Past Quarterly Programs

Feb 17th 2013 Quarterly Program

Learn About Our Local Native Species and Their Habitats — Membership Meeting and Presentation on 2/17

How can we help rare native plants flourish in our landscape? Why do grassland birds thrive in some meadows and not in others? How does an ideal landscape look from the perspective of a native bee?

Learn about native species and their habitats in our Columbia County landscape on Sunday, February 17 at 2 pm at a presentation in the Harvey House by Conrad Vispo and Claudia Knab-Vispo, ecologists from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program. The talk will be accompanied by a Power Point showing of photographs assembled over years of research.

The gathering will begin with a brief business meeting. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Past Quarterly Programs

Aug 19th 2012 Quarterly Program

Local chef David Robinson will demonstrate easy ways to preserve some of the delights of summer dining in a talk on Sunday, August 19 @ 2pm. He will focus on three condiments—salsa, chutney and herb vinegar—that can be made from herbs, fruits and vegetables found in many local gardens.

Presented by the Austerlitz Historical Society, the program will begin at 2 pm at the reconstructed barn in Old Austerlitz on Route 22, one mile south of the intersection with Route 203. The hands-on talk will include recipes and the opportunity to ask questions and to taste each of the special dishes.

Chef Robinson trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and has owned and operated Bezalel Gables catering service in Spencertown for ten years. Among his many activities in the food world, he hosts a 14-part cooking series on Weekend Today in Albany and has created a culinary training program for military veterans called “Eat Your Mistakes.”

Known for his insistence on fresh home-grown ingredients in all his dishes, Chef Robinson works with 30 local farms and vineyards to acquire the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

This presentation is part of the annual membership meeting of the Austerlitz Historical Society but is open to the public. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. For more information, call 392-0062, or email [email protected].

Past Quarterly Programs Special Events

May 20th 2012 Quarterly Program – Rundell Family

A description and display of recent additions to the archives of the Austerlitz Historical Society will be the centerpiece of a gathering on Sunday, May 20 at 2 pm in Old Austerlitz. The major part of the collection–generously donated to the Society by the family of Helen Mesick Rundell of Spencertown includes hand-written diaries, business ledgers, personal letters, receipts, wills, patent certificates, newspaper clippings, photographs and other documents of the nineteenth century.

A large family tree and other materials trace the history of the Rundell, Mesick, Griswold and Deming families who have many descendents and other relatives still living in Spencertown, Austerlitz and the surrounding area.
The quarterly gathering of the AHS will take place at the Harvey House on the grounds of Old Austerlitz on Route 22, one mile south of the intersection with Route 203. The presentation of historic documents will be followed by a very brief business meeting. Refreshments will be served. There is no charge and everyone is welcome. Bring a friend!

The Austerlitz Historical Society is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the area. For more information, check the website at, send an email
to [email protected], or call 518-392-0062.

Past Quarterly Programs Special Events

May 19th 2012 Bob Herron’s 85th Birthday

View the flyer by clicking HERE

What: DVD Premiere and Bob’s 85th Birthday Party
When: Saturday, May 19th 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Where: Morey-Devereaux House @ Old Austerlitz Village
Attire: Don your fanciest outfit as the media will surely be out in full force!
Donation: $20 per person

Your $20 contribution includes delicious treats, fine beverages, and a DVD to take home. This is a great opportunity to visit with friends and neighbors and celebrate Bob in “his house.”

Please call (518) 392-0062 or click {encode=”[email protected]” title=”Party Reservation”} to reserve your place. Bring your friends too!

Past Quarterly Programs

Feb 19th 2012 Quarterly Program

Sunday February 19th at 2PM – Harvey House on the grounds of Old Austerlitz.

“An Architectural History of Columbia County, from the 17th Century to the Present” is the topic of a program sponsored by The Austerlitz Historical Society on Sunday, February 19 at 2 pm. The speaker is Roderic Blackburn, who has been involved with historic architecture in this area for 25 years. His talk will be illustrated with a slide show of images of all the period styles, their features and functions.

A regular contributor of articles on historic houses to The Magazine Antiques and Berkshire HomeStyle Magazine, Dr. Blackburn has also written a number of books in this field, including Dutch Colonial Homes in America, Great Houses of New England and Old Homes of New England, all published by Rizzoli International. He is co-author (with Ruth Piwonka) of A Visible Heritage, the history of Columbia County as experienced through its art and architecture.

Dr. Blackburn has served on the board of trustees or staff of a variety of historical museums and societies, including the Albany Institute of History and Art, the New York State Museum, the Shaker Museum, and the Columbia County Historical Society, among others.

His talk will include comments on renovation and restoration of historic buildings followed by a question and answer period. Guests are invited to bring pictures of houses or features they’d like to know more about.

The location for this special event is Harvey House, one of eight buildings that comprise Old Austerlitz Village, a living history museum on Route 22, one mile south of the intersection with Route 203. This program will also serve as the quarterly membership meeting of the Society. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

The Austerlitz Historical Society is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization. For more information, check the website at, call 392-0062 or send an email to [email protected].

Past Quarterly Programs

Nov. 20th 2011 Quarterly Program

Sunday November 20th @2pm: Genealogy Lecture with Gail Cashen
Genealogy is more than just identifying one’s grandmothers and grandfathers and where they came from. What really matters is the stories. Sometimes there is no one in the family living to tell the stories, but some of that history can be learned from the cemeteries and the historical records. Gail Cashen is an absolutely amateur genealogist who started with some photos of her mother’s family to identify and now spends rainy days and evenings looking into the genealogy of families of folks who live in the Town of Austerlitz. On November 20 she will share a few of the stories she has discovered and show you a bit about how she has learned them. Do you know a Rundell or a Mesick or a Varney? Have you ever heard of Timothy Woodbridge? Come to hear the stories.

Following the talk and demonstration, there will be a brief membership meeting to which all are invited and then we will enjoy some refreshments. We’ll meet at 2:00 p.m. at the Harvey House on the grounds of Old Austerlitz.

Past Quarterly Programs

Aug. 21st 2011 Quarterly Program

Native Landscape:

Introduction to the Rare and Endangered Plants of the Berkshire Taconic Region

Our speaker, Wanda Halten, is Owner and Educator of WANDAK FARM SERVICES. Following Wanda’s presentation we will have a brief business meeting and election of Trustees followed by light refreshments. All are welcome. August 21st, 2PM at the Old Austerlitz Church on Rt. 22 Austerlitz.

Past Quarterly Programs

May 15th 2011 Quarterly Program

FREE and open to the public

Church and Schoolhouse Transferred to Austerlitz Historical Society

The Quarterly Meeting will be held at the Austerlitz Church on State Route 22 at 2pm on Sunday May 15th.

On December 31st, 2010, the legal documents were signed to transfer the deed of the Church and Schoolhouse officially into the possession of the Austerlitz Historical Society!

This is a momentous and joyous occasion for the Society and its members!

Join us as we celebrate the acquisition of the deed to the church and schoolhouse with a historical review of the buildings complete with guest speakers and a reception.

Past Quarterly Programs

Aug 15th 2010 Quarterly Program

Sunday August 15th – 2pm at St. Peters Church Spencertown
Free and open to the public

Have you ever wondered about how to find information about your ancestors? Does the story of Uncle Jim’s life have a missing link in your family? We have a lecture just for you! The Austerlitz Historical Society will hold its’ annual meeting this Sunday August 15th at 2pm at St. Peters Church in Spencertown. The meeting is free and open to the public. Our guest speaker will be Michelle LeClair. Michelle’s talk will focus on tips and tricks on how to use the latest genealogy research tools to help find out about your ancestors and family history. She will lead a very informative and educational discussion about the world of genealogy.

Michelle is a local resident who graduated from Chatham High School and the College of Saint Rose. Her passion for genealogy began in 8th grade when she was doing a school project researching family information. She interviewed many family members and learned a lot of information for her project. At the age of 12, she was hooked and has been doing research ever since. For the last 2 years, Michelle has volunteered at the Silvio O. Conte National Archives in Pittsfield, Mass. She leads a class there that focuses on French and Canadian history. She was named Volunteer of the Year after having volunteered 320 hours of service to the National Archives.

After the lecture by Michelle, the Society will conduct a brief business meeting and the election of Board of Trustees members for a 3 year term will occur. The New Prospective Board members include: Dorothy Bakker, Roy Carney, Donna Peterson, and Michael Rebic. Members who are returning to the Board include Wendy Diskin, Rebecca Greer, Richard Light, Sue Mugler, Howard Reznikoff, Marlene Murdock, Robert Herron, Norma Edsall, Robert Kleinberg and Lynn O’Connell.

Past Quarterly Programs

Apr 17th 2010 Quarterly Program


Matthew McKeeby, The Berlin Limner, will give a presentation titled, “The Life of Limner: Folk Art Painting, Portraits, and Decoration in the Northeast” on Saturday April 17, 2010 at 4pm. The presentation will be held in the Harvey House on the grounds of Old Austerlitz Village, the home of the Austerlitz Historical Society on Route 22 in Austerlitz. There will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. This event is part of the Society’s “Odd Saturdays” program and is free and open to the public.

What is a limner you ask? A limner is simply an artist or painter, although the term has come to be used specifically in reference to painters in the North American Colonies who worked during the 18th and 19th centuries. Limners once travelled the countryside providing any and all painting services. The Berlin Limner has revived that tradition, offering a range of classic American folk art reproductions, originals, and decorative services.

Since the late 1980’s Matthew McKeeby has been crafting the very best quality oil-on-canvas reproductions of the works of great American folk artists, specializing in the world of Edward Hicks and the decorative painting style of Rufus Porter. About his work, Matthew says, “I really enjoy connecting with folks who enjoy the American folk art aesthetic and recreating the feeling of life in that earlier period. There was a real sense of limitless possibilities then, so much to be learned. Of course, just making art is a joy too.”

Matthew is a current resident of rural Berlin, NY. He grew up near Binghamton, NY and also lived in southeastern Pennsylvania. He has a BA in English from the University Of Pennsylvania, an MAT English from Union College and is a Teacher of English and Theatre at Averill Park High School. He is an Advisor to APHS Off-Broadway Players and Director of over thirty productions. He is self-taught as a painter in the limner tradition; all types of utilitarian and decorative painting in the manner of mid-19th century artists. You can find out more about Matthew at his website or by phone at 518-658-0987.