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Past and future
January 3, 2009 - Bill Ackerbauer
We ran a letter to the editor this week from Noel Levee, the Johnstown city historian, who very graciously wrote in praise of the book I put together this year in commemoration of Johnstown's 250th anniversary. It's true that a lot of my time and energy went into the publication, but I can't accept Noel's compliments without offering my own right back at him. Noel was one of several devoted local historians who contributed not only time and energy but expertise -- they're experts, I'm merely an earnest dabbler -- to "Celebrating Johnstown."
Besides Noel, I had tremendous help from Deb Callery and Barb Germain at the Johnstown Public Library; Fulton County Historian Peter Betz; Johnson Hall State Historic Site Manager Wanda Burch; Mary Donohue of the Evans Library at Fulton-Montgomery Community College; Bill and Joan Loveday, the Fulton County Historical Society and the Fulton County Museum; and Gloversville City Historian Jim Morrison. Other folks who provided historical photos and information include my dad, Charlie Ackerbauer; my grandmother, Nancy Bennett; and my good friend Marilyn Lavigne.
I received a ton of valuable materials and insights from my friend, neighbor and former civics and economics teacher Bill Pollak. For most people who read this blog, Bill needs no introduction. For the few who don't know him, he's a retired JHS teacher and a former mayor, county supervisor, school board member, Glove Cities Colonials football player, etc., etc. He now runs the Greater Johnstown School District Museum, which is a remarkable cultural asset for our community. When I pick up the phone and hear "Hey, it's 'the curator!'," I know another heaping helping of Bill's signature brain food is coming my way.
Now that 2008 is officially in the past tense, I'm looking forward to spending some time on my next history-related project. I have borrowed from the Johnstown Public Library several audio tapes of lectures and recollections by Bob Bedford, the late Johnstown historian to whom the "Celebrating Johnstown" book is partly dedicated. My goal is to convert many or all of the audio segments into .mp3 format and burn them onto CDs. I'll certainly put at least a few of them online. I might even put together a "greatest hits" package of several segments and link them together with additional commentaries from modern historians... but there I go getting ahead of myself again. I'll keep you posted on this and other projects in the year ahead.
(What are you planning for 2009? Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know of any historical, musical, dramatical, literary or otherwise cultural goals you might have.)
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