🔗NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow: Revolutionizing the Narratives at General Schuyler’s Estate, Saratoga National Historical Park
American Conservation Experience
The Schuyler Estate and General Philip Schuyler House, part of Saratoga National Historical Park, present a unique opportunity to study and develop methods of sharing a wide variety of under-told, silenced, and surely some forgotten stories. From a vibrant indigenous history through a contest of empires, multiple struggles for freedom, and modern-day labor stories, the estate and its surrounding communities provide deep and rich opportunities for research as we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As a historic house and landscape, the estate has a deep, intersectional past connecting ethnicity, race, class, and gender from its earliest settlement until its preservation and through the present. Through the study and integration of historic land use patterns into the site’s interpretation, the Fellow will add critical context and incorporate new people and perspectives into its story. The Fellow will make a lasting impact by transforming the understanding and interpretation of not only this site, the small remaining preserved portion of a much larger estate and Schuyler Family empire, but the broader story of the village, the town, the region, the state, and the nation.
The Fellow will identify themes and narratives for research, synthesize existing studies and resources, develop ideas for interpretation and programming, and develop plans for reaching out to diverse audiences inside and outside of park boundaries. The work will help the park advance recently completed resources studies to the next phase by exploring areas for future research, including focused efforts to unearth information regarding individuals enslaved specifically by the Schuyler family and identification of descendants of those individuals.
Each NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow will complete work in four areas. Fellows will (1) perform project-based research; (2) share research results; (3) produce and substantially contribute to interpretive and educational products; and (4) pursue career-focused work.
1) Project-Based Research: Research will begin with a review of existing park documentation and secondary sources. The Fellow will then develop and implement a research plan in conjunction with NPS staff, mentors, and partner organizations. The Fellow will be encouraged to use multiple sources of information, including primary documents and museum and archaeological collections. Based on their research and expertise, the Fellow will also be an active team member in the development of a Cultural Landscape Treatment Plan for the Schuyler Estate scheduled for 2024 that will shape the preservation and interpretation of the Schuyler Estate Landscape for generations, as well as practical application of research into the development of interpretive and educational products and programming. In year two, the Fellow will consult with their mentorship team, as well as other subject matter experts as needed, to propose a project for their second year.
2) Sharing Research Results: The Fellow will collaborate with the support team to share the results of applied research with their hosts, cohort, Fellowship project team, volunteers, park partners, and ultimately to visitors, and state and local partners. This research will be shared on various platforms, including educational and interpretive content on NPS.gov and social media platforms. The Fellow will create research files for use by park staff and other scholars. The Fellow will also serve as a liaison to other public history organizations and community groups with the aim of sharing information and fostering ongoing relationships with the park.
The Fellow will be expected to develop and sustain connections with program-provided mentors and host staff, associated NPS staff, members of their Fellowship cohort, and other Fellows across the tenure of the program. In addition to being provided mentorship and support themselves, the Fellow will have the opportunity to mentor others and to enrich staff knowledge by organizing events such as virtual speaker series and presentations. Twice a year, the Fellow will participate with their cohort and other Fellows in a virtual conference for NPS staff and partners to provide updates about their research. The Fellow will be responsible for tracking and reporting accomplishments and for supplying copies of interpretive, educational, and research products to their host and to the National Coordinator.
3) Interpretive and Educational Products: The Fellow will work with park staff to develop programming, content, and materials utilizing a variety of methods, mediums, and technologies to expand site narratives, incorporate underrepresented stories, and reach broader audiences. These can include videos, podcasts, pop-up exhibits, educational materials, and more. They will also develop training materials to be used by interpretive staff and volunteers.
4) Career-focused Research and Products: In consultation with their mentors, the Fellow will carry out a career-centered project. About 20 percent of the Fellowship will be dedicated to this scholarly work that advances the Fellow’s career path. The Fellow will be supported by a multidisciplinary team that draws on local, regional, and agency-wide expertise. The fellow will be part of a community of practice which includes multiple universities, interns, local historians, and community leaders.
Essential Responsibilities and Tasks:
- Conduct original research into the lives and experiences of enslaved people on the Schuyler Estate, other Schuyler family holdings, and the Hudson Valley; synthesize existing research to share with staff, state, and community organizations, and other NPS and partner sites through in-person and virtual meetings and on multiple digital platforms.
- Expand the quality and level of interpretive programming at the Schuyler Estate and House to represent enslaved people and their enslavement more effectively and accurately.
- Create opportunities for a more comprehensive and equitable understanding of issues and social impacts of slavery in the Hudson Valley and the Schuyler Estate by researching the first-hand experiences of people enslaved by the Schuylers and by searching for descendants with the aim of bringing together a Schuyler Estate-specific descendant community.
- Bring to light personal identities and stories of those enslaved by the Schuyler family.
- Support the development of related programming leading up to the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
- Develop interpretive and educational products and programming using multiple methods and mediums.
- Work with park staff and contractors in developing a Cultural Landscape Treatment Plan for the Schuyler Estate.
- Prepare and present information in person and virtually to park staff, partners, descendants, and the public.
- Document findings and create usable and digestible training products for park staff and volunteers.