OSWEGO – History lovers, students and professional historians will have the opportunity to learn more about the decades leading up to and following the War of 1812 as well as artistic tips, tricks and techniques for re-creating historic moments at the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium.
The fifth annual event runs from Friday, April 17 to Sunday April 19 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 E. First St.
“These presenters are coming to Oswego from across the U.S. and Canada to offer a really unique experience for our audience,” said Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear, chairman of the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium Committee. “They’ve got some fantastic talks lined up, from providing new information about the birth of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the years leading up to the War of 1812, to the effects of the agreements that were made at the end of the war and how it changed the standing of the U.S. around the world. We’ll also see how the images we use to ‘remember’ the war are created from one of our most prominent maritime artists.”
Award-winning maritime historian Walter Lewis makes his debut at the symposium at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. In his presentation, “The Christmas Eve Treaty and the Great Lakes Region,” Lewis probes the consequences of the Treaty of Ghent in the decade following the War of 1812.
Interactions between Americans, British and the First Nations in the Great Lakes region were redefined with this and subsequent agreements as the possibility of a resumption of war was weighed against its costs.
The effects were felt from military infrastructure to land and water boundary negotiations to policy enforcement.
Lewis specializes in the history of the Great Lakes region and co-authored “The River Palace” with Rick Neilson of Kingston, Ontario.
His website, www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca, is recognized as one of the best resources for Great Lakes history research.
Lewis won the S.O.S. Marine Heritage Award with Rick Neilson in 2009, was named the 2011 Great Lakes Historian of the Year from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, and is a two-time recipient of the Henry Barkhausen Award from the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, winning in both 2011 and 2014.
On Sunday, April 19, Dr. Peter Rindlisbacher opens the symposium at 9:10 a.m. with his talk, “In His Bag of Tricks: Using Photography and Photoshop to Create Historical Art,” in which he explains how he incorporates these modern inventions and technologies to create images with historical accuracy and realism.
Dr. Rindlisbacher works closely with historians and researches primary sources and other materials to portray War of 1812 subjects in many of his works. His presentation includes some of these aids, including maps, models and architectural drawings along with case studies that illustrate how they are employed in the process of re-constructing historical moments.
A self-taught artist and model-maker, Dr. Rindlisbacher’s images have appeared on various book and magazine covers as well as in a number of video productions for The History Channel and National Geographic, to name a few.
Museums, historic sites and the military in the U.S. and Canada have purchased his oil paintings and limited print editions of his work have sold at fundraisers for a variety of heritage groups.
Col. Clayton Nans returns to close the symposium with his presentation, “Give Them Cold Steel! Naval Small Arms of the United States during the War of 1812,” at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, April 19.
After the sale of the last Continental Navy ship, the Frigate Alliance, in 1785, the U.S. spent the next decade engaging in world trade without the protection of a Navy or Marine Corps on the high seas. Col. Nans addresses the long-overdue and costly venture of creating and outfitting these newly established units in the years preceding the War of 1812.
He also discusses the variety and use of small arms in naval operations, as well as the organization of the Navy, including the logistical challenges it faced and the many innovations it made during the war.
Col. Nans is an amateur naval historian, model shipwright, and retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. He founded the United States Marine Corps World War II and Korean War Assault Amphibian Museum, which won the 1996 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Magruder Award.
After retiring in 2004, he served as a senior military analyst for the Department of the Army and is now a member of the Nautical Research Guild as well as the U.S. Naval Institute.
The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, April 19.
Students will present research papers in the second annual student competition to open the symposium at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17.
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, NY 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.
The symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, 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.com, City of Oswego, www.visitoswegony.com, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.
For a complete schedule and to download a registration form, go to http://visitoswegocounty.com/historical-info/war-of-1812/war-of-1812-symposium/
For more visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.