To mark the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) and emphasize the significant work of history organizations and programs across the state, we asked our FY2017 and FY2018 grant recipients to submit a short narrative and photos describing the impact of NJHC funding. Each week until the end of our fiscal year in June, we will post a spotlight featuring the responses of our grant recipients. Whether NJHC support contributed to general operating, a brand new exhibit, an engaging education program or the restoration of a historic object, it’s truly amazing to see what New Jersey history organizations, libraries, and individuals have to offer.
This week we spotlight Historic Cold Spring Village!
Supported by the NJHC, Historic Cold Spring Village’s (HCSV) distance learning program has been used by educators around the nation. Schools as far away as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts have made use of Village presentations to introduce their students to the wonders of the past without having to leave their classrooms. The program, “We See America Learning: Teaching Early American History through iVisits,” features eleven distance learning courses each presented in one of the museum’s restored historic buildings. The distance learning programs, which are interactive and adaptable to any grade level, are delivered via a state-of-the-art broadband IP system or Skype. A variety of topics are offered, including ‘The Story of Old Glory,’ which tells the history and origins of the United States flag; ‘Gone for a Soldier: A Day in the Life of a Civil War Infantryman’; and ‘Past Versus Present,’ a comparison of modern everyday objects with their Early American equivalents, i.e. a flashlight vs. a lantern or a digital camera vs. a daguerreotype. HCSV Education Director Jim Stephens has been running the program for sixteen years. “In a time of budget cuts, distance learning is a great way for schools to inexpensively take advantage of what the Village has to offer,” he stated.
The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC) is a state agency dedicated to the advancement of public knowledge and preservation of New Jersey history. Established by law in 1967, its work is founded on the fundamental belief that an understanding of our shared heritage is essential to sustaining a cohesive and robust democracy.