Local Teacher Shares ‘Journey Home’ Game

As part of a Spring 2018 Binghamton University Elementary Education Curriculum Development course, Dr. Jenny Gordon assigned graduate students to craft a board game for use in a classroom. Then-student Alisha Jermayne Merrill created ‘Journey Home’, an immersive Social Studies game for grades 3-5 that focuses on Native American cultures. Ms. Merrill drew from her own experiences and culture to develop this game. She is now teaching with the Johnson City School District in Johnson City, NY. Check out our interview with Ms. Merrill here.

Woodstock - Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive is a 38-disc collection of every recording made at the landmark festival

Woodstock At 50: The Unheard Recordings

In this defining interview, Andy Zax, producer of a massive new Woodstock box set, shares previously unheard recordings from the festival and the remarkable stories behind them.

Free PD Series for Social Studies Teachers

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control:
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story?”
–”Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”, Hamilton
Every student has a voice and a story. Is it true that they have no control over how their stories are told, or can we provide resources to help them direct their own narratives? In this three part series educators will have the opportunity to explore tools, devices, and unique practices which encourage students to not only critically consider how history is defined, but also how to ensure their own stories are accurately documented and their point of view is conveyed. Cultivating Inclusive Spaces for Empathy Inquiry
April 10, 2019 | 7:00 P.M.

Brene Brown says, “Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” And while the concept is clearly conveyed, teaching empathy, as it applies to understanding history especially, is not quite as clear cut or simple. Teachers, we hope you’ll join us for  the first of our three part series specifically for Social Studies educators, “Who Tells Your Story.” Through this exciting ‘live learning’ event, we’ll discuss how to cultivate inclusive spaces within your classroom so students can build a foundation for learning and inquiry that allows them to empathize with, and better understand, different perspectives.

An enormous portrait of George Washington hangs alongside swastika banners and American flags at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1939 during the German American Bund's Pro-America Rally.

When Nazis Took Manhattan

In 1939, an event at Madison Square Garden was billed as a “Pro-America Rally.” It was, in fact, a rally in support of Hitler and fascism.

Hanford Mills Presents its Annual Ice Harvest Festival

The Hanford Mills Museum near Oneonta presents its annual Ice Harvest Festival on Saturday, February 3 from 10am to 3pm.  Executive Director Liz Callahan joins us to explain the process of harvesting ice, how it is stored, the treat that is the ultimate reward in July for the ice harvest in February.

Franklin Stage Company Presents 'Magdalen'

The Franklin Stage Company welcomes actress Erin Layton in her play ‘Magdalen’ about the Magdalen Laundries of Ireland.  She and director/collaborator Julie Kline talk about the journey from the shock of learning about the Magdalen Laundries to crafting a one-woman play that gives voices to the many characters involved in those tragic circumstances. https://wskg.org/audio/magdalen.mp3


Photo credit: Erin Layton

Hanford Mills Celebrates Independence Day

The Hanford Mills Museum celebrates Independence Day with demonstrations, a fishing contest, frog-jumping, and ice cream made by a steam-powered churn using ice from last winter’s Ice Harvest.  Executive Director Liz Callahan talks about the many events and hands-on learning opportunities available at the Independence Day Celebration. https://wskg.org/audio/hanford4th.mp3

Film Producer Deborah Hoard Talks about 'Angkor Awakens'

Cinemapolis in Ithaca presents the documentary ‘Angkor Awakens’ for a week long run.  We hear from the film’s producer, Deborah Hoard about the extensive research and hundreds of interviews that went into creating this portrait of Cambodia. https://wskg.org/audio/hoard.mp3


Photo credit: Jonathan Eames via Robert H. Lieberman

Chords of Memory | Coming Soon

Chords of Memory is a web series from WSKG that combines historic photographs with local musical talent. In each episode, a local artist provides the musical backdrop to a showcase of hand-selected images from various photographic archives. Each piece is intimate and performed acoustically, and many of the photographs shown are preserved at historical societies across our region. Look for more videos coming soon! https://youtu.be/aPz-gv-lfjo


In 1787, the first settlers arrived to form a new Tompkins County community named for English poet John Dryden. Dryden, New York was established on land set aside as the Central New York Military Tract, and the land was to be used in place of pay for Revolutionary War veterans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkyCX4osQbI

Funding provided by a grant from Empire State Development.

Hot Wheels

In 1968, Elliot Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, devised a plan to compete with the popular Matchbox model car line from the British company Lesney Products. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tve7kI2xJGs

As apposed to Matchbox’s more realistic themed cars, Mattel’s cars were designed to look like the popular hot-rods of the era. They featured vibrant “spectra-flame” paint and were able to achieve extremely high speeds thanks to low friction plastic. It was the birth of Hot Wheels, and by the end of the decade Hot Wheels was the hottest toy car brand in the US. The early Hot Wheel’s cars were affectionately referred to as “Redlines” because of the distinctive red pinstripe found of their wheels, and today they are highly sought after by collectors.

Fire Trucks

Toy fire engines first became popular with young children in the 1880s. Typically made from cast iron and tinplate, these early toy fire wagons were extremely detailed and included a number of accessories including hoses and ladders. Today, toy fire engines still manage to capture the hearts and minds of young and old alike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGM75CaKjEg

Watch More Timeless Toys Videos.

Lunch Boxes

Metal lunch pails became popular among blue-collar workers at the end of the 19th century. The first metal lunch boxes for children were made in the 1920s and 30s, for children who wanted to emulate their working parents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idsRJtetq_0

In 1950, Aladdin Industries revolutionized child lunch boxes when they released a metal lunch box decorated with a decal of Hopalong Cassidy – it was a huge success, and soon a slew of other character-based lunch boxes followed. Between 1950 and 1970, 120 million lunch boxes were sold. In the 1960s, cheap vinyl lunch boxes made a brief appearance, but they were too flimsy and failed to catch on with kids.

Robot Toys

While mechanical automata had existed since ancient Greece, the first mass-produced mechanical toy robots were built in Japan following World War II. These early wind-up robots, typically made from tin and wonderfully detailed, delighted young children around the world. Now considered both works of art and engineering wonders, the toy robots from the 1940s and 50s are highly sought after by collectors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Vboa8jk6w

Watch More Timeless Toys Videos.

Cloth Dolls

The history of cloth fabric dolls stretches back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. During the late 1800s, when painted or printed lithograph fabric rag dolls were all the rage, two women from Ithaca, New York would leave their own unique marks on this ancient toy tradition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhPYmMf2yIg

In 1892, Celia Hazlitt Smith patented the “Tabby Cat.” Known also as the Ithaca Kitty, Smith’s doll was sold as a printed pattern on muslin for 10 cents and was extremely popular, selling nearly 200,000 units its first year. Smith’s design stood out from others because it included a piece of cloth depicting the cat’s feet, allowing the toy to stand upright. It was considered so realistic people used the doll to scare away birds and mice.


The first dollhouses were originally built as expressions of wealth for members of Europe’s aristocracy during the 16th century, but it wasn’t long before children became fascinated with the miniature homes. German craftsmen began making dollhouses for children during the 17th and 18th century, and by the 19th century mass-production methods allowed toy makers to produce dollhouses cheaply and quickly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVwg8NZq0Pg&t=12s

The toy became a favorite among children in the growing middle class, and by the 20th century toy makers were making dollhouses that suited a large range of tastes and needs. Today, dollhouses of all shapes and sizes continue to be a desired plaything among children.  

Watch More Timeless Toys Videos.

Ghost from the PAST Talk about Binghamton History

The Preservation Association of the Southern Tier is presenting ‘Spirits of Binghamton PAST’ in downtown Binghamton. Actors portray historical figures of Binghamton at Binghamton landmarks and talk about the history of the buildings, as well as their own influence on history.  You can take a walking tour of Downtown Binghamton and meet some historic figures from the past. Tours leave Christ Church at 15 minute intervals. Reservations recommended – call 607-237-0887 to schedule your tour time. Note: the tour is not handicap or stroller accessible.

A Musician Caught Between Art and Politics is Forced to Explain his Actions

Chenango River Theatre is presenting Ronald Harwood’s play ‘Taking Sides’. Wilhelm Furtwängler was the best conductor of his time.  Unfortunately that time included Nazi Germany and World War II.  He remained in Germany, an ardent opponent of the Nazis, insulated by his great fame, and useful as a propaganda tool.  Yet, after the war, his actions were judged suspect. ‘Taking Sides’ explores the interrogations he experienced. Actor James Wetzel talks about playing the American Major charged with forcing Furtwängler to admit that he willingly collaborated with the Nazis. https://wskg.org/audio/sidesmix.mp3


Photo Credit: iClassical.com via Flickr



Correspondence Between A. Burr and A. Ham On Display In Cooperstown

Thanks to a little Broadway show, one of the most talked about founding fathers these days is Alexander Hamilton. The Fenimore Art Museum is helping encourage this interest in American history with a new exhibition, Hamilton’s Final Act, which displays the letters between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton that led to their final, fatal encounter. Chris Rossi, curator at the Fenimore, spoke with Crystal Sarakas about the exhibition. The exhibition is on display until December 31 at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY.  

Photo: John Turnbull, National Historical Archives

Binghamton University's Past 2 Future Project Aims to Perserve Local History

On the second floor of Binghamton University’s Rockefeller Center building, you’ll find a room pilled high with boxes of photographs and film canisters alongside an array of digital equipment. This room is the headquarters of Binghamton University’s Past 2 Future Project. Hands-On Research
The Past 2 Future Project was started by the university as a way to preserve the area’s rich local history and to give its undergraduate students an opportunity for hands-on research. “Several years ago, the university interviewed undergraduates and asked them what would they like more of, or what was missing from their education,” states Dr. Kevin Wright, the director of the Past 2 Future Project. “One of the things that really came to the top of the list was more involvement in research.”

The Past 2 Future Project, or P2F, collects donations of historical materials, including photographs, diaries, and newspapers, from local individuals and organizations.

New Collection: PBS World Explorers

Some sailed across the Atlantic, others rocketed to the moon. Learn more about the lives and journeys of some of history’s greatest explorers with this new collection. PBS LearningMedia is excited to announce the newest collection: PBS World Explorers. We hope this collection helps you to inspire a spirit of curiosity and adventure in your students during the new year. Highlights from World Explorers Collection



Browse full World Explorer Collection

"A Christmas Carol" moves through the Phelps Mansion Museum

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol makes itself at home as the audience follows the play from room to room in the Phelps Mansion Museum, now decorated for Christmas. Chris Nickerson plays Ebeneezer Scrooge, along with Jan DeAngelo as Jacob Marley, Joe Bardales as Bob Cratchit, and Judy McMahon, Mickey Ray, Nick DeLucia as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Adam Ackerman and Matthew Beach will be featured as Tiny Tim. https://wskg.org/audio/phelpschristmasmix.mp3

Photo courtesy of Joshua B

We have received notification that performances are now sold out.  


How We Got to Now

How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson is a six part documentary series that reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered. Best-selling author and host Steven Johnson explains his new 6-part series and what he hopes viewers take away from it. How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered. It’s a journey that takes Steven to meet penguins in the middle of the desert, deep down into the sewers of San Francisco and to the frozen wastes of the Arctic to fish with the Inuit. These stories unfold in six episodes:

“Clean” –Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world.

Looking Back

This week on Radio Lab,  we peer into evolution with a surprisingly intimate look at the life and death of two individuals we all call ancestors. Plus! The history of everything, including you.  

The desire to trace our way back to the very beginning has lead to unprecedented discoveries. Today, three stories that give us a surprisingly intimate peek into the life, and death, of those who came before.

American Football

Today on Radio Lab, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a touchstone of the American identity. Along with conflicted parents and players and coaches who aren’t sure if the game will survive, we take a deep dive into the surprising history of how the game came to be. At the end of the 19th century, football is a nascent and nasty sport. The sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles.