The National Abolition Hall of Fame (NAHOF), located in Peterboro, NY, honors the long history of resistance to slavery rooted in the work of upstate New Yorkers during the pre-Civil War era. Each year, NAHOF recognizes that history through induction ceremonies, and related events that underscore the commitment of 19th century abolitionists, and reinforces current efforts in the ongoing search for equality among all peoples. Lindsey Skerker ’14 is supporting a number of NAHOF activities and programs this summer through her Upstate Institute Summer Field School fellowship.
Lindsey’s projects have included surveys to gauge the effectiveness of marketing of NAHOF during the annual Civil War re-enactment weekend held in Peterboro. “The goal of the survey was to track marketing and to see the ways people heard about the event and to learn what towns and counties most of the visitors came from. NAHOF will use the data in future planning for Civil War Weekend as they now have a better idea of what types of marketing and advertising to use.”
Lindsey is assessing the possible use of social media in making regional residents more aware of NAHOF activities. However, there are challenges. “One challenge is trying to get NAHOF’s presence known and appreciated. They run many great events throughout the summer and into the fall, but it is difficult to get people to come to NAHOF’s lectures or fundraisers as not many people even know where Peterboro is. I made a Twitter account which can be found by going to www.twitter.com/PeterboroNY to help promote events and I am considering making them a Facebook page. However, it is difficult to get people to see these sorts of social media accounts, as I learned from conducting my Civil War Weekend survey that not many people in Madison County readily have access to these types of sites because many people do not have smartphones.” Lindsey is also directly involved in planning the 2013 Induction Ceremony, which will be held in October.
Like a number of other Summer Field School fellows, Lindsey is learning about the internal operations of small not-for-profit organizations, and their often interesting histories. “NAHOF is structured as an all volunteer organization and people who become volunteers join NAHOF’s Cabinet of Freedom and various committees within that. Although there are many volunteers, it seems difficult to complete certain tasks and projects when so many people are working on things.”
Lindsey’s projects with NAHOF resonate well with her academic majors at Colgate. ”I am very grateful to have been matched up with NAHOF. As a History and Women’s Studies major, NAHOF is so relevant to my coursework at Colgate and it is so interesting to know that such vital historical events happened right here in Madison County. I have a much greater appreciation for CNY now and really understand its importance in 19th century history.”