Keeping History Real: Q&A with Kaitlin Galluci of Historic Huguenot Street
The 12 French Huguenot families who settled New Paltz wanted freedom, and a lot of their descendants are still around—along with the 30 buildings on 10 acres, seven of them original 18th-century stone houses, that make up their monument. Historic Huguenot Street is intriguingly ancient, yet intellectually fresh as a daisy—something those first bold rebels would probably admire. We spoke with Communications Director Kaitlin Galluci about breathing life into history, Huguenot style.
What has always amazed me about Huguenot Street is that it's so serene and yet so vital. It seems like the programming has expanded significantly the past few years?
One of the things we're loving lately is being able to do more community-based events. We still have scholarly lectures and school field trips, but community events like the cider market, Trick or Treat, and the Christmas tree lighting get bigger every year.
A lot of locals come. You don't necessarily have to be interested in learning about history that very day, but being here could pique your interest.
And you keep it very real with the scholarly aspects.
The last several years, we've been telling a lot more of the true stories of underrepresented groups. This year, we've got a few things going on around the centennial of the 19th Amendment, some programming and tours celebrating women's history. And we're celebrating Juneteenth. We're working with a consultant who builds Native American structures to bring in more of those elements. We do the best we can with our archived evidence; we do have the original deed with the signatures of the elders and the marks of the sachems, but that's not a lot.
And it's still an active archaeology dig?
Very. Professor Joe Diamond from SUNY does a course every summer. The students have found amazing things in recent years. They found what they believe is the original foundation of the very first church. They've found a lot of native artifacts. They'll be back this coming summer. What we really love is, we have summer camp during a week of that same block of time and our young campers get to participate in the dig alongside the pros.