(Posted March 8, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Those seeking a glimpse into the origins of Pennsylvania as a state and the role played by the counties comprising the Juniata Valley in Pennsylvania?s transformation from colony to state can discover a wealth of information at the first annual Juniata Valley History Conference, sponsored by Juniata College and held Friday, April 30 to Saturday, May 1 at the Clarion Inn in Burnham, Pa.

The conference, titled ?The Albany Congress of 1754: Becoming Pennsylvanians,? honors the 250th anniversary of the Treaty of Albany, a 1754 agreement that ceded Indian territory comprised of what is now the Juniata Valley (Bedford, Blair, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Perry counties) into the colony of Pennsylvania. In 1754, the Penn family bought the Juniata Valley regions from the Six Nations (Iroquois) at Albany, N.Y., during the Albany Congress.

Funded by a $5,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the conference is the first major educational initiative organized by the Currents of the Juniata Valley, a Juniata College-led cooperative program that debuted in 2002 to celebrate local history in the seven-county area. ?The residents from this area will broaden their knowledge about how, when and why we became part of Pennsylvania,? says Betty Ann Cherry, professor emeritus of history and coordinator for the Currents group.

Registration fee for the conference is $15. Dinner for the conference is $23 and luncheon is $12. Accommodations at the Clarion Inn are $54 for a single room and $60.30 for a double room (plus tax). A printable registration form is available at the Currents of the Juniata Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/currents.

The conference starts Friday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. with registration and then dinner at 6:30 p.m. The keynote speaker is Timothy Shannon, associate professor of history at Gettysburg College. Shannon, a noted colonial-era historian, wrote the book ?Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754.?

The second day of the conference, on Saturday, May 1, starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration and continues at 9 a.m. with a presentation by Alan Irvine, a professional storyteller and visiting professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Irvine?s presentation is titled ?Blood on the Moon: The French and Indian War.?

At 10:15 a.m., David Hsiung, Charles A. Dana Professor of History at Juniata College, will present the talk ?Indian-Colonist Relations in Central Pennsylvania.? Hsiung, voted Professor of the Year for Pennsylvania for 2000 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, specializes in colonial history and environmental history in the colonial era. He is the author of ?Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains: Exploring the Origins of Appalachian Stereotypes.?

At 11:30 a.m., Shannon, Irvine and Hsiung will participate in a roundtable discussion focused on the Albany Congress of 1754. The roundtable will be moderated by John Giblin, a historian with the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pa.

Free registration is available for high school, undergraduate and graduate students. Students must complete and send in a registration form to qualify for free registration.

For more information, or to receive a registration form, please e-mail currents@juniata.edu; telephone (814) 695-8290; or write, Currents of the Juniata Valley, Juniata College, 1700 Moore St., Box 938, Huntingdon, PA, 16652.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.