This past Tuesday, I was honored to attend the Path Through History Conference held by Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany. It was a great experience to meet some of the 200 people representing Museums and History Tourism.
At the conference, I participated in the North Country work group to discuss ways to market our area as a destination for history tourism. Many themes were brought to our attention, but one that stuck with me was freedom. People in the North Country fought for freedom- from the American Revolution and the War of 1812, to the Underground Railroad, freedom is a driving notion in the North Country. However, during the conversation, I felt there was something missing. I mentioned how people in the North Country have such a strong sense of community. You help your neighbor when they are in trouble, no questions asked. This is the same sense of community that the Delords had! Henry Delord helped out the soldiers by offering them credit at his store during the War of 1812. Fanny helped out her fellow neighbors by offering medical services to those who could not afford a doctor. So I told the group a great way to market our area is to focus on how neighborly we are. People downstate may not understand this sense of hospitality, and it is something they can experience by traveling to the North Country. We are the North Country Neighbor for Canada, Vermont, and Downstate! Many in the group expressed their support for marketing as the North Country Neighbor, including Senator Betty Little!
While there is no guarantee that is the path the North Country will take, I was still heard. Sometimes it is just gratifying to know that people are listening.
At the conference, Governor Cuomo announced the new Path Through History Initiative. Governor Cuomo is pushing to promote historical and heritage tourism in New York State. To do so, the state is launching a new Path Through History website which will feature easily accessible information for historical sites throughout the state. The state is also launching a new smart phone app to be used to find these historical sites. Along major highways, there will be signs marked with a Path Through History logo to mark important events and historical sites. All of this will be launched in the future. Each of the ten regions in New York, including the North Country, will receive $100,000 to help with this new initiative.
I was proud to represent the Kent-Delord House Museum at this conference, and I am even more thrilled to have a governor who is so passionate about history!
Click here to read a Times Union article about this event!