Recap: Shared Cultural Heritage Days

Short Recap Shared Cultural Heritage Days

On 3-4 October the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted two Shared Cultural Heritage Days. The goal of the Shared Cultural Heritage Days is to connect heritage professionals in the U.S. and the Netherlands, furthering knowledge exchange and international collaboration.

The October 3rd, the program focussed on “Telling a Fuller Story: Multiperspectives of Dutch-American Heritage”. In academics as well as in heritage management and interpretation, inclusion of multiple perspectives is a pressing theme and a hot topic in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Cultural institutions in both countries are working on presenting on topics such as slavery, women’s history, domestic life, and Native American history. The day consisted of multiple lectures and panels and was attended by over 50 educators, curators, researches, archivists, programmers, historic house directors, and more from New York State and New Jersey. The day was also attended by the National Archives of the Netherlands and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

The second day focused on “New Netherland on Paper: a Roundtable on Dutch-American Archives”. The round table consisted of representatives of institutions that hold Dutch-American archives of the New Netherland period to discuss the next steps in preserving, describing, and making the New Netherland archives more accessible. Furthermore, it was discussed how the stories within these archives can reach a broader audience.

Joost Taverne welcomes the attendees of the Shared Cultural Heritage Day

Shared Cultural Heritage – Telling a Fuller Story: Multiperspectives of Dutch-American Heritage

After a welcome by cultural attaché Joost Taverne, Sophie van Doornmalen (Senior Cultural Officer Shared Cultural Heritage and Dutch Old Masters) shared updates on our Shared Cultural Heritage program.

Sophie van Doornmalen discusses the updates on our Shared Cultural Heritage Program

The morning program consisted of presentations of major projects supported by Dutch Culture USA. Mia Nagawiecki of the New-York Historical Society presented the “Women and the American Story Online Curriculum”. The New-York Historical Society’s WAMS curriculum sheds light on women’s history within American history through free online resource material. WAMS offers several courses that each highlight a specific time period in American history. Learn more about the New-York Historical Society and the WAMS curriculum here.

Mia Nagawiecki of the New-York Historical Society

Maeve Montalvo of the Museum of the City of New York spoke about the professional learning development on “Native New York: American Indians and Dutch New Amsterdam”. This program teaches educators how to address history properly and break existing myths. The course discussed how history is a process that is continuously changing and that what educators teach may not always be up to date or correct within the process of history. It also stresses the importance of focusing on people; individual stories that have shaped our history.

Maeve Montalvo of the Museum of the City of New York

Mark Schaming, New York State Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and director of the New York State Museum revealed the designs for the New Netherland Galleries, the first permanent exhibition on New Netherland in the world. He described how he sees the galleries in context of a larger project; promoting the confluence of cultures.

After a short break, the program commenced with a lecture on “Researching and Interpreting the Lives of the Enslaved During the Cononial Period”. The lecture, given by Cordell Reaves and Travis Bowman of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, was divided into two parts. The first part of the lecture by Mr. Reaves focused on using an interpretive approach to examine and discuss the lives of the enslaved. This approach incorporates complexity, humanity, and agency into the discussion. He highlighted several examples in which the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation used the interpretive approach to study the lives of the enslaved during the colonial period. Mr. Bowman discussed the importance of archival documents and historic objects. He addressed the 81 documents that were found in Senate House Archives dating back to the 17th century. These documents, for example, a note with a list of names of members of a household including names of conceivably enslaved persons, can provide important details on individual stories of those people.

Travis Bowman and Cordell Reaves

Russell Shorto and Dennis Maika of the New Netherland Institute revealed their preliminary ideas on establishing an outpost of the New Netherland Institute in New York City. The New Netherland Institute is also leading the celebration of New Amsterdam Cultural Heritage Day in April 2020.

Russell Shorto

After Shorto and Maika spoke about the NNI, several contributors participated in a panel on the Understanding the Celebration of Pinkster. Cordell Reaves, Michael Lord, Lavada Nahon, and Neil Clarke discussed how the celebration of Pinkster came about, how it transformed over time into a mostly African celebration, and how we should perceive the celebration now.

Yolanda Ezendam spoke about the fuller story of Dutch colonial heritage in the Netherlands and Johan van Langen spoke about the Dutch-American history in the National Archives of the Netherlands.

The program ended with a Panel on International Visitor’s Programs in the Netherlands, during which Yolanda Ezendam, Amanda Mansie, Ian Stewart, and Kamau Ware spoke about their experiences with these programs in the Netherlands.

The day ended with a networking “borrel” during which the attendees could engage in conversation about the captivating day.

“New Netherland on Paper” – Round Table on Dutch-American Archives

On October 4th, the Consulate hosted a roundtable on Dutch-American archives. Several archival institutes from New York State and the National Archives of the Netherlands gathered to discuss the future of the 17th century Dutch-American archives. During the round table discussion, representatives of institutions that hold Dutch-American archives of the New Netherland period discussed the next steps in preserving, describing, and making the New Netherland archives more accessible. Furthermore, it was discussed how the stories within these archives can reach a broader audience and tell a more complete narrative of history by including marginalized voices.

Round table on Dutch-American Archives