A new exhibit “Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson” opened Saturday at the Museum of the City of New York and will run through September 27, 2009. Presented in collaboration with the New Netherland Institute, Albany, and the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam / Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, the exhibit will employ rare 16th- and 17th-century objects, images, and documents from major American and Dutch collections to bring the transatlantic world to life and reveal how Henry Hudson’s epic third voyage of exploration planted the seeds of a modern society that took root and flourished in the New World. Focusing on the economic, cultural, and ideological connections that ultimately linked two global cities, Amsterdam and New York, “Amsterdam / New Amsterdam” will illuminate not only the global significance of Hudson’s voyage, but also the creative context out of which the exploration and settlement of New York itself arose, highlighting the Dutch role in creating the very character of New York as a place of opportunity, tolerance, and perpetual transformation.
New Exhibits in New York State
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The New York State Museum has received a $3.1 million federal transportation grant to make mechanical upgrades to the Day Peckinpaugh, paving the way for the historic canal boat’s transformation into a permanent floating museum, dedicated to sharing the history and heritage of the state’s canal system.
As the first motorship of its kind specifically designed for the dimensions of the 20th-century Erie Barge Canal, and the last surviving vessel of its kind remaining afloat, the Peckinpaugh has become an iconic fixture on the state’s waterways. Built in 1921 in Duluth, Minnesota to carry grain from the Midwest to New York City, it was the harbinger for nearly a hundred other canal motorships that were seen everywhere on the waterway until 1950. In 1994, the Peckinpaugh made its final commercial voyage, with communities from Rome to Oswego turning out to wave goodbye.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Peckinpaugh was saved from the scrap heap in 2005 through the efforts of the New York State Museum, in partnership with the New York State (NYS) Canal Corporation; NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission; the National Park Service and the Canal Society of New York State.
The Peckinpaugh is scheduled to have temporary exhibits installed for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain quadricentennial celebration tour in August and September. This was organized by the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, in conjunction with the State Museum, Saratoga National Historical Park and the New York State Canal Corporation. This new federal grant will provide funds for the rehabilitation work necessary before permanent exhibits can be installed and the Peckinpaugh is ready for continuous tours.
The grant was among more than $81 million in federal funding for 59 transportation projects across New York State, announced by Governor David Paterson. Funds will be allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) projects. TEP finances transportation improvements with cultural, aesthetic, historical and environmental significance. It’s hoped the projects will make necessary improvements to local walkways, bicycle paths and other transportation routes while spurring economic development and job creation.
The value of a waterborne traveling exhibition, dedicated to sharing the history of the canal system, became apparent when more than a million visitors turned out to visit the 1976 Bicentennial Barge, which reached several dozen communities over a five-month journey. It is estimated that as much as 85 percent of the state’s population live in regions within a half-hour drive of the state’s waterway network.
The Peckinpaugh will follow a schedule of visits from New York City to Plattsburgh to Buffalo to Ithaca. When it is not touring during the navigation season it will be available for tours at the historic Matton Shipyard at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford. During the winter season it may also be open at its winter berth on the Waterford Flight.
Plans call for the Peckinpaugh’s permanent exhibitions to be installed and ready for visitors by summer 2010. The National Park Service will coordinate the development and operation of the exhibitions in the 130-foot long open cargo hold of the motorship, which at one time carried 160 tons of dry cement. While maintaining the Peckinpaugh’s industrial character, initial plans call for the creation of a gallery that is nearly as large as some gallery spaces in the State Museum. The gallery will be universally accessible and compliant with the American Disabilities Act..
This grant will help to mitigate a decade of neglect that left many of the boat’s mechanical systems in disrepair when it was largely abandoned in Erie, Pa. between 1995 and 2005. It follows a $290,000 grant in 2006 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Environmental Protection Fund that has been used to stabilize the Peckinpaugh. Additional work will include the replacement of fuel tanks, ballast piping and valves, the possible addition of a new ballast tank and the rebuilding of fresh water, sanitary and electrical systems. Plans also include some hull plate replacement, repair and painting.
As part of the celebration of the 2009 Hudson-Champlain Quadricentennial the New York State Office of Cultural Education (OCE) will present the exhibition “1609,” which will re-examine Henry Hudson’s voyage, the myths that surround it, and explore the legacies of Hudson’s unexpected discovery.
The State Museum, State Archives, State Library and State Office of Educational Broadcasting, which make up OCE, are collaborating on the “1609” exhibition. It is scheduled to be open July 3, 2009 through March of 2010 in the New York State Museum’s Exhibition Hall.
Other quadricentennial events will include a two-month tour along the Hudson River and Champlain Canal, led by the New York State Museum’s historic Day Peckinpaugh, a 259-foot, 1921 canal boat. The Half Moon, historic barges and other large working boats will also participate in the tour in August and September 2009. It will stop at 15 ports from Burlington, Vt. to New York Harbor. Visitors will be able to step onboard to view exhibits on 400 years of maritime progress and advancement. The tour is organized by the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, in conjunction with the State Museum, Saratoga National Historical Park and the New York State Canal Corporation.
The “1609” exhibition will be presented in four parts. The first section will focus on what life was like for both the Dutch and Native Peoples of New York before 1609 and the events of that year. The visitor will then look at the myths that Hudson planned to come here, and that Native Americans greeted him and his crew with joy and awe. The exhibition will attempt to dispel those myths and explore with the visitor what is known about Hudson and the 1609 voyage and the Native American response. The third section will confront the myths relating to the short-term impact of the voyage – the consequences for the Dutch and the Native Americans. Finally, the visitor will be able to examine the long-term legacy of the Native Americans and Dutch, and how they affected subsequent historical events and American culture today.
In addition to artifacts from throughout OCE collections, “1609” will also feature paintings by Capital District expert historical artist L.F. Tantillo.
Archaeologist James Bradley, an expert on Native Americans, and Russell Shorto, an authority on colonial Dutch history, have written text for the exhibition. Bradley is the author of “Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664,” and a guest curator for portions of the exhibition. Shorto, who resides in the Netherlands, authored “The Island at the Center of the World,” the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America.
Steven Comer, a Mohican Native American living within the original territory of the Mohican people, has provided cultural information and consulting for the project.
To complement the exhibition, the Museum also will present a program, “The Stars of 1609” on Saturdays, May 2 and 30 and June 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Participants will peer through the ages to see the night sky as it looked to Henry Hudson and his crew in 1609. There also will be a discussion about the navigational techniques of European explorers, their tools and equipment and 17th-century astronomy. The program is free but visitors must obtain tickets at the Museum’s front lobby desk.
The New York State Museum is a cultural program of the New York State Education Department. Founded in 1836, the museum has the longest continuously operating state natural history research and collection survey in the U.S. The State Museum is located on Madison Avenue in Albany. It is open daily from 9:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website.
The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY has announced the opening of their 2009 exhibition: “Native Americans in the Performing Arts: From Ballet to Rock and Roll.” America’s first Prima Ballerina, Maria Tallchief; Grammy winning singer/songwriter, Joanne Shenandoah; founding member of the Village People, Felipe Rose; and legendary Rock musician, Robbie Robertson are a few of the Native American performers featured in this dynamic new exhibition. [Read more…] about New Exhibit On Native American Performing Arts Opens