Community Education

Speaker Series

Join us for our Speaker Series at Desmond Campus

Newburgh's Loyalists during the American Revolution
Learn about the origins and composition of the Loyalist community and their war experiences including the persecution they faced from Newburgh’s rebels. Examine their post-war exile in Canada.
Tuesday, January 3 (Snowdate: January 4), 10-11:30 am, $15

The Mount Beacon Incline Railway
The Mount Beacon Incline Railway was a cross between a train and an elevator. Between 1902 and 1978 two sturdy trolley cars carried a total of over 3.5 million people up and down the mountain.  Learn the fascinating history of how this railway came about, traveling 2200 feet of sheer mountainside track to 1,540 feet above sea level.
Thursday, January 5 (Snowdate: January 6), 1-2:30 pm, $15

Mysterious Stone Sites in the Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey
Mysterious stone structures are throughout the Hudson Valley and Linda Zimmermann thinks they may be the ruins of sacred sculptures built by early natives. Many of the structures are boulders balanced precariously on smaller rocks, massive stone walls, and stone chambers whose origins have been attributed to the work of colonial farmers or the random result of erosion. Zimmermann points out that some of these sites have unusual characteristics which have been overlooked and feels that many of them show signs of being astronomical calendars belonging to early civilizations. There will be books for sale and signing following the presentation.
Tuesday, January 10 (Snowdate: January 12), 1-2:30 pm, $15

The Top 10 Most Controversial Things about Benjamin Franklin's Science
Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm, but did you know that his scientific discoveries have been likened to the discovery of the atom bomb and the birth of Christ combined? Learn 10 things that you don't know about this brilliant, curious Founding Father's scientific life and how it relates to the birth of our nation.
Tuesday, January 17 (Snowdate: January 18), 10-11:30 am, $15

Islam in America II - The Immigrant Experience
Like most immigrants Muslims are immigrating to America in pursuit of a better life, better economic opportunities, and better education for their children. What Islamic practices were easiest to transplant to America and which the most difficult? What aspects of their culture have contributed to American life? What is the history of these movements and what might this mean for America's future? Learn more about the Muslim American experience.
Tuesday, January 24, 1-2:30 pm, $15

The Salem Witch Trials
The Salem Witch Trials are one of the most notorious cases of mass hysteria in America. This series of hearing and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft resulted in the executions of twenty people with all but one by hanging. Come learn more about this from Paul Upham whose relative, Charles W. Upham, wrote the standard reference, Salem Witchcraft (1692), in 1867.
Thursday, January 26, 3-4:30 pm, $10

George Inness: From Newburgh to New Jersey & Places In-Between!
Considered a ‘second generation’ Hudson River School painter, George Inness was born on his parent’s farm just outside of Newburgh in 1825. His family moved to Newark, NJ when he was a child and later was apprenticed to map engravers. He subsequently studied formal art and painting in NYC before spending a substantial period of time in Italy and France. Inness eventually returned to NY and NJ where he developed a landscape painting style that focused on the subtle effects of light and therefore mood - as well as his own personal philosophy that earthly and heavenly realms are united. In 1878, he settled in a very rural Montclair, New Jersey, and continued to travel and paint misty, poetic, and evocative landscapes. Join us as we explore Orange County’s native son, inveterate traveler, and luminous landscape painter whose paintings concentrated on atmospheric effects rather than the grandeur of mountainous scenery of his artistic predecessors.
Wednesday, February 1, 1-3 pm, $15

The Hudson Highlands
In 1775, the Continental Congress decided that New York needed to fortify the Hudson Highlands and protect the river used to transport troops and supplies. Had the British been successful in gaining control, it might have broken New England apart from the Middle Atlantic states. Our area is steeped in history. Learn more about the American Revolution, Fortress West Point, and Fort Constitution.
Tuesday, February 7 (Snowdate: February 9), 1-2:30 pm, $15

The Panama Canal: A Marvel of Ingenuity
Named one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal was considered an ingenious feat of man-made construction when the United States assumed control of its 48-mile span in 1904. A U.S. commission was appointed in 1905 to oversee the canal’s design, which at that point was still not complete. Its goal - to provide a passageway for water vessels across the Isthmus of Panama - and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the canal bypass greatly reduced the time and miles ships had to navigate between the two oceans. While other countries attempted to tackle the massive project as early as the 1880s, they eventually abandoned it due to endless engineering issues as well as the mortality rate of employees working there. The United States finally opened the Panama Canal on August 15, 1914 and through a series of locks that lifted ships up to the level of Gatun Lake, accomplished what many saw as an impossible feat. Learn about the multiple attempts to build the canal, its evolution through the years, and a new and larger canal that is currently being built to handle larger vessels. From its initial 1,000 ships handled in 1914, the passageway handles more than 15,000 ships annually today.
Wednesday, February 15, 1-3 pm, $15

The Roots of Muslim Rage
Islam, like other religions, has known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. However, the Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of Western civilization. What is the history of the principles and values that it professes and how have some come to interpret them so radically?
Friday, February 17 (Snowdate: February 24), 10-11:30 am, $15

The Top 10 Most Embarrassing Things about George Washington
George Washington was the Commanding General of the Revolutionary Army and our First President. But did you know he didn't win that many battles and that he had a strange relationship with his mother? Learn 10 things you don't know about this formidable leader that will remind you he was a real human being.
Wednesday, February 22 (Snowdate: February 28), 10-11:30 am, $15

Eco-lutionary: Unintentionally "Green" in the 1700's
Discover some of the surprisingly innovative ways our colonial ancestors reduced, reused, and recycled. During this slide lecture and artifact "show and tell," you will learn how the colonials were on the cutting edge of many of today's fashionable "green" practices.
Thursday, February 23, 1-2:30 pm, $15


The Desmond Campus for Adult Enrichment offers non-credit, life-enriching education geared toward the adult learner. Browse our website to learn more about our Community Education, Day Trips, Speaker Series, Road Scholars, and L.I.F.E. programs (for 55+). You can register online, mail in the registration form from the catalog, or call us to register at 845-565-2076. For more information, please email desmondcampus@msmc.edu or call 845-565-2076.

Share this page