To highlight the 250th anniversary of the building of historic Johnson Hall and the development of its surrounding estate, the State Historic Site will present special interpretive walking tours during the 2013 season.
Beyond The Mansion: A Walking Tour of the Johnson Hall Estate and Outbuildings will be led by Aaron Robinson, Johnson Hall’s Senior Historic Site Interpreter. Archeological evidence, historic documents and ongoing research have provided a better understanding and interpretation of the property.
Robinson will detail the historic grounds and outbuilding locations of Sir William Johnson’s 700-acre 18th century working estate, highlighting how the craftspeople, guests, servants and slaves utilized these spaces to make Johnson Hall function.
Robinson, a graduate of the University at Albany Public History Program, has been on the Johnson Hall interpretive staff since June 2011.
The next Beyond The Mansion guided tour will be held Thursday, August 22nd from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm and will be repeated on Saturday, September 21st from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm.. Tour-goers should meet in the East Stonehouse.
On Saturday, August 3, Lois Feister-Huey will present “Archeaology at Johnson Hall”. A retired archeologist with the New York State Bureau of Historic Sites, Ms. Feister-Huey directed many of the archaeological projects carried out at Johnson Hall in the past. The results not only found missing outbuildings, but also developed a better understanding and interpretation of the material culture of the Johnson family, as well as of their slaves, servants and visitors to the 18th century estate.
Before she retired, Ms. Feister-Huey consolidated the information from all the work done by both herself and those archeologists who preceded her into a 1995 single hard-covered volume entitled Johnson Hall Outbuildings, Landscape History and Forgotten Features: Documentary and Archeological Research Conducted between 1945 and 1991. This information is used by the Johnson Hall Site staff to enrich their knowledge and interpretation of Johnson Hall. In addition, she collaborated with Bonnie Pulis, former Education Curator at the site, to write the 1997 book Molly Brant: A Legacy of Her Own. Brant, a Mohawk Indian, was the lady of the house who, with Sir William Johnson, raised their family of eight children and served as a partner in the diplomatic relations with Native Americans during New York’s colonial period.
Additional lectures will include “Colonial Johnstown, According to the Daybook of Robert Adems, Sir William Johnson’s Bookkeeper” presented by Gayle Ann Livecchia on Saturday, September 7, and the final lecture on “Georgian Opulence - in the Wilderness, above the Hudson, and on the Seacoast”presented by Judy Anderson on Saturday, October 5.
Cyrus Durey: Frontiersmen of the Adirondacks: Economic Development in Early North America ($1.99 Kindle ebook, paperback edition $7.19)