History Center recognizes effort of local residents with awards

Tompkins Weekly Staff

CAYUGA HEIGHTS – Local residents got their due for their work to make, engage with and interpret local history.
The History Center in Tompkins County presented its 2nd annual awards last week, with six honorees recognized for their efforts. The awards ceremony took place at Marcham Hall in the Village of Cayuga Heights. Information provided by The History Center pointed out the unique features of the venue, highlighting the building’s “slate roof, a chandelier or two from New York City’s Hotel Martinique, a picket fence imported from France, fine ironwork hinges and handles on the doors and windows, a greenhouse, and a charming sundial on the outside wall.”

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Kay Sharp of the Tompkins County League of Women Voters accepts an award for the organization at the ceremony last week.

Opened by Rod Howe, executive director of The History Center, the event featured a presentation by Cayuga Heights Historian Beatrice Szekely about the Cayuga Heights History Project. That was followed by the recognition of this year’s award winners.
Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a spokesperson for the role of local history in enriching people’s lives and connecting individuals to place. She has taken up that mantle not just as the county’s historian, but as an author and academic as well.

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Members of the Cayuga Heights History Project. From left are Beatrice Szekely, Carole Schiffman, Randi Kepecs and Pat Longoria.

The Illuminating History Team Award was presented to the Cayuga Heights History Project members – Cayuga Heights Historian Beatrice Szekely, Deputy Historian Pat Longoria, Carole Schiffman and Randi Kepecs – for “having created an amazing local history resource guided by the motto: ‘Everybody has a story. Tell it. Every house has a story. Learn It.’” The project combines village and house history, as well as personal and community experiences to provide a wealth of information about Cayuga Heights.
Robert “Bob” Baxter, chief executive officer of Dryden Mutual Insurance Company, was given the local History Engagement Award for his support in engaging the community with local history. He has been involved with the Vern Morton photographs, Eight Square Schoolhouse and, most recently, through his support of HistoryForge.
Youth Awards were presented to Eli Zhang and Francesca Chu, youth volunteers at The History Center’s John Marcham Research library. They were recognized for their efforts, going “above and beyond to help The History Center with numerous tasks.” Zhang and Chu were noted as key volunteers at the library, participating in the youth-elder oral histories initiative, doing exhibit work and “painstaking” collections work for the archives.
The Tompkins County League of Women Voters was given the Making a Difference Award. Founded in 1920, the group “is a champion of voting, being an informed citizen and participation in government.”
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For more information about The History Center in Tompkins County, visit its website at TheHistoryCenter.net.