In 2020 the Little Falls Historical Society and SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Graduate Program began a collaborative effort to explore and share the history of Little Falls, NY. Earlier in 2018, Dr. Erik Stengler was staying in Little Falls where he, “discovered the perfect living example of what was taking shape as one of the main ideas with which I try to imbue my students: that even though our museum studies is unique in that it has a specific track on science museums, it is impossible to disentangle science, history and art into separate stories, since they are all intertwined.
So, while I was still living in Little Falls, I brought my first cohort of science-track students on a field trip there. The experience was so well-received and enjoyed that in 2019 the field trip was expanded to include all students of the incoming cohort, in both the science and history tracks. As in 2018, we made sure we visited the Little Falls Historical Society Museum, and we were once again given the warmest welcome by the docents on duty that day.”
Erik goes on to describe how his early visits to Little Falls led to a collaboration that make working together a memorable experience for all.
In 2021, the graduate students published the ebook, Industrialization in Little Falls, New York, 1790-1960: A Cabinet of Curiosities. In the preface Erik shares, “This is the first of many “Cabinets of Curiosities” that students of the Cooperstown Graduate Program will imagine with objects from the collection of the Little Falls Historical Society in Little Falls, NY. As part of the course “Science Cabinet of Curiosities” the students select objects for this imaginary cabinet of curiosities, do in-depth research about them and their role in a specific aspect or period in the history of Little Falls, and then create a product that supports the Historical Society’s Museum and its programming. In 2020, the product has been this book about the industrialization in Little Falls.” The book can be read online or downloaded for reading later.
Audio Tours in and around the Little Falls Historic District
Today, the Little Falls Historical Society has added to their series of audio tours created by the students making a total of eight audio tours available to the public. Each audio tour features a mapped location (directions available) along with a description of the site or building being featured. These audio tours offer visitors the historic context of each location in an audible format. The website also features additional articles available for additional information.