n an American region whose stunning story is expressed through the
celebrated sites and sources of 300 years’ time, some of us have become “finders” and others “Keepers” of this heritage. This guide will serve both researchers and public visitors.
The continuity of regional history is maintained in the public trust by the collecting
repositories and interpretive museums, by municipal historians, and by the staff, boards and volunteer history keepers who preserve the sites and sources of our communities’ pasts.
The region which you are about to explore shares a common history dating to that
time when a political move found Puritans, Pilgrims, Dutchmen, Black, Huguenots, Walloons, the polyglot northern European residents of Nieuw Amsterdam and
Native Americans in the same boat. We have been trained to think in terms of historical compartments: New England, the Middle Atlantic States, etc., but
geographical familial, political, economic and cultural links make this a region worth exploring with an eye to connections.
Out of the common boat in which 17th Century folk found themselves, have come
untold historical riches: castles, stone houses and longhouses, industrial and circus paraphernalia, state and national historic sites, a Presidential Library and
local libraries full of genealogical materials, galleries of folk arts and fine art, great museums and local historical societies, colleges, archives and universities; parks,
planned romantic landscapes, archaeological digs and historic farmsteads, fine furniture and hand-crafted tools; silken garments and crazy quilts; Revolutionary
War forts and the nation’s foremost military training academy; the oldest street in American and some of its newest ethnic neighborhoods- an encyclopedic array
representing a global community growing in a regional corner of America.
History is kept and presented differently throughout the area. Both New York and
Connecticut have official State Historians, but New York also has a management system of appointed county historians who guide the work of town, village and city
historians. Connecticut relies primarily on historical societies and institutions at the town, village and city level to keep historical resources and make them
accessible. Tourism marketing agencies, area arts councils, the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley and a myriad of environmental resource
agencies also assist in many areas producing seasonal calendars announcing historical events and circulating brochures from individual institutions.
Following an historical trail requires the imagination to see potential relationships
and to discover history in both obvious and unusual places. Along the way you will encounter some of the nation’s and the world’s most exciting people, places,
architecture, art and cultural objects, sited in the view shed of what we believe to be one of the earth’s most beautiful natural settings.
Some of the clues to the complex relationships within the region are to be found
as you leaf through the holdings and missions of the institutions encompassed in this guide. Other connections will be apparent only by studying the original source materials entrusted to our history keepers.
Follow both the beaten and the less trodden path through the region’s
communities- accompanied by this History Keepers’ Companion.