Faculty & Staff

Workshop Staff


Project Director, Thomas A. Chambers, Associate Professor of History, Niagara University.

Dr. Chambers’ research focuses on Revolutionary War battlefield tourism and memory, and he has relevant experience in the history of European-native contact. He regularly offers courses in Early America with an emphasis on imperial conflict and native peoples’ roles in making the United States. As Project Co-Director he will deliver the opening lecture and lead discussion on “First Contact—Europe and America Meet” and Friday’s session on “Westward Expansion”, as well as coordinate sessions and basic logistics, present participants with the overall workshop theme, and assist participants in research tasks and curriculum design.

Master Teacher, Douglas C. Kohler, Clarence Middle School, New York.

Mr. Kohler has over 20 years of classroom experience at the middle school level, with an emphasis on United States and New York State history. He is actively involved in curriculum development at the local and state level. His expertise in web design and digital video editing will be especially useful for participants who would like to create multimedia lesson plans as their workshop final project. A 2009 “Crossroads of Empire” workshop participant, he developed his research into an article in Western New York Heritage magazine.


Project Coordinator, Allison Violante.

A former High School Social Studies teacher in Cleveland, Ohio who took her students to Hawaii, Florida, Wiliamsburg and Washington to immerse them in history.   Most recently has planned head shaving events for St. Baldrick's to raise money for childhood cancer research. Looking forward to helping you make this workshop enjoyable and worthwhile.

Visiting Faculty

Alan Taylor, University of California-Davis.

A prolific, awared-winning scholar of early America, Professor Taylor’s 2006 book, The Divided Ground, serves as one of two texts for this workshop. He will talk about that book as well as  his new book—The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies—masterfully narrates the constantly changing border between Canada and United States in the Niagara region, as well as the key players who shaped that history.


Jon William Parmenter, Cornell University.

Dr. Parmenter is a widely published and recognized expert on European-Iroquois relations, with a specialization on the Seneca, the most significant native group involved at Fort Niagara. He will lecture on “Keeping the Western Door: Seneca/Iroquois Engagement with the Niagara Frontier and its Forts, 1650-1784.”  His book, The Edge of the Woods! Iroquoia, 1534-1701, is available from Michigan State University Press.

Carl Benn, Ryerson University.

Dr. Benn is one of North America’s leading experts on the Iroquois during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His extensive background as a museum professional, scholar, and university professor provide the basis for his talk on the Iroquois' role in Fort Niagara's history.


David Preston, The Citadel.

Dr. Preston specializes in early American and Native American history, and is the author of The Texture of Contact: Eurpoean and Indian Settler Communities on the Frontiers of Iroquoia, 1677-1783.  He will speak about European-Indian relations.


Keith Jamieson, Wilfrid Laurier University.

A Mohawk of the Six Nations of The Grand River, he is currently conducting a study of the Six Nations focusing on the involvemnt in the War of 1812, and preparing a documentary film on the subject. He is adjunct professor of Indigenous and Contemporary studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Susan Maguire, Buffalo State College.

Dr. Maguire teaches courses on anthropology and archaeology and has co-directed several field schools at Old Fort Niagara.  She will lead sessions on the Fort's archival resources.


Douglas W. DeCroix, Western New York Heritage magazine.

Doug DeCroix served, for over a decade, as former head researcher and special programs coordinator at this workshop’s historic site. He is well-known among War of 1812 military historians, and has taken an active role in planning Bicentennial celebrations in both sides of the U.S-Canada border. In addition to helping coordinate daily interpretive staff presentations and participant work, he will lecture on “Fort Niagara and the War of 1812.” He is ABD at Bowling Green State University. 2009 workshop participants evaluated him as the most engaging visiting lecturer.  Mr. DeCroix is currently the editor of WNY Heritage Magazine.

Jerome Brubaker, Old Fort Niagara

Currator and Assistant site director of Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown New York, he has created exhibits for the Fort and local area, most visibly the renewal of the 1757 Pouchot's Powder Magazine for the 250th Anniversary at the fort. Local students have heard him talk on Old Fort Niagara and the War of 1812, at Bufflao State College.