Save the Date: Oswego War of 1812 Symposium Set April 17-19

OSWEGO – Come to the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium to learn more about the war that helped secure America’s independence and shape our young nation.

The bicentennial commemoration continues with the fifth installment of the seminar which explores the events that earned respect for the U.S. from around the world.

The symposium opens on April 17 and runs through April 19 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear is the chairman of the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium Committee and will emcee the event, assisted by Jenny Emmons, curator at Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

“The symposium has gained significant prominence internationally over the years and we are happy to welcome another distinguished panel of speakers from across the U.S. and Canada,” said Lear. “Their discussions will provide the audience with an interesting historical perspective and demonstrate the impact of this war on the pages of American history.”

The event opens with registration and check-in from 6 to 9 p.m. on April 17, along with a meet-and-greet social and cash bar.

The academic competition that was launched last year continues in 2015 with student speakers competing for cash and prizes.

From 6 to 8 p.m. on April 17, the audience will hear their presentations on a variety of topics related to the War of 1812. Awards will then be handed out in a ceremony immediately following.

Nine noted historians will be featured in this year’s symposium and their discussions will cover the historic campaign from diverse angles.

On April 18, the day begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome from emcee Lear and a presentation by author Dr. Donald Hickey, a history professor at Wayne State College in Nebraska, entitled, “Forgotten Conflict: Why the War of 1812 Matters Today.”

Dr. Jane Errington, author and history professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada follows with her discussion, “The Home Front of an ‘Unnatural War.’”
Prominent author and military historian Donald Graves continues with “A Plague on Both Their Houses: A Critical Examination of the War of 1812 Bicentenary in Canada and the U.S.”

There will be a break for lunch followed by the presentation, “America’s First Arms Race: Lake Ontario, 1807 to 1817,” from naval historian and author Dr. Gary M. Gibson. Dr. John Grodzinski, assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada returns to this year’s symposium with a new perspective; followed by author and retired Canadian Army Maj. Sandy Antal with his discussion, “Isaac Brock and the Cession of Michigan” to close out the day.

On April 19, nationally acclaimed historical marine artist Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher opens the symposium at 9 a.m. with, “In His Bag of Tricks: Using Photography and Photoshop to Create Historical Art.”

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Dr. Richard Barbuto, author, professor and deputy director of the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, continues with “In 1814 We Took a Little Trip: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans.”

Naval historian and retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Clayton Nans wraps up the event with his discussion, “Give Them Cold Steel!: Naval Small Arms of the United States during the War of 1812.”

Lear said, “The Great Lakes and northern U.S. border were major theatres of action during the War of 1812 and this event helps to highlight the important role that this region played in our nation’s history.”

Sponsors for this year’s symposium include the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, SUNY Oswego Office of Business Relations, IHeartOswego, the Palladium-Times, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego County Today, city of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Registration for both days is $75 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday’s lunch, refreshment breaks on Saturday and Sunday and workshop materials.

One-day registration is also available: $50 for Saturday, including lunch or $25 for Sunday.

For students with a valid ID, one day rates are $23 for Saturday, including lunch or $12 for Sunday.

Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario.

Contact Lear at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Checks should be made payable to “Friends of Fort Ontario – 1812” and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, N.Y. 13126.

Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain’s Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego.

Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.

For more visitor information, go to or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.