Our Mission and Special Projects Our Mission and Special Projects
The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist College is the central hub for information about the region that gives it its name. As the educational arm of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area (Heritage Area), HRVI is increasing public awareness of the Hudson River’s significant role in the history of New York and the United States. HRVI serves heritage tourists, scholars, elementary and secondary school educators, environmental organizations, the business community, and the general public seeking to know more about a region that has been called "the Landscape that defined America."
The 1996 Congressional designation of the Hudson River Valley as a National Heritage Area identifies it as one of the most significant scenic, cultural, economic, and historic regions in the United States: the “fountainhead of a truly American identity," the setting and inspiration for distinct, new currents of American arts and intellect.
The Hudson River Valley’s prehistory, natural heritage, historic homes and mansions, Revolutionary War sites, Hudson River School artists, Knickerbocker writers, and the scenic beauty of the region are all part of this unique distinction. Communicating the wealth of the Valley's resources, however, presents a challenge. As noted by New York State officials, key data describing the special resources of the Valley are not readily available to residents, to students, or to visitors.
The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist College is the central hub for information about the region that gives it its name. As the educational arm of the Heritage Area, HRVI is increasing public awareness of the Hudson River’s significant role in the history of New York and the United States. HRVI serves heritage tourists, scholars, elementary and secondary school educators, environmental organizations, the business community, and the general public seeking to know more about a region that has been called "the Landscape that defined America." Its Associates and interns use an interdisciplinary approach to produce new scholarly research and writing about the region that becomes content on HRVI's Digital Library and Portal. Marist College is fully committed to the Hudson River Valley Institute, and to attracting people, electronically and physically, from around the world to the Hudson River Valley to experience its scenic, cultural, economic, and historic resources.
A top-rated academic institution with a distinguished regional studies program and a national reputation for technology leadership, Marist College is uniquely suited to house the Hudson River Valley Institute and to develop its innovative Digital Library and Portal Site. Located on the banks of the Hudson River midway between Albany and New York City, it is also ideally situated for fostering the work of the Institute throughout the region. To develop HRVI, Marist College has committed its advanced digital technology resources and expertise; campus facilities to conduct the Institute's work; and the talent of distinguished regional scholars on its faculty.
Digital Library and Portal Site
The Hudson River Valley Institute’s Digital Library and Portal Site is the backbone of the HRVI, an interactive, electronic repository of information related to the valley's cultural, historical, and natural heritage and identity. The Digital Library contains resources and records of use to educators, historians, students, planners, local government officials, and the general public. The Digital Library is available to cultural and historical tourists from all over the world who are planning to visit the Valley.
The Digital Library includes multimedia presentations that feature scholars, political figures, and prominent valley leaders. These segments are combined with digital versions of important historical records to help convey the history and culture of the Hudson River Valley. It also includes educational materials, lesson plans, and learning modules aimed at primary and secondary educators and students.
The Portal Site is a curated list of the best online regional resources that we have found, and continue to update, on the internet.
Conferences and Lectures
Since the spring of 2002, the Hudson River Valley Institute has sponsored an annual Lecture in Hudson River Valley History supported by an endowment from the Charlotte Cuneen-Hackett Charitable Trust. A prominent scholar of the Valley's rich heritage and culture delivers each lecture. These lectures are recorded and made available in digital formats for access via our Digital Library. In partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Mr. Richard Brookhiser inaugurated the program with his lecture on "Rediscovering George Washington" on June 12, 2002.
In 2012, the Handel-Krom Lecture Series in Hudson River Valley History was established through the generosity of community leaders Bernard and Shirley Handel and Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert A. Krom, US Army, Retired to promote knowledge and appreciation for the rich history of this unique and important region of America. Past speakers in this series include David Schuyler, Jaap Jacobs, Harold Holzer, and James Merrell.
HRVI has also hosted single and multi-day conferences on Andrew Jackson Downing, the American Revolution, the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, and the Conference on New York State History.
Commemorating the 225th of the American Revolution
In partnership with the National Park Service and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the Institute led the New York effort to promote the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution under the motto "Lighting Freedom's Flame." HRVI worked with the Brigade of the American Revolution, Living History Education Foundation, and the National Maritime Historical Society to involve living history by re-enactors in encampments and aboard period ships to educate the public.
In partnership with Heritage New York and the Heritage Area, the Institute conducted a statewide inventory of American Revolutionary sites as a 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution project. HRVI's Digital Library includes primary documents as well as scholarship by our associates and interns, introductory material, guidebooks, and lesson plans that interpret the American Revolution. In addition, the Institute assisted with the interpretation of the Fort Montgomery Battle Site, which was opened to the public on October 6, 2002.
From 2002 through 2008, the Institute organized and promoted Patriots' Weekends, which focused on a significant historical events of the Revolutionary War in the Hudson River Valley. Re-enactments, public-oriented historical lectures by nationally known historians, and ceremonies honoring those who fought for America's independence were the Weekend's key features.
Marist College courses, Concentrations, Tracks, and Majors
Working collaboratively with school districts throughout the Hudson River Valley region, the HRVI develops curricula on the Hudson River Valley's history that is consistent with New York State and national education standards. As part of professional development initiatives, special topic seminars were designed for the region's teachers, which included field trips, seminars, and online learning. Developed by Marist's history and education faculty, the curricula comprise local historical resources, lesson plans, and learning outcomes, all delivered electronically via the innovative Hudson River Valley Digital Library.
The present undergraduate curriculum in Hudson Valley Regional Studies at Marist includes the History & Culture of the Hudson River Valley, Architecture & History of the Hudson River Valley, Hudson Valley Literature, Natural History of the Hudson Valley, Empire State: History of New York, Innovation in the Hudson River Valley, Environmental Politics & Policy, and American State & Local Politics.
The Hudson River Valley Regional Studies Minor
The Hudson River Valley Regional Studies minor develops and fosters an understanding of the history, culture, and environment of this region and the place of regionalism more generally. This interdisciplinary minor assists students in understanding their community, the region, and connections of each to the larger world. It employs the ideas and methods of the liberal arts, natural and social sciences, and the fine arts. While the minor focuses on the Hudson River Valley, the knowledge, skills, and approaches to understanding developed can be applied to all regions. The minor is recommended for any student who plans to have a career that depends on ties to surrounding communities such as education, business, politics, or research in the natural or social sciences. Upon completion of the minor, students will understand how the regions where they have chosen to live and to work connect to the larger global community.
The Hudson River Valley Studies Pathway
Recognizing that today’s—and tomorrow’s—challenges are not confined to separate academic subject areas, Marist College engages students in a four-course interdisciplinary Pathway. This set of courses addresses a focused question, or area of study, from at least three disciplinary perspectives.The Hudson River Valley Studies Pathway fosters students’ understanding of the history, culture, and environment of this region and the general place of regionalism. The knowledge, skills, and approaches to understanding developed can be applied to all regions.