August 25, 2012

New program coordinator at Kent-Delord House initiates weekly blog

Kent-Delord programcoordinator initiates blog

By JEFF MEYERS, Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Connie Mandeville would like to bring a new emphasis to the Kent-Delord House that will enhance a family atmosphere at the historic site.

Mandeville, the museum’s new program coordinator, brings a personal connection with history and a familiarity with modern technology to the position.

“I realized history was my passion while still in high school, learning about the history of the nation and who we are today,” said Mandeville, who graduated from Peru High School and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in history and women’s studies from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.

Transferring that high-school passion into her college studies opened even more areas of interest for Mandeville, who graduated summa cum laude this past spring. While in the Finger Lakes region, she worked for the Geneva Historical Society and became involved in many social-justice groups on campus.

“I studied the history of civil rights in our nation, the struggles of people like me,” she said, referring to a time in America when women did not enjoy equal rights and faced a long, difficult battle to overcome their own form of discrimination. “That helped me become very socially conscious. It’s where my passion for history comes from.”

Mandeville took over as program coordinator in July, and though much of the Kent-Delord House’s focus is on the upcoming Battle of Plattsburgh Weekend in early September, she is also looking for ways to attract a larger audience to the museum’s collection, including a new blog on what exactly the Kent-Delord House means to Plattsburgh and the North Country.

“As a recent college grad, I recognize the prominence of social media, how important social media is to younger people,” she said. “I’m starting a blog for the museum to create more interest in what we have to offer.”

The blog will provide opportunities to elaborate on the historical facts that visitors to the museum receive during tours, she added. She will be able to go into more detail on why the people of the Kent-Delord House represent such an important perspective of the region’s past.

She will update the blog once or twice weekly, each time focusing on a particular character or event that stands out in the annals of the Kent-Delord House.

The blog is currently available through a link on the museum’s Facebook page and will be available on the Kent Delord House website when that site is updated in a

few weeks.

“Most young professionals are on Facebook,” she said. “I see this type of social media as another avenue for attracting interest to the museum.”

Mandeville hopes to expand on activities at the museum as well.

“We’re trying to come up with some more programs for the fall,” she said, noting that some hands-on activities may include tinsmithing and costume-making workshops. “We want to offer some activities to get more people involved.”

The Kent-Delord House Museum is also strengthening its connection with other regional museums, including the War of 1812 Museum and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vt.

“There is an important historical connection across the region,” she said. “We all provide the pieces of a much larger puzzle.”

Mandeville picked up a lot of her interest in history around the family dinner table. Her father, Thomas Mandeville, is a professor of history at Clinton Community College and is the current historian for the Town of Champlain.

But she also brings a new enthusiasm to history, an enthusiasm fueled by today’s information technologies.

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