dilemmas” of historic and landscape preservation in the upper Hudson Valley, with a focus on tourism and transportation, the complex history of Grand Hotels in the Catskills, and shifting views about what does and does not merit “preservation.” 


The Hyde Collection, Glenns Falls, NY

Ansel Adams and the Garden of Eden: “Man” and “Nature” in Yosemite National Park.