June 28, 2013

New program records local family history

By JEFF MEYERS Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — A new program will help area children learn more about loved ones’ lives while recording local history for future generations.

Through the Clinton County Family Heritage Interview Series for Kids, hosted by Clinton County Historical Association, younger children and teenagers can interview a member of their family and have it recorded and added to the Historical Association’s collection at the Clinton County Museum.

“We have an education component at the museum where we try to develop programs to fit our core audience, including the area’s children,” said Melissa Peck, museum director and curator.

“A lot of times, we have visitors who come to the museum and want to share their stories and memories. This interview series will, hopefully, take advantage of that interest.”


Each participant will have a half-hour session to interview a parent, grandparent or other loved one about significant periods in their lives.

A representative from the Historical Association will record the interviews, which will be placed in the museum archives.

A copy of the interview will also be made available to the family within a few weeks, Peck said.

“This will give children an opportunity to really learn about their family’s past, and it will give families a chance to share their experiences.

“We have a place downstairs set up for the interviews, and we will provide a list of possible questions to help the kids get started.

“Usually, when you ask one question, that will lead to a dozen more,” she added.


Besides developing a historical record of local families for the museum, the series will also be an opportunity for kids to connect with their grandparents.

“I’ve always been interested in my grandparents’ lives,” Peck said. “There is so much we can learn if we’re able to take the time to listen to their stories.”

Children can also interview someone who has made an impact on their lives, such as a teacher, coach or mentor, Peck added.

Although each session will be limited to six interviews, people interested in recording their family members can call the museum to schedule a session by appointment.


The program is partially funded by a $400 grant from Stewart’s Shops through the company’s Holiday Match Program.

The funding helped the Historical Association purchase a video camera for the project and will pay for other activities designed to help the museum make electronic documentation of the region’s history.

“It’s given us the opportunity to expand our own capabilities to record and interpret local history,” Peck said. “It’s a major benefit to our mission.”

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The first of four sessions in the Clinton County Family Heritage Interview Series for Kids is from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday. Subsequent sessions will be held July 27, Aug. 31 and Sept. 28. To register, call the Clinton County Historical Association Museum at 561-0340.