Center for Creative Retirement

We offer more educational and fun classes, trips and workshops to keep you actively engaged.

How to Register

  • Register online by selecting "Add to Cart" on the desired course(s) and select "Cart" at the bottom of the page when you are ready to process your registration.
    • The “Seats Left” information is updated every hour and when you checkout.
  • Other registration options are available.

Courses

A New Look at Pre-History: Did Atlantis Exist?

This course investigates the various species of hominids and the genus “Homo”, from erectus to modern Neanderthals, Denisovans and sapiens. It also reviews the latest finds concerning the climatic changes at the Younger Dryas and possible civilizations prior to the event.  Course fee includes $30 materials fee.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Day Care Center, Room B05

Ernest Rugenstein, Instructor 

A New Look at Pre-History: Did Atlantis Exist?
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Thursdays, 10/7 - 10/21
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
ZCCR-607 500 17 seats left $85

Anne Sullivan Macy- Helen Keller's Teacher

As a child in late 19th century America, Anne Sullivan had the odds stacked against her: a child of a poverty-stricken Irish family in Massachusetts, she was orphaned when her mother died and her father deserted the family, and was nearly blind from the effects of the eye disease trachoma. Sent to a gruesome poorhouse for six years, she finally managed to gain assistance to enter the Perkins School of the Blind and graduate as its valedictorian four years later. Resentful and argumentative, she seemed an unlikely candidate to succeed in teaching a seven-year old, blind and deaf Helen Keller to communicate, but in doing so, both she and Helen flourished: Helen as a writer and activist, and Anne, with her innovative methodology of teaching people with disabilities.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Phyllis Chapman, Instructor 

Anne Sullivan Macy- Helen Keller's Teacher
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Wednesday, 10/13
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-336 500 7 seats left $37

Behind the Camera: American Women Photographers Who Shaped How We See the World

In a culture that tends to leave out significant women in art history, here is a rich compilation of 16 gifted women who brought photography forward both in technical skill and in artistic merit.  The women portrayed followed their dreams in an astonishing way, defying all the norms of their days in early photography.  This course includes stories and photographic illustrations to showcase the lives and artwork of these important artists. Students should purchase “Behind the Camera: American Women Photographers Who Shaped How We See the World” ISBN 978-1-951941-51-4

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Day Care Center, Room B05

Maria Ausherman, Instructor 

Behind the Camera: American Women Photographers Who Shaped How We See the World
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesdays, 10/5 - 10/26
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-649 500 14 seats left $39

Behind the Hints: Getting the Most From Your Sources

Family historians use all kinds of sources to make discoveries about their ancestors, but how much do you really know about the information you are using? It’s easy to attach a “hint” to an online family tree and know very little about its origins. Professional genealogist Lisa Dougherty will guide you through understanding the who, what, where, when, and why of the documents used for family history, and how to properly record them.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Lisa Dougherty, Instructor 

Behind the Hints: Getting the Most From Your Sources
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 11/16
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-651 500 12 seats left $15

Frolicking with Flowers

Treat yourself to a morning with Michele and her flowers. You will be amazed at her creations and the knowledge that she passes along to make you a better at home designer.  With over 30 years of experience, her energy, passion, and creativity reflect in every design.  She is such a delight and she always surpasses our expectations. You may be one of the lucky students who carries one of her creations home. Course fee includes an $18 materials fee.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Michele Peters, Instructor 

Frolicking with Flowers
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Wednesday, 10/27
9:30 am - 12:00 pm
ZCCR-646 500 0 seats left $29Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Ice Harvesting History

Ice: today we take it for granted as we go to the refrigerator and stick a glass under the chute of the automatic ice cube maker. Before the days of mechanical ice-making machines, folks had to rely on Mother Nature for ice. Archaeologists have determined that the early people stored ice and snow in caves to use during warm weather. They even discovered that ice helped preserve food. In northern climates where winters are cold enough to freeze thick layers of ice on ponds, lakes and rivers, most farmers once had a small icehouse and cut enough ice during the winter to last them through hot weather. In warmer climates, other measures were called for. Vast quantities of ice were harvested during the winter, stored and then shipped to wherever they was needed for the summer. Beginning in about 1850, the worldwide demand for ice spawned a booming ice harvesting industry, primarily along the upper Hudson River in New York and the Kennebec River in Maine. Learn more about this forgotten industry from Tom Ragosta of the Watervliet Historical Society. He has been fascinated by this lost industry for many years. He will explain how ice was harvested, who did the work, how it was kept from melting in the summer and much more.  Tools of the trade will also be on display.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Tom Ragosta, Instructor 

Ice Harvesting History
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 11/9
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-647 500 0 seats left $22Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Immigrant Ancestors: Separating Fact from Fiction

The United States is a nation of immigrants, so those with an interest in their family history often wonder how the experience shaped their ancestors. Unfortunately, the image of immigrants and the immigration process is marked by widely held myths and legends.  These stories are so often repeated that they are usually accepted as fact. Professional genealogist Lisa Dougherty will discuss some of the most common myths, and how you can use the facts about the immigrant experience to trace your own family from their homeland to the United States.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Kathryn Sheehan, Instructor 

Immigrant Ancestors: Separating Fact from Fiction
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 10/19
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-650 500 7 seats left $15

Let Those Meneely Bells Ring

Many have heard about them, some may have even seen a few, but the background of the Meneely bells in the Troy area is absolutely fascinating. Come get the scoop and hear all about them: what they were made of, how they were tuned, and where they are now. Find out the difference between a chime, a carillon and a peel. Gene Burns will share his experiences and knowledge.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Gene Burns, Instructor 

Let Those Meneely Bells Ring
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Thursday, 10/21
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-626 500 0 seats left $22Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Life of New Netherland & Dutch Holiday

2 PRESENTATIONS IN 1!

The Life and Legacy of New Netherland

New Netherland was a Dutch colony that existed in what is now New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. This talk examines the history of the Dutch settlement of these areas during the 17th century, from Henry Hudson’s exploration of the Hudson River in 1609 through the English takeover of the colony in 1664.

 

The discussion also examines the ways that Dutch culture, language, and traditions lingered long after the English takeover; some of them continue on to this day.

 

Dutch Holiday Traditions in Colonial Albany and the Hudson River Valley

During the 17th century, Dutch settlers to the Hudson River Valley brought Old World traditions and culture with them. Long after the English takeover of New Netherland, Dutch language, traditions, and customs lingered. In colonial New Netherland and New York, holiday traditions followed a familiar Dutch form, but often merged with other traditions as well. This lecture highlights the ways that Dutch holidays like Shrovetide (Carnival), Pinkster, and St. Nicholas Day were celebrated in Hudson Valley during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Sam Huntington, Instructor 

 

Life of New Netherland & Dutch Holiday
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Friday, 9/24
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-628 500 0 seats left $15Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Lucy Larcom: A New England Mill Girl

Lucy Larcom, later to become a noted poet and educator, began her working life in a New England textile factory in the 1830s. The Industrial Revolution transformed life in America for workers and consumers; as a young mill worker, Lucy tells about the working and living conditions many young female “operatives” experienced in the early days of industrialization. With props and hands-on activities for the audience, she illustrates “the American System” of manufacturing: the transformation of raw materials into a finished product under one roof, how the structure of a mill divided up a complex process into simple functions, and the experience of the worker as a cog in “the great machine” of a mill. She also explains how factory work ultimately led to educational opportunities and expanded roles for young women in 19th century.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Phyllis Chapman, Instructor 

Lucy Larcom: A New England Mill Girl
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Wednesday, 9/22
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-280 500 3 seats left $37

Murder & Mayhem in Stephentown

The region was shocked in December 1870 when blind 20-year-old Asa Kittle shot both his parents to death. Described by some as a “half idiot,” his ability to understand the charges against him was questioned.  This resulted in legislation in 1871 granting the court the discretion to determine if the prisoner is of sufficient soundness of mind “to undertake his defence.”  But Asa was the not the first, nor would he be the last, family member to be involved in a murderous scheme in eastern Rensselear County. Learn about some of the lawlessness that entangled other members of the family, its impact on the community, and what became of Asa.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Jill Knapp, Instructor 

Murder & Mayhem in Stephentown
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 10/26
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-635 500 0 seats left $15Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Stephen Sondheim - Eight Decades of Creating American Musical Theatre

Stephen Sondheim, 90, has won Academy Awards, Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a Kennedy Center Honor for his musicals. From writing the lyrics for Gypsy and West Side Story to music and lyrics for Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim established his legacy in the history of the American musical. The course will trace Sondheim’s professional and personal background with many scenes from the original Broadway productions featuring Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Jason Alexander and Dame Judi Dench.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Richard Feldman, Instructor 

Stephen Sondheim - Eight Decades of Creating American Musical Theatre
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Wednesday, 10/6
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-618 500 0 seats left $15Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

Stitches in Time: A History of Ladies' Needlework

It was Mary Queen of Scots, imprisoned for most of her adult life, who made the practice of needlework popular throughout England. She kept her mind busy with elaborate embroidery that filled her lonely days. She would stitch symbols within her work that vented her depression and despair. Her ladies in waiting also began to take up needlework, which eventually spread to many upper class women in England by the 17th Century. Since America set its standards of etiquette, culture and aesthetics upon England, ladies’ needlework pictures copied England’s embroidery by the early 18th century. Because a lady’s sewing skills were so highly valued, special girls’ academies were opened throughout America to teach young women from wealthy families the skills they would need to run an affluent household. The all-important needlework pictures, samplers and mourning tributes were part of a young woman’s education and used to adorn the home and showcase her expertise. Specialty work on clothing and furnishing textiles were also an important aspect of needlework and will be illustrated on period costumes, accessories and furnishings for the home.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Marilyn Sassi, Instructor 

Stitches in Time: A History of Ladies' Needlework
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Friday, 10/15
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
ZCCR-187 500 9 seats left $19

Textiles to Dye For: Textiles Used in America

In 17th century America, textiles were worth their weight in gold. Second only to precious metals and gems, textiles were listed at enormous values on household inventories. Using primary sources, this two-part series will begin in the 17th century and illustrate all the necessary fabrics within both wealthy and poor households. America’s production of both linen and wool was extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive, and the process of producing both will be fully illustrated, including all the many steps necessary, from harvesting to dyeing. Because of the amount of time involved, as soon as imported fabric became available at reasonable prices, it was viewed as a justifiable alternative. We will explore the history of textile imports, including the disparity between wealthy Americans who could afford to import fine silks, brocade and specially treated wool and the plight of the poor, who could only try to buy imported textiles secondhand.

The second part of this class will highlight the many advances in textile production, which began in England’s Industrial Revolution and spread to America by the late 18th century. One of the most important was the cotton gin, which made cotton an important American crop as it took to dye far better than linen. An unfortunate consequence of both England’s and America’s Industrial Revolutions was the use of child labor from low-income families who desperately needed their children to work. Numerous examples of America’s printed textiles will be illustrated, along with a full history of bed covers, including bed rugs, quilts and coverlets made into the late 19th century. Once aniline dye was discovered in England, these chemical colors were contrasted with the previously used natural dyes in America. The one textile that eluded both England and America was silk. Although many attempts were made to raise silkworms, they all eventually failed and silk continued to be imported through the late 19th century. Its history and production (sericulture) will be fully depicted.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Marilyn Sassi, Instructor 

Textiles to Dye For: Textiles Used in America
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Fridays, 10/1 - 10/8
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
ZCCR-637 500 9 seats left $29

The Death of Rensselaer County Sheriff's Deputy Griggs

Willard Griggs is the only Rensselaer County Sheriff Deputy to ever have died in the line of duty.  He was mortally wounded on an East Greenbush farm in 1869 during an Anti-Rent incident. This course will provide an overview of the Anti-Rent war in Rensselaer and Albany counties, and one of its key players, Walter Church, the grandson of Angelica Schuyler. It will discuss the incident in which Griggs was wounded and the unprecedented court proceeding leading up to the trial for his murder. The outcome of the trial and its aftermath will be discussed.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Day Care Center, Room B06

Jill Knapp, Instructor 

The Death of Rensselaer County Sheriff's Deputy Griggs
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 11/9
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-399 500 12 seats left $15

The Erie Canal: A Story of Building the Impossible

Once completed in 1825, the Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany not only opened up the first viable shipping route between the Midwest and Northeast, but also launched America – especially New York City and New York State – to unimaginable economic and social heights. But how was one of the country’s greatest engineering feats of the 19th century created at a time when the nation lacked a single certified civil engineer?

This is the incredible story of how one visionary New York politician, two lawyers with novice surveyor skills, and thousands of unskilled laborers constructed one of the greatest modern marvels in this nation’s history.

Join us as we explore the saga and lasting legacy of the Erie Canal. Officially opened in 1825, this 363-mile-long canal traversing a mountain range allowed the Northeast and Midwest United States to affordably exchange goods for the first time, which enriched the economies of both regions for generations to come. Our virtual deep dive into the shallow waters of the Erie Canal will be led by storyteller and author Sandy Schuman.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Sandy Schuman, Instructor 

The Erie Canal: A Story of Building the Impossible
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Thursday, 10/14
9:30 am - 11:45 am
ZCCR-612 500 0 seats left $22Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

The German Community in Rensselaer County

Join Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian Kathryn Sheehan for this illustrated lecture about the history of the German community. From the Palatine Germans settling in Brunswick in the 18th century to the founding of Germania Hall in Troy, to the impact of the German-born Jewish immigrant farmers who settled in Nassau, we will explore this varied and important history of the German residents of the county.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Kathryn Sheehan, Instructor 

The German Community in Rensselaer County
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Wednesday, 11/10
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-640 500 0 seats left $19Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

The United States Colored Troops In The Civil War

This will be a two-part presentation. The first section will be an overview of the role that African Americans played in the armed forces from the early days of the country up to the Civil War. The second portion will cover the United States Colored Troops (official name), or “USCT,” in the Civil War, focusing on some battles, including the Battle of New Market Heights.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Jim Cochran, Instructor 

The United States Colored Troops In The Civil War
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Tuesday, 9/28
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-639 500 0 seats left $12Section Full

Call to be added to wait list

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

The Irish people are known for their story telling, poetry and song. It seems that every aspect of life in Ireland has been captured and recounted. Many of the familiar tunes concerning Ireland’s history, love of and between its people and hardships will be presented by the Capital Region’s own “Irish Don Kelly.” Attend this class and hear the backstory to many of the songs. Singing along is encouraged.

Please review the COVID-19 information page which contains important information about attending an on-campus course. 

Course will meet in the Williams Hall, Room 113

Don Kelly, Instructor 

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Schedule Section Seats Left Cost Register
Thursday, 10/28
9:30 am - 11:30 am
ZCCR-636 500 12 seats left $15

Additional Resources

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Important Information
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Cancellation and refund policies vary depending on the type and length of course. Find out about course cancellations, requesting a refund and more.

Get in Touch

Community and Professional Education

Guenther Enrollment Services Center, Room 252

Fax: (518) 629-8103

Regular Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Summer Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
(excluding college holidays and vacations)