Path Through History

Path Through History Weekend – Discover the people and places that shaped American history

The Path Through History program and Path Through History Weekends showcase New York State’s fascinating history. A wealth of memorable experiences awaits you—from living history museums to forts and military landmarks to the homes of presidents, legendary writers and artists, and activists who fought to end slavery and to give women the right to vote. With an unparalleled network of museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions, Path Through History takes you across the state to discover events of the past and learn how they reverberate today.

Learn more here!

Walkway Talks – Crossing The River To Freedom: Fighting For Abolition and Equality

In the 18th and 19th centuries, African American people in the Mid-Hudson Valley faced enslavement, racism, and other barriers to full participation in the social and political milieus of New York. The Hudson River – both actual and as metaphor – offers a centerpiece for understanding those barriers and the fight for freedom. Join Peter Bunten at the East Gate Plaza in Poughkeepsie on Sunday, July 16 from 1-2 p.m. for this interesting historical lecture.

Peter Bunten is Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project, with which he has been affiliated for 13 years. He is the current Vice President of the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State and serves as a Trustee of the Dutchess County Historical Society. Through MHAHP he also is affiliated with Celebrating the African Spirit in Poughkeepsie and serves on the steering committee of the Northern Slavery Collective. Before his retirement in 2018, Mr. Bunten was the Education Manger for Historic Hudson Valley. He has a Master’s degree in Historical Studies, with an emphasis on Public History, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is a native of Poughkeepsie and attended local schools here.

Celebrating Black History Month (virtual)

Dutchess County Government is sponsoring a free virtual presentation by the Dutchess County Historical Society on Thursday, Feb. 23rd, at 7 p.m. to celebrate Black History Month and discuss a new project that celebrates the achievements and legacy of African Americans for our local community. 

imageSince the 1990s, groups of dedicated historians and community activists have worked tirelessly to uncover and share stories of Black residents of Dutchess County. The Dutchess County Historical Society’s Black History Committee, the Mid-Hudson Anti-Slavery History Project, and Poughkeepsie’s Celebrating the African Spirit group have shed new light on topics ranging from Black burial grounds to the exploits of Abolitionists in Poughkeepsie and the post-Civil War struggle for equality. This year marks another vital installment in this long-running work with the introduction of a new interpretive trail that links the Walkway over the Hudson to College Hill Park and shares the stories of Black residents with a new generation of visitors.

During the Feb. 23rd virtual event, which is open the public, Dutchess County Historical Society Executive Director Bill Jeffway will deliver an online presentation exploring this trail and the process of historical research and community advocacy behind its creation. Once installed, the western end of the new Walkway Freedom Trail will introduce the story of Sojourner Truth and local efforts to assist freedom seekers passing through the area. The eastern end of the trail is anchored at College Hill Park, where Frederick Douglass electrified an audience of thousands during his August 1858 visit to Poughkeepsie. Between these two points, visitors will learn the stories of otherwise forgotten individuals who demonstrated the moral courage and determination to strive in the face of oppression and prejudice. This forthcoming trail will elevate the stories of Africans and their descendants who lived locally and contributed to the diversity and development of Dutchess County despite many obstacles placed in their path.

For more information on the trail and to RSVP for the Feb. 23rd online discussion, please visit

Moving Art, Moving Audiences: Nineteenth-Century Traveling Exhibitions and the Matter of Abolition

Register for this virtual webinar hosted by the Olana Partnership.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Americans faced a new way to encounter art: the traveling exhibition. Sculptures, panoramas, and paintings crisscrossed the country, appearing at venues that included exhibition and entertainment halls, galleries, reform societies, and fairs. During this virtual webinar, Caitlin Meehye Beach will explore the phenomenon of traveling exhibitions as they intersected a pressing concern of the day: the abolition of slavery. Following the publication of her 2022 book, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery, this presentation focuses on three works in particular: Hiram Powers The Greek Slave, Henry “Box” Brown’s The Mirror of Slavery, and Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs. Tune in to consider the mobilization of images to abolish slavery, and the regimes of race, sentiment, and spectacle that would be confronted in so doing.

Caitlin Meehye Beach is an Assistant Professor of Art History and Affiliated Faculty in African & African American Studies at Fordham University. Her teaching and research focus on transatlantic art histories of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with special attention to the enduring effects of colonialism, slavery, migration, and racial capitalism. Published by University of California Press, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery is her first book and a recipient of The Phillips Collection Book Prize.

Dutchess County in 1870 (virtual)

A photographic tour of Dutchess County as it enters the Second Industrial Revolution

See Dutchess County as it was 150 years ago from the collection of photographs of local historian David Turner. The years after the Civil War saw a dramatic shift in life, not just in the United States as a whole, but also locally here in Dutchess County. Photographs from the era show the dramatic development of places like Poughkeepsie and Beacon as they move from their colonial past into an industrial urban environment. The wood buildings that once lined Poughkeepsie and Beacon would be torn down and replaced by the giant brick buildings we see today. Small mills along creeks and the Hudson River expanded into large factories, selling items to New York City and the rest of the expanding country. See how the small hamlets of Red Hook, Wappingers Falls, and Pleasant Valley grew into the sprawling villages they are today. The presentation will contain over 100 photographs from the 1860s-1880s showing some of the earliest images of the county.

To access this Zoom presentation, click here at 7 PM on Dec 16th