News

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  • Monday, May 25, 2020 11:48 AM | Christine Ridarsky (Administrator)

    Today APHNYS launched a groundbreaking new crowdsourced COVID-19 documentation project for you to use and to share to capture stories about the pandemic and its effects in your community.

    The APHNYS Witness to History PixStori project allows anyone anywhere to participate by sharing images and stories about their pandemic experiences from the safety of their own home using a web-based social-media-style application. The goal is gather a large-scale collection of image-based short-form oral histories that can collectively demonstrate how people from throughout New York State responded to and experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "Responding to broad prompts, people are invited to choose or take photographs evoking what they wish to share, from their vantage," said Michael Frisch, past president of the Oral History Association and co-founder of Talking Pictures, LLC, the company behind the PixStori application. "In writing or voice, they describe what these images say and mean to them. The result can be a compact core of image, story, reflection, and insight—on their own ground, and in their own terms."

    Using a computer, cell phone, or other device, participants just go to our PixStori project site (see below), upload an image from their camera roll (or select a representative image from our collection), and use their built-in mircophone record a brief oral story discussing what the image represents to them. If they don't have a microphone, they can write a story instead.

    Frisch highlighted the potential of the APHNYS project and the short-form image-based oral history model, in general, during a workshop presented by the International Federation for Public History this morning.

    "At its core is the notion that responses to photographs, especially self-chosen or taken, opens a natural, open-ended story-telling oral history mode," Frisch said. "People describe the photo, and 'grounded but not bounded' by the image, they often then 'take off' to broad reflections. Surprisingly meaningful in concentrated short form, these become even more so, for public history, when brought together like tiny 'tiles' in a mosaic to tell broader stories. This is easy to do because they are 'born small,' modular units easily coded, sorted, and combinable by themes-- for a community, a nation, and perhaps especially for comparative and cumulative documentation of a global pandemic touching everyone’s lives."

    We encourage you to use this tool to collect stories from your community. Share the opportunity to contribute on your website and social media pages; personally invite community leaders, first responders, medical personnel, business owners, school teachers, and anyone else you can think of; and send press releases to your local media. All people need to participate is this link:

    https://www.pixstoriplus.com/invitation/y3j79ZFh2GagiEF4h.

    You may also wish to review the tip sheet that we've created to guide participants: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rqicKMIh7Kl_V_Ev_g4UU8jBsunuJHXk.

    Together we can ensure that we leave behind a comprehensive record of New York's COVID-19 experience from which future generations can learn!

    Questions? Contact us at publichistoriansnys@gmail.com.

  • Friday, May 22, 2020 11:41 AM | Christine Ridarsky (Administrator)

    The APHNYS Board of Trustees has made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person annual conference scheduled for September 21-23, 2020, in Oswego due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead our 1st Vice President Matthew Urtz and our Program Committee are working to put together a virtual conference and annual meeting. APHNYS members in good standing will be able to participate for free. Look for details in the coming weeks.

    Fortunately, the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center has agreed to allow us to transfer our 2020 contract to 2021 with no penalties. This means that there will be no negative financial impact on APHNYS as a result of this year's cancellation. Please plan to join us in Oswego next year! Dates will be announced soon.

    Please continue to stay safe and to document the effects of the pandemic in your community!

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 7:20 PM | Christine Ridarsky (Administrator)

    As lAs local government-appointed historians, it is our duty to document not just the past but the present. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event in all our lives; it is imperative that we record the impact on our communities and how our citizens respond. The Association of Public Historians of New York State suggests that you immediately begin documenting your community's response and offer the following guidelines and suggestions:

    1.  Remember! Health and safety are your number one priority. Documenting your community's response does not include risking your own health or that of your family and friends. Please follow all rules for social distancing and any quarantines that have been established.
    2. Keep a diary. Beginning today, record your memories of local events and reactions to COVID-19 at least since the beginning of March. Continue to update that journal as we move forward: What are you doing, what are you hearing and seeing, and how is the response to COVID-19 affecting your normal habits? Encourage the public to do the same. This can be done by in a variety of ways. Individuals can keep handwritten or computerized diaries, write blogs, record video or audio diaries or use whatever creative venue appeals to them.
    3.  APHNYS has developed a form that historians can use to collect stories from throughout New York State. Once the crisis and the collecting period have ended, APHNYS will share the responses with historians throughout the state Please share the Google form widely within your community and via social media and encourage participation: https://forms.gle/ZUxePXJLcQC2fKCK8.
    4. Take and/or collect photographs of various ways your community is responding. Remember to record the name of the photographer and the date and location when/where image was taken. Remember to be cognizant of copyright laws. The Google form mentioned above can also be used to collect images.
    5. Create and continually add to a timeline of your community’s response to the COVID-19. Make note of county, regional, state, and national declarations that have an impact on your community, as well as the community response. For example, Governor Cuomo’s order to close entertainment venues and to restrict restaurant operations, which came out as a Tweet. (Screen shots can be a useful way of documenting Tweets.) Madison County Historian Matthew Urtz shared a draft of a timeline he is creating; feel free to use it as a model for your own work: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tp-0XqBGW7ISBHoMtDzi7fLx-t-PClGN.
    6. Record/save and index local news reports (from print, television, radio and online sources), as well as social media notices. Particularly note any creative online activities people have created locally to keep people informed; these may be harder to document after the fact.
    7. Keep a record of specific activities your community's citizens are taking to help each other in this crisis, such as making grocery runs for the elderly, etc. Collect letters, posters, flyers, social media posts, etc., advertising these activities.
    8. Preserve all directives and other material relating to COVID-19 that are issued by your local government, especially physical media like posters and fliers but also email social media posts.
    9. Talk with and, when possible, record oral history interviews with your community's local officials, first responders, and medical personnel about the actions they are taking and how the public is interacting with them. Keep in mind that these folks likely will not have much time to talk with you now. If they are willing to share now, great, but understand if this is not a good time. In the meantime, take notes. Off-hand conversations will generate a great deal of interesting data that will otherwise be lost. It is much easier to document the situation as it is unfolding. Be sure to record the names of these key people with whom you cannot speak right away so when things settle down a bit you can set up a time to interview them.
    10. Talk with and, when possible, record oral history interviews your community's businesses owners and employees, particularly those who work in local grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and other sectors that have been particularly affected by the crisis. First responders and healthcare workers will be another key group to consider.

    We are unquestionably within a historical moment that will be of great interest to future generations. Government-appointed historians have a duty under New York State Law to document these sorts of episodes. You may wish to partner with your local historical societies, as well. The key here is to document, collect, and preserve as much data and information on the local reaction to COVID-19 as you can.

  • Saturday, March 14, 2020 12:00 PM | Christine Ridarsky (Administrator)

    Regional Meetings Postponed

    In light of the New York State's emergency declaration over the outbreak of the novel corona virus and out of an abundance of caution, the APHNYS Board of Trustees voted last night to cancel all regional meetings and other APHNYS-sponsored events through April 30, 2020.

    The board will be reaching out to Regional Coordinators in the next few days to determine whether it will be feasible to reschedule meetings that had been planned for March and April. Once decisions have been made, your Regional Coordinator will be in touch. At this time, our treasurer has not deposited any checks for registration fees. If your meeting is not rescheduled or if you cannot attend the rescheduled meeting, your check will be returned to you or voided, depending on your preference. Please do not contact your Regional Coordinator at this time; they will not yet have answers for you.

    Several regional meetings are scheduled for early May. We are closely monitoring the health crisis and recommendations from the CDC, NYS Department of Health, and individual counties health departments. We will make a decision about meetings scheduled in May by mid-April and will notify you accordingly.

    We appreciate your patience! Please continue to follow recommendation about hand-washing and social distancing. Your health and safety are important to us! 

  • Friday, February 28, 2020 2:17 PM | Christine Ridarsky (Administrator)

    It's that time of year! Time to renew your APHNYS membership! You don't want to miss out on all of the events we're planning this year. Members receive notices about regional meetings, as well as the Annual APHNYS Conference. Renew today!

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