New York, NY – The New-York Historical Society, the city’s oldest museum, plans to reopen in stages starting August 14, 2020, pending approval from local and state officials. The Museum will first open a special free outdoor exhibition, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, which documents the experiences of New Yorkers across the five boroughs during the height of the pandemic. Then on September 11, 2020, the Museum is planning to reopen indoors, with safety protocols in place for visitors and staff.
“We are eager to welcome visitors back to the New-York Historical Society,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “While so much has changed over the past several months, our mission of ‘Making History Matter’ remains vital, now more than ever before.”
Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine
Curated by writer and humanitarian Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine features more than 50 photographs taken by Hickman along with 12 audio interviews with the photographs’ subjects conducted by Powell during the team’s intensive two-day odyssey across the city on April 8–9, 2020; the audio will be accessible to visitors through their cell phones. Hickman’s empathetic photographs of people and their neighborhoods in all five boroughs and Powell’s searching interviews of New Yorkers impacted by the crisis capture both tragedy and remarkable resilience at a moment in time during the pandemic. The exhibition text and audio will be offered in both English and Spanish.
Hope Wanted will take place outdoors in New-York Historical’s rear courtyard (located at West 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue), providing an open-air environment for visitors to view the exhibition and contemplate the impact of COVID-19 on New York City. Admission is free; access will be limited and face coverings will be required for entry, with social distancing enforced through timed-entry tickets and on-site safety measures.
The exhibition also includes a quiet seating area, surrounded by plantings and conducive to reflection, where visitors can record their own experiences of the pandemic in an open-sided story booth. These oral histories will be archived by New-York Historical.
Kevin Powell is a poet, journalist, public speaker, civil and human rights activist, and the author of 14 books, including his new title, When We Free the World (Apple Books), about the present and future of America, which is exclusively excerpted in the New York Times (“A Letter From Father to Child”). Kay Hickman is a documentary photographer and visual artist. Her passion is highlighting the human experience as it relates to identity, human rights, and health issues. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Time, Vogue, Ms., Vibe, Utne, and MFON Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Dr. Marilyn Kushner, curator and head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, is New-York Historical’s curatorial coordinator for the exhibition.
Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Ford Foundation. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.
Details of the Museum’s indoor reopening protocols and visitor safety measures will be announced soon. Since the New-York Historical Society closed to the public on March 13 to help contain the spread of COVID-19, it has been actively collecting during these unprecedented times through its History Responds initiative, documenting the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in New York City. For more details on what New-York Historical is currently collecting and how to donate objects, visit nyhistory.org/history-responds.
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. New-York Historical is also home to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation—and one of only 20 in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association—which contains more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.
The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Information: (212) 873-3400. Website: nyhistory.org. Follow the Museum on social media at @nyhistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr.
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