Monthly at Noon

$10 Suggested Donation

Lunchtime Lectures will be either virtual via Zoom or hybrid, giving you the option to join us in person or virtual. If you are joining us virtually. you will receive an email from the Erie Canal Museum via no-reply@zoom.us providing you personal link to this secure event at least one hour prior to the event beginning. All registrants to the program will receive a recording of the talk following its completetion.

Note: We are unable to offer refunds for event reservations or donations. Please be sure you can attend prior to contributing. All event reservations/ticket sales/donations are final, unless the Museum cancels the event.

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2022 Schedule – Upcoming

Thursday, December 22 at 12 PM- Rod Mackler, Bill Merchant, Derrick Pratt, Tim Roth- Interesting Infrastructure: Four Unique Mid-Atlantic Canals– VIRTUAL PROGRAM

With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 the United States experienced a period of “Canal Mania,” resulting in the construction of thousands of miles of the canals throughout the country. While most attempted to emulate the Erie Canal in its economic success, the realities of geography, finances, politics, and engineering necessitated that each canal be unique in its own special way. This roundtable, featuring Rod Mackler of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association, Bill Merchant of the Delaware & Hudson Historical Society, Derrick Pratt of the Erie Canal Museum, and Tim Roth of the Canal Society of New Jersey, will examine four of these unique canals, looking at their similarities and differences while having an engaging exchange on 19th century American canals.

Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 12 PM- Errol Willett – Beyond the Surface – HYBRID PROGRAM

Errol Willett, a Professor of ceramics in the School of Art at Syracuse University, will talk about his work as a ceramic artist and how he became part of a research team called Haptek Lab (hapteklab.com). The team has been studying the intersection of architecture, ceramics and digital technology, and more specifically, the use of robotics to bring new design potential to architectural ceramic panels used for exterior siding on buildings. Haptek Lab is made up of architects, designers and digital fabrication technologists in collaboration with Boston Valley Terracotta, a major architectural ceramics design and manufacturing firm in Buffalo, NY. The team took on the Erie Canal as subject matter for testing some of the possibilities of the new technology. Some of the group’s experiments are currently on view in the Erie Canal Museum’s Link Gallery and outside in the Weighlock Building’s canal pit.

Thursday, February 23, 2023 at 12PM- Mary Alexander and David Brooks – Perennial in Frame: Art and History of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal- VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This laid back, fun, and engaging presentation will look at the Arkell Museum’s extensive collection of Mohawk Valley and Erie Canal art and tie it to the history, memory, and revitalization of the Mohawk Valley region. Featuring Mary Alexander, Curator of Education and Public Engagement at the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library, and David Brooks, Education Director at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will join forces to talk art and history in the Mohawk River Valley and the Erie Canal.

“Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration.” ― DeWitt Clinton, The Life and Writings of DeWitt Clinton

More to be announced soon!


Thursday, January 20 at 12 PM – Stephen Pennington – Benjamin Wright, Father of American Civil Engineering

The early 19th century was a time of great change as the United States transitioned from the colonial era to the industrial age. Benjamin Wright’s engineering career spanned the better part of that time from 1790 to 1840. Stephen Pennington’s presentation chronicles Wright’s life and varied career from country surveyor to his early work on America’s railroads. After surveying the Mohawk River for navigation improvements and supervising the engineering of the Erie Canal project, he then went on to contribute to such projects as the Chesapeake and Delaware canal near Philadelphia, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal near Washington, DC. From the capital city, Wright advanced his engineering practice as America grew and viewed its manifest expansion to the West.

Thursday, February 17 at 12 PM – Suzanne Spellen – Garnet Douglass Baltimore: Landscape Architect and Engineer Extraordinaire

In 1901, the city fathers of Troy, NY wanted a fine, naturalist city park to rival the parks of other cities, such as Manhattan’s Central Park, and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. They chose the highest point in the city: Mount Ida, purchased the land, and chose a landscape architect. That man was Garnet Douglass Baltimore. He was a son of Troy; his father had been a prominent member of Troy’s African American community, and he was the first black graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Our tour of Baltimore’s outstanding life and career includes Troy’s Prospect Park, as well as some of his other projects, including his first engineering job on the Erie and Oswego Canals. He was a well-educated African American man who operated freely and seemingly without prejudice in his chosen profession, and in the halls of power and society in early 20th century America. His story deserves to be told.

Thursday, March 24 at 12 PM – Susan Snow Wadley – Upstate NY in the late 1800s: the Life and Times of Theodocia Maria Toll Foster – VIRTUAL PROGRAM

Theodocia Maria Toll Foster, a lifetime resident of Verona, NY, was a highly published children’s author in the latter part of the 19th century as well as head mistress of a late 19th century boarding school for girls located in Verona and New Hartford. More broadly, her life is framed by a religious movement called the Second Great awakening, also known as the Burned Over District,  racing across Upstate NY throughout the 19th century. A staunch temperance advocate, her stories speak against alcohol, growing hops, and the travails of big city life.  Writing under the name Faye Huntington, she published some 40 books and many articles and stories in a popular children’s magazine of the day, Pansy. In this talk, Susan Snow Wadley explores her life and her writings and values as reflected in her numerous published writings.

Thursday, April 14 at 12 PM – David Brooks – A Crossing Situation: The Erie Canal at Schoharie Creek 

David Brooks, Education Director at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, will explain how the Schoharie Creek was an impediment to the Erie Canal before the artificial river opened.  We’ll explore what Erie Canal engineers and builders determined was needed to cross the waters of the Schoharie from the earliest dam to the incredible John B. Jervis-designed Schoharie Creek Aqueduct, and what that meant for the success of the Erie Canal.

Thursday, May 19 at 12 PM – Ambrose Barbuto – Winter Maintenance on The NYS Canal System – HYBRID PROGRAM

Join Ambrose Barbuto of the NYS Canal Corporation to provide a brief overview of the maintenance activities that occurred on the NYS Canal System during the non-navigation season.

Thursday, June 16 at 12 PM – Shane Blauvelt – Recreational and Sustainability Projects Coming to Onondaga Lake – HYBRID PROGRAM

Honeywell continues making progress on recreational projects under the supervision of federal agencies, and with state and local governments on sustainability projects that could bring renewable energy opportunities for former industrial properties. In addition, more than 90 acres of restored wetlands are providing a sustainable habitat to nearly 290 wildlife species who have returned to the lake’s shoreline and nearby areas. Shane Blauvelt, Honeywell’s Senior Remediation Manager, will provide an update on these initiatives and what the community can expect to see in the upcoming year.

Thursday, July 21 at 12 PM- Pamela Vittorio- Weighing In: A Day in the Life of the Syracuse Weighmasters – HYBRID PROGRAM

This will cover a personal look at  weigh masters and the process they went through to become one, and their interactions with other people who worked at the weigh lock, the boatmen, and what happened in the Weighlock buildings.

Thursday, August 25 at 12 PM- David Beebe- Camillus Aqueduct Restoration – HYBRID PROGRAM

Learn more about the restoration of the historic Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct, the only restored towpath era aqueduct on the Erie Canal. Explore this engineering marvel and the tremendous effort involved in its rehabilitation!

Thursday, September 22 at 12 PM- Patrick McGreevy – The Canal and the Continent: Imagining, Creating and Understanding a Pivot of Change – HYBRID PROGRAM

What did the original Erie Canal mean to those who imagined, built, and tried to understand it? Decisions made at various levels, including the local, impacted, and were impacted by, wider historical transformations. This presentation will explore some of these connections between decisions, meanings, and consequences.

Thursday, October 20 at 12 PM- Derrick Pratt – The Genesee Valley Canal – HYBRID PROGRAM

The Genesee Valley Canal was one of the more audacious canals constructed by New York State following the completion of the Erie Canal. Despite its relatively short lifespan and lack of financial success, it nonetheless had a transformative impact on the Genesee Valley. Join Museum Educator Derrick Pratt in exploring this fascinating canal.

Thursday, November 17 at 12 PM- Craig Williams – Mapping David Vaughan’s New York – HYBRID PROGRAM

Join us as we uncover the story of Irishman David Vaughan’s life, from his expertise in drafting maps to his reflections of life on the Erie Canal. Vaughan was an Irish immigrant who came to Albany in the late 1840s. He became recognized for his talent drafting maps and plans, as well as his observations of life along the Erie Canal.