Lunchtime Lectures

Join us monthly for our engaging Lunchtime Lecture series to learn about different facets of the Erie Canal!  Explore this page for information on upcoming talks and links to watch past programs.

Upcoming Programs

Join Dr. David Stradling on Thursday, August 12 at 12 PM EDT as he discusses the natural and cultural forces that combined to make New York City the nation’s premiere port and Upstate New York one of the world’s most dynamic regions in the mid-nineteenth century.  Registration is $5.  To register for this event, please call the Museum at (315) 471-0593 and ask for Derrick.

We welcome people of all backgrounds and various accessibility needs. Digital presentations will be offered on Zoom with closed captions.


More Details & More Programs Coming Soon
September 16 at 12:00 PM – Dr. Norman Dann, Bloomers, Ballots and Marmalade: The Life of Elizabeth Smith Miller


Past Programs

July 15 at 12:00 PM

Join us at the Erie Canal Museum on Thursday, July 15 at 12 PM EDT where Interim Curator Derrick Pratt will present on the Museum’s new temporary exhibit Erie Eats, looking at the broad and diverse history of food and drinks along the Erie Canal.  This talk is free and open to the public.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring the Unrecognized Role of the Canal in Irrigating Western New York 
March 17 at 12:00 PM

Dr. Stephen Shaw of SUNY ESF explored how farms and others currently use water from the canal as well as plans to expand irrigation to support the region’s agricultural economy and to provide some resiliency to the increased occurrence of drought. Click here to watch the recording.

Converging on the Canal: The 19th Century Through Food
April 22 at 12:00 PM

Few things are more universal than a need for food.  The 19th century in America brought massive growth of industry, movement of people, and avenues for social uplift. This had a direct impact on the evolution of food production, consumption, and dining practices across geographic and socio-economic lines. At the center of much of this change was the opening and expansion of the Erie Canal and the people who lived and worked on it.  Amanda Massie and Valerie Balint discussed how the technology and ideas that moved along the Erie Canal shaped how Americans ate in the 19th century. They discussed different communities associated with the canal highlighting the diverse people who played a role in supplying American tables.  Click here to watch the recording.

BrewErie Canal: A Short History of Syracuse Breweries
May 27 at 12:00 PM

May’s Lunchtime Lecture featured Bob Searing, Curator of History at the Onondaga Historical Association. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the program was streamed live on the Museum’s Facebook page. This presentation covered the storied brewing history in the Salt City. The city’s central location on the Erie Canal, the easy access to fresh water and ice, and the ease of transportation, coupled with the significant levels of immigration of Irish and German immigrants in the 19th century, made Syracuse a major brewing center in the days before Prohibition killed off most of the local breweries. The talk covered the major players locally including Greenway’s, Bartels, Haberle, and Moore and Quinn, as well as some of the smaller, short-lived brands. The talk ended with the renaissance of local brewing, including a discussion of Middle Ages, Empire, Towpath, Eastwood, Talking Cursive, Heritage Hill, and the OHA and Willow Rock’s revival of the beloved Congress Beer in August of 2019. Cheers! Click here to watch the recording.

Beer and Spirits in Upstate NY
Saturday, June 12 at 12:00 PM

As part of the Erie Canal Museum‘s ongoing Erie Eats: Erie Canal Foodways Project, the Museum hosted a lecture by author Don Cazentre covering the historic changes and modern trends in beer, wine, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages across the Erie Canal corridor.  The presentation took place in the Locktender’s Garden at the Erie Canal Museum.

Don is a writer for Syracuse.com, The Post-Standard and NYUP.com. He has covered the trends and changes in beer, wine, and spirits across Upstate New York since the mid-1990s. He is the author of New York Breweries, 2nd ed. (Stackpole; 2014) and Spirits & Cocktails of Upstate New York (The History Press; 2017). He is currently part of a team working on a complete history of beer and brewing in New York state for the SUNY Press.


This project is dependent upon the generous support from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the NYS Canal Corporation, along with support provided by Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as a part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.