The Adirondack History Museum board is pleased to announce the addition of local historian Melissa Otis to its ranks.
“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Melissa on a regular basis,” said Museum Director Aurora McCaffrey. “She has presented and aided with exhibit development over the past few years, and her knowledge of local history, particularly Native American history, will be valuable as we continue to expand our programming and exhibits.”
Otis, who was born and raised in Elizabethtown, has family roots in Essex County dating back to the 1840s. Otis earned a bachelor’s from SUNY Plattsburgh, Masters from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, and PhD in History of Education from the University of Toronto, Canada. She earned her PhD by completing a dissertation on the history of Native Americans in the Adirondacks, and then spent a two year fellowship at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
This past July, she was selected to attend a month-long seminar at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute to study 19th century material culture in New York City. Currently, she is working towards finalizing her first book, which will be published by Syracuse University Press. The working title is Location of Exchange: A History of Rural Indigenousness in the Adirondacks.
Otis resides in Westport with her husband, Gregory Dixon. She works as a substitute teacher at Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis schools. Her academic work has appeared in Iroquoia; Cultural and Social History; and Environment, Space, Place.
The Adirondack History Museum seeks to serve as Essex County’s center for the stories that reveal the roots and values of its people. The museum will open for its 2018 season on Memorial Day.