West Point: Duty, Honor, Country
West Point, located 50 miles from New York City on high ground overlooking the Hudson River, is the oldest Army post in the United States. During the Revolutionary War, General Benedict Arnold attempted to surrender the fort to the British. Graduates include Presidents Grant and Eisenhower as well as Generals Douglas MacArthur, Robert E. Lee, and George Patton. The Army football team was a national power in the mid-20thcentury and produced three Heisman winners. Vince Lombardi coached at West Point. The program explores the history of West Point from its colonial beginnings to the present day.
Tuesday, November 5
The Schuyler Sisters and the Hamilton Musical
Four daughters of wealthy General Philip Schuyler ran away to elope with rich men. But Elizabeth Schuyler married Alexander Hamilton, a penniless, orphan immigrant, for love. We will read the love letters Hamilton sent to Eliza during their courtship, then meet two other women — Angelica Schuyler Church and Maria Reynolds — who were after Alexander. This program features music from the Hamilton Broadway musical including The Schuyler Sisters, Helpless, Satisfied, and It's Quiet Uptown.Please note the Day Trip on Nov. 7 to the Albany Institute of History and Art and Laura Nicholl's lecture on Nov. 6 in the Arts Section.
Tuesday, November 5
Heroes of the Holocaust
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank. Two canonized saints were in the concentration camps of Europe in World War II. We will discuss the lives of Edith Stein and Maxmillian Kolbe and others who inspire us in our work in the world today.
Monday, November 11
Sr. P. Murphy
The New Tappan Zee Twin Bridges
As an award-winning photographer of the scenic Hudson Valley and beyond, Mr. Rocco has photographed some of the most important and historic restoration projects in the Hudson Valley region. He is currently known for his stunning pictorial essay documenting the construction and completion of the new Tappan Zee Bridge/Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge. These photos have been exhibited in many venues around the Hudson River Valley. Additional exhibits are scheduled for the remainder of this year, and Mr. Rocco plans to continue his unique photo coverage — on land, by water, and by air. In January, Mr. Rocco successfully captured the controlled demolition of the remains of the original east anchor span of the original Tappan Zee Bridge. Mr. Rocco recently received the Larry Salley Photography Award by Arts Westchester in partnership with the African American Men of Westchester organization for his six years of work documenting the New Tappan Zee/Gov. Cuomo Bridge project.
Monday, November 11
The Mysterious Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart is to this day an object of mystery as well as legend and myth. Lost during the final stages of a round-the-world flight in July 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan seemingly disappeared without a trace into the Pacific. Earhart had been admired and respected as a pilot, but the truth may be that she was in over her head, trying a flight that was beyond her capabilities. She was also adored as a feminist pathfinder yet was in fact largely controlled by her Svengali of a husband. Stephan Wilkinson, an experienced commercial pilot and widely published aviation historian, looks at these and other facets of Earhart's brief life and examines some surprising recent attempts to find her airplane.
Tuesday, November 12
The Battle of Midway
After Pearl Harbor, the United States Pacific Fleet was devastated, but luckily the aircraft carriers were at sea during the attack. The failure to destroy the carriers would later prove consequential at Midway. Midway was America’s long sought-after opportunity not only for revenge, but also to turn the tide and put Japan on the defensive. Looking back in a historical context, Midway was a test that showed the decisive effectiveness of the carrier-born aircraft. In this lecture, we will thoroughly examine how the battle of Midway is a shining example of the airplane’s effectiveness in battle. We will discuss the different aircraft that were used by both sides, such as the SBD-Dauntless, TBD1-Devestator, The F4F-Wildcat, and the infamous Japanese Zero!
Friday, November 15
Pathways to Freedom: The Quilts and Music of the Underground Railroad
Can you imagine if your life depended on a scrap of fabric or a few notes of a song? The American Slaves were required to trust others and learn these secret codes as they navigated the perils of the Underground Railroad. Di Anne discusses how simple quilts and old spirituals helped to save the lives of many people, along with the brave good people who risked their own safety to use these symbols to help others. Hear about one talented former slave, who became Mary Todd Lincoln's personal assistant. This is a multi-media presentation.
Monday, November 18
Who Owns the Past?: Works of Art, Monuments, and Contention over the Politics of Historical Memory
The two-century battle over the Elgin marbles, laws to repatriate Native American remains, wartime looting by Nazi art dealers, the removal of confederate statues, and the recent destruction of Palmyra by ISIS forces are all examples of how cultural property and historical memory are in contention today. This lecture discusses specific examples and looks at ways public perception, professional stewardship, and laws have responded.
Friday, November 22
John D. Rockefeller: The Richest American Who Ever Lived
Asked how he became so rich, Rockefeller replied, “God gave me my money.” Rockefeller was in the oil refining business early after the Pennsylvania oil rush began in 1859. He built state-of-the-art refineries and bought out his rivals. Rockefeller negotiated secret rebates with the railroads and formed what would become the Standard Oil Trust. Eventually the Supreme Court declared Standard worth more separately, and Rockefeller would go on to enter a second life of philanthropy which lives on to today.
Tuesday, December 3
War of Words with Iran: What They Say in Persian (farsi) and How It Enters English Media
Over the past few years, US-Iranian relations have become more and more confrontational. During this period, mainstream media have reported verbal clashes between the two nations. Iranian leaders’ statements are translated from Persian to English, while the Iranian public hear American leaders in translation from English to Persian. In his presentation, translator Paul Sprachman will use actual footage of speeches to show what gets revised or lost in translation when leadership in the two countries speak to each other.
Wednesday, December 4
S. and P. Sprachman
The D & H Canal from Birth to Death
This lecture is a comprehensive overview of the D&H Canal. The Wurts brothers conceived of the D&H Canal as a way to transport coal from their fields near Honesdale, Pennsylvania to the Hudson River at Rondout (Kingston), New York. From there, barges carried the coal south to the growing New York City market, as well as north to Albany and the Erie Canal. Join David H. Lawrence, Director of the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation as he covers the creation and life of the canal from birth to death. The people who made it happen and their contributions to the world, the economic impact of the Canal on our region and the Hudson Valley and beyond. Complete with PowerPoint and many pictures.
Monday, December 16
D. H. Lawrence
A Few Secrets From Manhattan’s Little Secrets: A Book Talk by John Tauranac
John Tauranac believes that it’s the details that guidebooks usually ignore and passersby ordinarily overlook that make the city come alive. In his illustrated talk, he will share some of his favorite stories on little-known aspects of his favorite buildings, mysterious artworks, and remnants from the city’s past, all of which are just sitting there in plain view.
Tuesday, December 17
Slavery and Abolition in New York
This lecture will explore the history of slavery in New York State, from its origins in the seventeenth century to its abolition in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. While slavery is often thought of as a southern institution, it thrived in New York and other northern colonies prior to the American Revolution. This discussion will consider the experiences of enslaved Africans and African Americans, the expansion of slavery in eighteenth-century New York, the emergence of an antislavery movement during the Revolutionary Era, and the institution’s abolition.
Thursday, January 2 Snow date Jan. 3
Dr. Mary Edwards Walker – “That shocking female surgeon in trousers!”
Dr. Walker was the second female doctor licensed in the US, the first commissioned US Army Female Surgeon (Civil War), and the only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. This lecture will tell Dr. Walker’s story as she turned heads and stepped on toes in medical school, on the battlefields, and in military hospitals. She was arrested and imprisoned as a Union spy in a Confederate prison, and on her release, she continued her work in the medical field. All throughout her controversial life, she wore the bloomer outfit and later trousers as she championed a woman’s right to vote and other issues in the Suffragette movement.
Wednesday, January 15 Snow date Jan. 16
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! From the Locker Room to the Dressing Room
Rudy became the inspiration for millions when a Hollywood film depicting his journey as a Notre Dame Football player became one of the most influential sports movies ever made. In Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger’s autobiography, go behind the scenes to experience the heartache, triumph, and glory through Rudy's own eyes, and learn details of the ten years it took to get the movie made. Rudy continues to dream! In Dream Big, Rudy on Broadway, he personally shares his story of getting into and playing football for Notre Dame despite dozens of rejections and having neither a strong academic nor athletic background. Let’s take inspiration from this amazing story of an underdog who continues to dream big!
Wednesday, January 15, Snow date Jan. 16
Patriot or Scoundrel?: The Life and Times of Aaron Burr
Was Aaron Burr a patriot of the American Revolution, a brilliant Lawyer, and a politician? Yes he was, but he also had a darker, sinister side. He engaged in secret dealings because he coveted the presidency. Learn the colorful story of this often misunderstood Revolutionary War hero and his impact on American History. Like Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr also has a story to tell. We will discuss parts of his life often not included in the history books.
Tuesday, January 21 Snow date January 22
January marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition in the US. Come learn and chat about that interesting period of American history as we look into the causes, effects, and lessons of that time. No alcohol will be served.
Tuesday, January 21 Snow date January 28
Johannes Vermeer is known today as one of the great masters of the Dutch Golden Age. During his life, he only produced about 37 known paintings and no drawings, but what if there were more? Art merchant Gerard Hoet II put together a catalogue of 124 paintings for what is known as the Dissius auction in 1696. His catalogue clearly describes 21 Vermeer paintings, of which three do not match the description of any known painting by him. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that these three paintings have yet to be discovered. In this program, we will explore key characters such as Pieter van Rijven, Jacob Dissius, Gerard Hoet II, and the master himself. Matt will use Hoet’s descriptions of Vermeer’s “undiscovered” works to create a historic interpretation of what these three pictures might look like.
Thursday, January 23 Snow date Jan. 24
Most Obedient Servant: Tracking the Life of John Hathorn and the Revolutionary Generation in Warwick
General John Hathorn of Warwick has always been an enigmatic figure. “The man who lost the Battle of Minisink” was a successful military leader, politician, and Revolutionary activist. He served in the first and fourth Congresses of the United States and was acquainted with many of the important people of his day, yet his life has remained in the shadows. A search for primary documents spanning 20 years has turned up a great deal about Hathorn's close involvement with the early days of the nation, the surprising activities of his militia, and the struggles and conflicts of a local community during the Revolutionary War. This illustrated presentation will help attendees discover the founding generation in Orange County.
Monday, February 3 Snow date February 7
Mysterious Monuments of New York City
A fascinating look at some of the mystical monuments of New York City and their histories. Building upon ideas from the “Mysterious Monuments of the Hudson Valley” talk, we continue to explore the esoteric understanding that is present in these structures. For those who are new to the topic, we shall also review some of the material discussed in the prior program with many new details.
Wednesday, February 5 Snow date Feb. 12
Journey Through the Holy Land
Barry Kass, photographer and professor emeritus of Anthropology, will take the audience on a journey across Israel, birthplace of three of the world's great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. His vivid photographs will illustrate such sacred religious shrines as the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Ancient Jericho will be visited, as well as the site of Masada, where the Romans besieged the last of the Jewish revolutionaries after the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. Photos of ancient Christian churches and Jewish synagogues near the Sea of Galilee will be included, as well as scenes from the Roman cities of Caesarea and Bet She'an, from the time when the Romans ruled the Holy Land. A bonus included in Prof. Kass' talk will be photographs and descriptions of the amazing ancient city of Petra in Jordan, featured in the Indiana Jones movies.
Monday, February 10 Snow date Feb. 12
Do You Believe in Miracles? 60 Years of US Olympic Ice Hockey (1920-1980)
Trace the development of the US Men's National Ice Hockey team from the earliest days to their monumental performance at Lake Placid 40 years ago. The ups, the downs, the legendary confrontations with the world powers on ice — it's all here, as we observe a century of "U-S-A!" hockey.
Wednesday, February 12 Snow date February 13
The History of the USO: Entertaining the Troops for 78 Years
Founded in 1941 before the outset of WWII, the USO was a privately-funded umbrella organization bringing together six charitable organizations for the well-being and morale of US Armed Forces personnel throughout the USA and the world during the war. Mr. Martin’s extensive illustrated PowerPoint presentation will explore the rich history of the USO from its original inception right up to current times, including many "Then and Now" photographs. Hospitality centers, Bob Hope and the camp shows, and other activities will be explored along with a display from Mr. Martin’s extensive USO photograph, document, and artifact collection.
Monday, February 17 Snow date February 18
P. R. Martin III
How Three Daughters of Dementia Started a Global Community
Join Middletown author Marianne Sciucco as she tells the story of AlzAuthors, the global community of authors sharing their Alzheimer’s and dementia stories to light the way for others. Sciucco, author of the novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story, helped found the organization in 2015 with two women she met online who had also written books about their Alzheimer's and dementia experiences. Their mission: to lift the stigma from these diseases and empower those who live with them, their loved ones, and caregivers. What happened next was totally unexpected: They created a movement that includes 200+ authors, a website, bookstore, anthologies, community outreach, and more. "Sharing our stories makes us strong," says Sciucco, who acknowledges that many of those living with dementia are isolated, as shame and stigma often prevent them from disclosing their diagnosis. Her presentation will include a discussion on the power of story to make change personally, globally, and legislatively and how those overcoming or facing adversity can tell their own stories.
Monday, February 24 Snow date February 26