Lyceums flourished in the United States from the mid-19th century and were important in the development of adult education. Lecturers, musicians, singers and readers traveled the "lyceum circuit," going from town to town to entertain, speak, or debate. The current Lyceum Series at the Grange continues this tradition with lectures and programs of interest to the community.

Special day and time!
SUNDAY, January 15 at 3pm
The 2016 US election was the most significant in over 100 years — since the consolidation of the two-party system in the early 20th century. That system, based on American global predominance, is beginning to unravel with potentially enormous consequences. This Lyceum will look at the roots and branches in history of the current political crisis.

Presentation by UVM history professor Andy Buchanan followed by discussion.
$5 / students free.

Sunday, April 23 at 3pm
Why Lincoln Matters: Rhetoric, Race, and Religion in Lincoln’s Two Most Famous Speeches
In honor of Lincoln’s birthday and Presidents’ Day, this presentation will discuss the continued relevance of Abraham Lincoln, exploring rhetoric, race, and religion in our sixteenth President’s two most influential speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address.  

Richard Aberle teaches English at Plattsburgh State and was a fellow at the Institute for Ethics in Public Life.  Awarded a 2016 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Aberle studied American history in the graduate program at the University of Chicago, earned an MA in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and did his doctoral work in English Literature at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
$5 / students free.

Living and Farming on This Land
4-part series co-sponsored by the Essex Farm Institute

Tuesdays at 7:30
The Grange Fall Lyceum focused on the history of the land we call “home” and the impact of people on it. The Winter 2017 series, co-sponsored by the Essex Farm Institute, will look at another side of life in our rural region, the interconnection of farming and living on the land.  
$5 per lecture / farmers and students free.

February 21  Living and Farming with Carnivores: A panel discussion
Farms are not isolated parcels but are part of an entire community. Carnivores play an important role in the Earth’s ecosystems; systems that agriculture thrives in. This lyceum will be a panel discussion with  Geri Vistein, a Carnivore Conservation Biologist who will take us into the lives of the carnivores causing the most damage on farms in the North Country, describing their sociology, hunting habits and life cycles. Abby Sadaukas, whose family owns the Applecreek Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine, and is a member of the Farming with Carnivores Alliance, will share her farm’s understanding of the carnivores around them, and what they do to live together with them. Shaun and Linda Gillilland are local livestock farmers who use a combination of tools to protect against predators. They will discuss their experiences farming with carnivores over the years.

February 28  Women in the Early Grange Movement: Standing Together
The National Grange, founded in 1867, was one of the only organizations in the US to encourage recruitment of women and to promote them as leaders. It advocated for women's suffrage and temperance and in 1885, recognized as a founding principle, the equality of the sexes. Through its engagement with issues affecting farmers and rural residents -- demanding lower railroad freight rates, supporting rural mail delivery, and organizing cooperatives -- it also improved the lives of women on the farm. The history of women in the Grange and other agrarian movements from the 1860s through the mid-20th century will be discussed in this presentation by Mary-Nell Bockman, a Grange Hall board member and longtime activist in the women's rights movement.

March 7  Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Facing the Crisis in Rural America
During the 1980s, farmers in the United States were confronted by an economic crisis more severe than any since the Great Depression. Many of those who relied on agriculture for their livelihoods faced financial ruin. The epicenter of the downturn was in the Midwest, but the effects quickly rippled to other areas where agriculture played a prominent role in the local economy. The 1980s was when rural America came apart at the seams, but plans were developed decades earlier to move farmers off the land, in the name of economic efficiency. This presentation will look at the roots and reactions in rural communities to the ongoing crisis. Our speaker, Siena Chrisman is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher addressing agriculture policy and social justice. Her work has appeared in Modern Farmer, Edible Brooklyn, Grist, and other publications, and she is currently working on a book about the 1980s farm crisis. Read more about Siena HERE.

March 14  From Soil to Plate: Growing (and Eating) Better Food
A critical issue in the food supply currently is that farmers get paid by quantity not quality. The principles and techniques necessary for growers to produce much higher quality food are generally available, but the economic structure of farming have made it difficult to focus on this. Tonight's presentation by Dan Kittredge, an organic farmer for many years and Director of the  Bionutrient Food Association, will look at how farmers can grow healthier, tastier crops on land that is vital and ecologically sound. And how consumers can become engaged in improving the quality of the food supply. Find out more about the Bionutrient Food Association HERE.

Tuesday, March 21  
Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film THE BIRDS with forum
Introduced by Ted Cornell, Obie Award-winning director of the upcoming Essex Theater Company's production. As a prelude to this summer's ETC production of "The Birds" by Daphne DuMaurier, we're showing excerpts from the original 1963 film starring Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren. Considered a masterpiece of film-making and one of the scariest movies of all time. Find out why! Ted Cornell will talk about the film and the upcoming play, including selected readings by the cast.

September 27
 Growing Up at the Grange: Margaret Gibbs talks with Evelyn Brant, Litha Stafford and Shirley LaForest
Today, the Grange carries on traditions of music, lectures and community gatherings into the twenty-first century, but what was the Grange like in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century?  
October 4
   Place of Resources, Labor, and Refuge: A History of Iroquoian and Algonquian Peoples' Occupation in the Adirondacks 
To Iroquoian and Algonquin peoples the Adirondacks were an important place of resources and work, and they remain so. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the region also became a place of refuge. This presentation examines the variety of ways Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples occupied and used the landscape of the Adirondacks from pre-European contact to the present.

October 11  Mapping the Landscape: Understanding Changes to the Land Through Cartographic Evidence
Have you ever wondered why a road, foundation, or wall is situated as it is? Why did we build homes and farms where we did? When was something you remember seeing added or lost? 

October 18 
Country Riding: Cyclists’ Rural Rambles, 1880 to 1900 
For roughly two decades, 1880 to 1900, American wheelmen and wheelwomen engaged in unbounded geographic exploration, aided by a new and independent means of travel: the bicycle. 

October 25
  The Landscape of Crown Point:
An Overview and Recent Discoveries 
Crown Point preserves the ruins of two colonial war fortifications: Fort St. Frederic (French, 1734-1759) and "His Majesty's Fort of Crown Point" (British, 1759-1773). It reflects the history of Lake Champlain for centuries as a significant battleground dotted with military outposts. This presentation will look at how this is documented through features of the site and the historical documents and findings of archaeological excavations. 

November 1
Essex County's Immigrants: 
Names, Places & Stories
Through anecdotes and stories, tonight's presentation tracks the surprisingly robust, endlessly surprising legacy of ethnic and racial diversity in Essex County from the first days of European discovery to the present time.

six objects
February 9
The "built environment" is the physical expression of historical development. What are the most distinctive and important examples of that environment and how does "style" in building happen? Presentation by architects Beverly Eichenlaub and Bryan Burke, Premises Design + Architecture

February 16  SIX BOOKS
Books are the “voices” of our cultures, but not all writing is the same. From ancient cuneiform to texting, this lecture explores how changing communication technology has helped determine whose voices are heard, whose stories are told, and who controls the message.
        Colin Wells is the author of Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World and A Brief History of History. He lives in Westport, where he’s currently working on a book about the historical impact of alphabetic writing.

February 23  SIX MOVIES
What makes a movie great and why do some films become classics? This talk will focus on the iconic movies we continue to love for decades. It will also include short clips from these six films and a list of David's 100 favorite films — 94 more than you thought you'd get.
    David Reuther is founder of the Champlain Valley Film Society and a confirmed film-aholic. He also admits to a long love affair with binge-watching on Netflix.

From the North Country to the World: Six Adirondack women who did us proud and impacted the world. Find out about the six most prominent Adirondack women (in history) who have influenced the region, the state, the country and the world. Presentation by Kenda James, a 20-year plus Willsboro resident and founder of Adirondack Women in History.

March 8  
What do themes in exploration, transportation, defense, and invention share among SIX BOATS?  What does our view of boats tell us about ourselves and our human quest?  Join Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Executive Director Mike Smiles in an inspired view of the world through SIX BOATS and how our local history on Lake Champlain shares a common link to our maritime past, present, and future.

Performance and discussion with
Adirondack Shakespeare Company actors
Patrick Siler and Tara Bradway

March 22
Presentation by George Davis, writer and blogger

A History of Everything in Six Objects
September 29
Much of modern history has been shaped by war; and guns have often decided the outcomes. Tonight's talk will examine this history by looking at six guns that have made history.
Speaker: Andy Buchanan, lecturer in History at the University of Vermont. Author of American Grand Strategy in the Mediterranean in World War II.

October 6
Eating is a necessity and the drive to get food has been a major force in shaping our culture and history. As gourmet Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man." From the first piece of meat that accidentally fell into the campfire to the modern-day flavored air of molecular gastronomy, tonight's talk is a culinary journey through time and place to discover the six foods that changed the world.
Speaker: Gretel Schueller is an award-winning journalist and author. She has held editorial positions at several national magazines, including Natural History, Audubon, and most recently Eating Well. She is currently working on a book about food and the gods of Greece.
October 13
Speaker: Emily Phillips earned her MA in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College with a specialization in Paintings Conservation. She has held positions and internships with the Vermont Painted Theater Curtain Project, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and The Fogg Museum, Boston among others.She is currently chair of the New England Conservation Association and an Associate member of The American Institute for Conservation. Emily is the owner of Phillips Art Conservation Studio, specializing in painting conservation, in Essex, NY. 
October 27
Speaker: Barry Goldstein is a photographer specializing in portraiture and documentary themes. Originally trained as a physician and biophysicist, he is Associate Professor of Medical Humanities at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Visiting Professor of Humanities at Williams College, and Adjunct Professor of Humanism in Medicine at the NYU Medical School. He was the first Artist-in-Residence at the New York University Medical School on September 11, 2001, an experience that led to his collection Being There: Medical Student Morgue Volunteers Following 9/11. His most recent book Gray Land: Soldiers on War, is collection of portraits of, and interviews with soldiers in Iraq and at home. 

Tuesday, May 5
Why Peace is Achievable in the Middle East 
Personal accounts from the McGill University International Community Action Network (ICAN) Fellows
Students from Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Syria will present their own stories and talk about the experience of joining together as a group despite the fact that they come from opposing sides in the Middle East conflict.

Tuesday, June 16 
The Life and Times of Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland never forgot her Adirondack roots even as she was heralded as the American suffrage movement’s most glamorous messenger in the 1910s. The United States’ only suffrage martyr also was a lawyer and activist who epitomized the decade’s “New Woman” through her demands for meaningful work and personal freedom. Her family estate, Meadowmount, is now Meadowmount School of Music in Lewis. 
Presentation by Linda Lumsden, Milholland's biographer. Co-sponsored by Adirondack Architectural Heritage. 

February 24
Glory Days: The Diary of Whallonsburg Farmer Charles Stafford
The lives and events that shaped this community presented through the pages of the daily diary of Whallonsburg resident Charles Stafford. Beginning in the late-1850s and continuing through the 1860s, the diary is a record of the joys, trials, and daily life of that era.

March 3
1915: The Year the Grange Was Built
A look at the year that Grangers began the construction of the Hall, as the foundation was laid and the building rose on this spot. From the tides of war to women's suffrage, the automotive revolution, Hollywood and more, the events that the people of the Champlain Valley would have read about and been part of in 1915.

3-part Winter Writers Series
March 10, 17 and 24
This series brings three terrific writers to present their work and thoughts on writing about science, historical events and people in their novels and stories. They write in different genres but all face the challenge of integrating the "real" world into their work.
March 10: Andrea Barrett
Award-winning author of many novels and stories, often using scientific discoveries and technology -- from the tuberculosis cures (The Air We Breathe) to arctic exploration (The Voyage of the Narwhal), Andrea has researched and written about important scientific issues in her books. 

March 17: Kathryn Cramer
An editor and author of "hard" science fiction, Kathryn has worked with many writers who integrate concepts of science into fictional future worlds. She has edited some of the most respected anthologies in science fiction and fantasy writing, most recently the 2014 collection Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future.

March 24: Kate Moses
The poet Sylvia Plath has been the subject of biographies, literary critiques, films and other formats, and was a prolific writer herself. Kate has taken this complex and very public figure into a novel, facing the challenge of re-imagining a well-known life and bringing her own perspective.

The Era of Commercial Shipping on
Lake Champlain and Its Shipwreck Legacy
art cohn
Talk by Art Cohn, co-founder and former executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Art also directed the Lois McClure Project, creating a full-sized replica of an 1862-class Lake Champlain canal schooner 

Adirondack Iron: Creator of Boom Towns and
Ghost Towns, 1750s-1970s
John Moravek
Talk by John Moravek, retired Associate Professor of Geography, SUNY Plattsburgh.

Brothers On The Line: The Reuther Brothers
and the Rise of the Autoworkers Union in the 1930s.  Special documentary film showing and
talk by the director, Sasha Reuther.

ary 4
Wild Beginnings: The Formation of the Adirondacks,
with David Franzi, professor of Earth & Environmental Science, SUNY
Presentation on the geological beginnings of the mountains and the Champlain Valley.
David has been doing field research looking at the impact of the Ice Age and other
formative events in the region.
February 18
Settling the Wilderness: When Men and Mountains Meet

with historian and author Glenn Pearsall
When Men and Mountains Meet focuses on the critical settlement period of the Adirondacks, mostly form 1790 to 1820. Immediately after the American Revolution, the Adirondacks became a land of opportunity for businessmen and land speculators. Each enterprise began with great optimism, and most ended in despair and human tragedy. The author of this new book will look at how and why this was such a challenging place for settlements.
February 25
The “Invention” of the American Wilderness,
with Andy Buchanan, lecturer in History at University of Vermont
    The idea of wilderness is relatively recent. This presentation will look at how this concept developed; the "strenuous life" ideal of Theodore Roosevelt and how it dovetailed with the rise of American imperialism; and the role of environmentalists like John Muir in the invention of wilderness.
March 4
Forever Wild: A History of the Forest Preserve with Ken Hamm, DEC Forest Preserve staff attorney
    In 1885, the land in the Adirondack Park was conserved and never to be put up for sale or lease. The park was given state constitutional protection in 1894, so that the state-owned lands within its bounds would be protected forever ('forever wild'). The part of the under government control is referred to as the Adirondack Forest Preserve. This program will look at its origins and development over the last century.
March 11

Rendering a Landscape: The Influences of Wild Places
with Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, Environmental Philosophy Program Coordinator, SUNY-ESF’s Northern Forest Institute.
We understand who we are by telling stories. The shapes that these narratives take are influenced by the places where they, and we, are rooted. Influence is a subtle and often implicit force, mysterious and, as the poet Rilke wrote “it falls on me like moonlight on a window seat.” This program will explore how the Adirondack landscape has influenced art and artists.

March 18
Wild Waters: Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks with Hallie Bond, author and former Adirondack Museum curator
    Ever since Ralph Waldo Emerson took a trip through the Adirondacks in a small boat, millions of Americans have seen an Adirondack vacation as the antidote to the stress and pollution of industrialized society. This illustrated lecture explores boatshops, liveries, and a way of life and leisure that has all but vanished.  (This lecture is free, sponsored by the NY Council for the Humanities, Speakers in the Humanities program)

FALL 2013 Lyceum Schedule

150 Years After the Civil War: Why It Still Matters
Sept. 24  The American Civil War in the World, 1848-1871, presentation by Andy Buchanan
Two lectures on the
The Adirondack Regiment in the Civil War, by Sharp Swan
Oct. 1
  Part I:  “We Are Coming Father Abra’m”
Oct. 8 
Part II: “Seeing the Elephant”

4-part series: The Impact of Slavery in American Literature, with author Colin Wells
Oct. 15  Part 1: David Walker’s 1829 Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World
Oct. 22
  Part 2: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Oct. 29
  Part 3: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
Nov. 5, Election Night Dinner, no Lyceum
Nov. 12
  Part 4: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter From a Birmingham Jai

Nov. 19  Memory and Memorialization: The Legacy of the Civil War, presentation by Andy Buchanan
Special holiday Lyceum
Dec. 3
  The Battle for Christmas, with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday


Land and Labor: The Past, Present and Future of Farming in America
January 29
Creating the Land: Deglaciation of the Champlain Lowland and northeastern Adirondacks
Speaker: David Franzi, professor of Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh
Four-part series on the History of Farming in North America
Speaker: Andy Buchanan, lecturer in Global and American History, University of Vermont
February 5, Part 1   From the "Three Sisters" to the Rise of Commercial Agriculture
February 12, Part 2   A House Divided: The Agricultural Roots of the Civil War
February 19, Part 3   The Settlement of the West, Mechanization and Commodity Production
February 26, Part 4   From the Great Depression to the 21st Century: State Intervention, the Family Farm Crisis and the Rise of Agribusiness

March 5
The Future of Food: A Discussion with Local Farmers
With James Graves, Full and By Farm; Marco Turco, Manzini Farms, Kristin Kimball, Essex Farm, Lucas Christenson and Ian Ater, Fledging Crow Farm. Moderated by Richard Robbins, professor of Anthropology at SUNY Plattsburgh.
March 12
Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America
Speaker: Dona Brown, professor of History, University of Vermont and author of a recent book on the back-to-the-land movement.
March 26
Hunting, Gathering and Fungus Farming: Feeding the Adirondack Farm Family in the 19th Century

Speaker: Hallie Bond, former curator at the Adirondack Museum for 25 years
Special Program
Sunday, March 24 at 3pm
Water Proof: Are rising water and shrinking ice the new norm for the North Country?
Presentation by Curt Stager, ecologist, science journalist and professor of natural sciences at Paul Smith's College. Curt has been conducting research in the Champlain basin and Adirondacks on the effects of climate change. Read more about his research in the April issue of Adirondack Life magazine.
Sponsored by the Grange, Adirondack Life, Champlain Area Trails and the Adirondack Council.

Winter/Spring 2012 Series
Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30
Don't Treat Your Soil Like Dirt!

Tuesdays at 7:30, beginning February 21
The History of the World in Nine Weeks
Runs from February 21 through April 17
A series of talks by Andy Buchanan, lecturer in global history, American and military history at the University of Vermont. Discussion follows, bring your questions.
$36 for series / students $18
$5 per class / students half-price

Drop-ins welcome

Class 1, 2/21:
Humankind Makes Itself: From the Origins of Humanity To the Farming Revolution
Class 2, 2/28:  City States, Empires, and the Cosmopolitan World that Bound Them
Class 3, 3/6: The Opening of the Eurasian Ecumene: Hellenism, Han China, and the Silk Road
Class 4, 3/13: Dark Age Europe, a Resurgent Middle East, and Rise of China
Class 5, 3/20: From Atilla to Ghenghis Khan: Eurasian Networks of Trade and War
Class 6, 3/27: Europe Rises I: Feudalism, the “Age of Discovery,” and the Origins of Capitalism
Class 7, 4/3: Europe Rises II: Industry, Democracy, and Imperialism
Class 8, 4/10: War, Depression, and Revolution in the “Short Twentieth Century”
Class 9, 4/17: The Present As History or Where Have We Come From and Where Are We Going?

Suggested Reading:
William H. McNeill, The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963, 1991).  Be sure to get the 1991 edition with McNeill’s introductory essay, “The Rise of the West after 25 Years,” written in 1988. This is a big book (over 800 pages) and is now a bit dated—as McNeill’s own 1988 essay acknowledges—but it remains the best overall introduction to the subject.

Winter 2012
Facing the Future: a two-part discussion series

Saturday, January 14 at 3pm
Part 1: Changes, Challenges, and Choices in the Adirondacks

Presentations by Brian Mann, Adirondack bureau chief for North Country Public Radio and Curt Stager, ecologist, paleoclimatolgist, science journalist and author of Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth. Brian Mann and Curt Stager research and write about the future of the Adirondacks from different perspectives: economy, climate, natural history, and people.

Thursday, February 2 at 7:30
Part 2: The Myth of Sustainability
Presentation by Richard Robbins, professor of cultural anthropology at SUNY Plattsburgh and author of Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism.

Fall 2011

The Story Behind the Story: Life and Times of Seven Classic Novels
A seven-week series on Tuesday nights at 7:30, beginning September 20
Each week, local author and historian Colin Wells will give a brief summary of the story, and then focus on a particular aspect of it—a character, a theme, a plot element — that offers an unusual insight into the historical context. As always, questions and comments are encouraged.

Thursday, November 17 at 7:30
From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in the Champlain Valley
Join Anita Deming of Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Andrew Alberti from Lakes to Locks Passage, as they trace the evolution of farming from Native Americans to modern-day, from the Three Sisters to "The Dirty Life."

Thursday, October 6 at 7:30pm
On the Gunpowder Trail: From Ancient China to Lake Champlain
Black/gunpowder has a fascinating history.  Its path may be traced from ancient China and India to the expanding western world, where the trail will be followed this evening from the city of Bath in the UK to Lake Champlain in upstate New York, from Waltham Abbey to the Whallonsburg Grange.

Saturday, June 18, 7:00

Climate Whiplash: What Happens After Global Warming
Dr. Curt Stager is an ecologist, paleoclimatologist and science journalist. A professor at Paul Smiths College with a PhD in biology and geology, he is the co-host of Natural Selections on North Country Public Radio.
Dr. Stager is the author of the just-released, Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth.

Friday, June 24, 7:00pm
BLOOM: The Plight of Lake Champlain

Seen from the air, the green colors swirling in the dark blue lake water are gorgeous. But the beautiful spreading substance is toxic, one of the blue-green algae blooms that have begun to appear regularly in Lake Champlain. BLOOM is a documentary that examines the decline of the health of the lake and its causes, including urban stormwater drainage, aging waste-water treatment plants and agricultural fertilizer run-off.

What is the Lyceum Series
flourished in the United States before and after the Civil War and were important in the development of adult education in America. Noted lecturers, musicians, singers and readers would travel the "lyceum circuit," going from town to town or state to state to entertain, speak, or debate in a variety of locations. The lyceum movement — hundreds of informal associations across the country that hosted these events — had a presence in Whallonsburg from early in the nineteenth century. Charles Stafford, a prosperous local farmer with a house and farm on Leaning Road, writes in his 1856 diary about his regular and enthusiastic attendance at the Lyceum debates here and programs continued for decades after. The new Lyceum Series at the Grange continues this tradition by presenting educational lectures and programs of interest to the community.

Subpages (1): Grange Audio FIles