Speaker Series

Tuesdays at 7:30 pm
The Cornwall Presbyterian Fellowship Hall, 222 Hudson Street, Cornwall-on-Hudson
Admission: $7
Museum members: $5
Prepaid registration is not required.
Come early for better seating!  Refreshments available.

Tuesday, October 27
Fort Constitution and the Hudson Highlands in 1775 use photo of Jim Johnson in revolutionary war gear with caption: Dr. Colonel James M. Johnson, U.S. Army, Retired
Dr. Colonel James M. Johnson, U.S. Army, Retired will speak about the Hudson Highlands during the American Revolution in 1775, 240 years ago. He will focus on the construction of Fort Constitution on present-day Constitution Island and its ties to the later Fortress West Point. Dr. Johnson is the Dr. Frank T. Bumpus Chair in Hudson River Valley History and the Executive Director of the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College and the Military Historian of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. He taught for fifteen years in the Department of History at West Point, heading the military history program in his second tour, and at Marist college since 2000. Dr. Johnson is an expert on the War for Independence in the Hudson River Valley and the author of numerous scholarly and popular essays and articles on this subject.

Tuesday, November 3
A History of the Fight for Storm King
In 1962 Consolidated Edison of New York announced plans to build a pumped-storage hydro-electric plant at Storm King Mountain. An environmental opposition emerged and fought the plant until Con Ed abandoned its plans in 1980. Robert Lifset will share the story of that struggle, how and why it unfolded as it did, and why it matters. Mr. Lifset is the Donald Keith Jones Associate Professor of Honors and History at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of Power on the Hudson: Storm King Mountain and the Emergence of Modern American Environmentalism and the editor of American Energy Policy in the 1970s.

Tuesday, November 10
Domesticating the Wilderness: 19th Century Artists, Tourists, and Mountain Houses in the Hudson Valley
Thomas Cole and other artists of the Hudson River School painted the hills, crags, valleys, lakes, and forests of the Hudson River Valley in their search for the sublime and picturesque associated with the American wilderness. Mountain houses arose as tourists followed the artists to experience nature. This lecture by Dr. Harvey K. Flad, professor emeritus of Geography at Vassar College, considers the role of the artists in establishing the Hudson Valley region where the natural and cultural landscapes intersected to forge American culture. In the Catskills and surrounding areas, mountain houses were built for the emergent tourism. Mohonk Mountain House, located in the Shawangunks, remains as symbolic of the era.

Tuesday, November 17
The History and Meaning of Kosciuszko’s Garden at West Point (1779-2015)
Kosciuszko’s Garden is one of the oldest continuously existing gardens in the United States. Colonel (later General) Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish engineer, designed, engineered and oversaw the construction of the original fortifications at West Point while serving in the Continental Army. During his time at West Point (1778-1780), Kosciuszko built a garden with his own hands terraced on the side of a cliff overlooking the Hudson River for the purpose of “rest and repose.” Learn about this garden from Dr. Betsey Blakeslee, president of the Friends of the American Revolution at West Point, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the vast Revolutionary fortification system built under the command of General Washington.

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