Category Archives: Historic Places

Travel to the Ends – and Beginnings — of the Earth with GeoCultura

Washington Crossing.A GeoCultura tour that runs from Philadelphia, PA to western Massachusetts looks at American Revolutionary War locales where geology played a role in the outcome of events. Places such as Independence Hall, Valley Forge, the two Washington Crossings, the Dey Mansion, the Great Falls at Paterson, the Hamilton/Burr dueling grounds and the route of Cornwallis’s pursuit of Washington up the Palisades are in focus with stories and context offered by respected authors and experts in Revolutionary War history. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfaranadnear.com

If 2022 was the year of returning to travel, 2023 is the year of making those travel plans count.

To that end, London-based GeoCultura LTD is launching 19 tour departures in 2023 that will take curious and inquiring travelers to key destinations with spectacular cultural and geologic histories in small groups led by scientists and scholars  in the fields of geology and history. Travel that counts is travel that adds wisdom and experience to those who venture, and brings that much more understanding about the world we inhabit.

Itineraries take travelers through the deserts, prairies and forests of North America, to the rocky crags of Scotland, and to the hidden highlights of Southern England. Consider a tour that moves beyond the bounds of Outlander to revisit the amazing history and conflicts that shaped the DNA of the North West Scottish Highlands. The Highlands scenery provides a dramatic background for groups of 12 to 14 people to visit seminal sights in Scottish history and learn how geology influenced battles, castles and wars.

Or it may be travel that is focused on the influences at play in the shaping of what is now the United States. For instance, a GeoCultura tour that runs from Philadelphia, PA to western Massachusetts looks at American Revolutionary War locales where geology played a role in the outcome of events. Places such as Independence Hall, Valley Forge, the two Washington Crossings, the Dey Mansion, the Great Falls at Paterson, the Hamilton/Burr dueling grounds and the route of Cornwallis’s pursuit of Washington up the Palisades are in focus with stories and context offered by respected authors and experts in Revolutionary War history.

But the tides of history are also the stuff of art and culture. The geological and historical elements that played upon the land also influenced artists, especially the Hudson River School’s Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, and later Edward Hopper – all covered with visits to homes and museums on this tour.

A particularly poignant and timely journey for 2023 happens in May as the world witnesses the first coronation of a British sovereign in more than 70 years. “London, Stonehenge, Bath, and the Jurassic Coast: A geo-culture tour of Southern England begins just after King Charles III is crowned, travels to amazing English locations and returns to London. The tour links Victorian and Georgian history with the pre-history and landscapes of Southern England: Stonehenge, the Georgian splendor of Bath and the delights of such Jurassic Coast sites as Lulworth Cove and Chesil Beach. Guests immerse themselves in the rolling landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s novels while going on fossil hunts, visiting cathedrals and castles, and taking in the magical waters of Bath.

Then, there is the rich geology, culture and gastronomy of the Catalan Pyrenees that is explored through the presence of salt throughout and under the rolling terrain. Salt became a commodity of trade and prosperity and influenced culture throughout this eastern Spanish enclave – all expressed in the arts, architecture, cuisines, migrations and conflicts that shaped these ancient lands. It’s all wrapped into stunning stories told by connoisseurs of the culture in tours that run from Barcelona to Girona in Spain.

GeoCultura tours range from three nights and four days to eight nights and nine days, and every tour is steeped in eye-opening tales that show how the earth, the land, the people and the pervading influences of various eras connected to bring us to where we are today.

“The first germ of an idea for GeoCultura started when a group of friends got together to plan a trip. We wanted something that allowed us to visit spectacular landscapes and rocks while also enjoying the best the region had to offer. And GeoCultura was born,” said Rob Knipe, Chairperson at GeoCultura.

Tour managers work hand in hand with regional focus experts to assure that while groups and individuals are being looked after with care, no topic goes unexplained, no question goes unanswered. Thus, illuminating and often sea-changing experiences offer guests wisdom and understanding that lingers well beyond the bounds of the tour. GeoCultura tours bring a robust roster of science experts to the planning and execution of each tour, maintaining an “earth-first” focus for every itinerary to reveal how landscapes and “deep time” geology continue to shape the history and culture of our planet.

Tours start at around $2,000 per person (double), including meals, fees and transportation. A modicum of fitness is required, although walking distances are reasonable and terrains are clear and well maintained. A reading list for each tour is available for those whose interests extend beyond a surface glint. Accommodations are chosen for their historic significance or qualities that complement tour themes.

GeoCultura is an international tour company founded in 2020 to bring in a focused history of the earth and its geology as a starting point for travelers to fully understand the breadth and evolution of a destination’s past and present. The company was founded by and tours are guided by esteemed scientists in their field — fellows, academicians and board members of prestigious universities in the U.K, U.S. and Canada. GeoCultura offers four- to nine-night tours in Canada, the U.S., Greece, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and Caribbean. 

The founders include:

Rob Knipe, an Emeritus Professor of Structural Geology at the University of Leeds, and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, Knipe has won prestigious awards from the Geological Society. His work has included four decades of research in the geology of the Scottish Highlands. Currently, he is focused on global Energy Transition, and works with local and national groups promoting changes towards a carbon neutral society.

Neil Harbury,  a former senior lecturer at University of London and founder of Nautilus, a premier geological training organization working with over 80 companies world-wide, Harbury’s ongoing area of passion remains creating and leading geoscience tours.

Mark Hammond a visiting professor at Canterbury Christchurch University and a visiting Fellow at the University of Bath, Hammond was Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission for 5 years. He has an MA in history from Cambridge University and an honorary doctorate from Canterbury, and served as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Washington D.C., helping to negotiate the Climate Change policy.

More information can be found at www.geoculturaworld.com, +44 2081 451011.

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Registration Opens for Parks & Trails NY’s Inaugural Cycle the Hudson Valley Bike Tour

The Freedom Tower on the Hudson River Greenway, near the endpoint of Parks & Trails NY’s inaugural 200-mile Hudson Valley Bike Tour on the Hudson River Greenway, part of the Empire State Trail © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Parks & Trails NY is hosting its inaugural Cycle The Hudson Valley bike tour, taking advantage of the new Empire State Trail that traverses the entire north-south length of the state, from Canada down to the tip of Manhattan. This trip starts midway, in Troy, on July 29 and follows the Empire State Trail 200 miles south, ending in the Big Apple a week later. This seven-day fully-supported tour is limited to the first 300 cyclists who sign up.

Daily routes average 30-50 miles/day with additional mileage options for riders wanting more. The route is 63% paved and 13% crushed stone dust trail, with 24% on road, and will take bicyclists through the cities, villages, countryside and parklands of the picturesque Hudson River Valley.

On the second night of Cycle the Hudson Valley, the tour rolls into the village of Hudson, which has become quite a mecca for art galleries and boutique shops. The group spends the next two nights in Kingston, the first capital of New York State, where George Clinton was sworn in as the first Governor almost 246 years ago to the day that the group will be in townOn the lay-over day cyclists can explore by biking an optional loop or strolling through the Kingston Stockade District (on the National Register of Historic Places) or visiting the Hudson River Maritime Museum.

On Day Four, cyclists ride over the incredibly popular Walkway Over the Hudson, an elevated multi-use park that spans 1.28 miles, and soars 212 feet above the Hudson River into Poughkeepsie on the eastern shore. Shuttles will be available to take cyclists to visit the FDR Home and Library and the renowned Culinary Institute of America. The next day’s countryside ride ends in the charming hamlet of Carmel.

The last overnight brings the tour close to NYC. Riding along the Hudson River Greenway offers river views most of the way. The tour ends at Battery Park with a stunning view of the Statue of Liberty. Cyclists can visit the 9/11 Memorial Pools, or book a trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. There’s also a superb National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian, located in the historic Alexander Hamilton US Custom House at One Bowling Green, across from Battery Park.

Registration opens January 18. Visit Cycle The Hudson Valley for more information, or email [email protected].

If you’d like to explore further, combine this trip with Parks & Trails’ fully supported Cycle the Erie Canal trip, taking place July 9-16, which features the east-west leg of the Empire State Trail and travels 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany. Cycle the Erie Canal registration is open. (See: https://moralcompasstravel.info/2023/01/parks-trails-ny-opens-registration-for-25th-anniversary-cycle-the-erie-canal-adventure/)

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Parks & Trails NY Opens Registration for 25th Anniversary Cycle the Erie Canal Adventure

Parks & Trails NY’s eight-day, 400-mile Cycle the Erie bike adventure from Buffalo to Albany is back to full strength, 650 riders, for its 25th anniversary year. Registration has just opened © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Parks & Trails NY has opened registration for the 25th Anniversary Cycle the Erie Canal 2023. The eight-day, 400-mile adventure from Buffalo to Albany takes place July 9-16.

This year, the ride – a supported camping trip – returns to its full complement of 650 riders.

There are two options: an 8-day tour from Buffalo to Albany and a 4-day option from Buffalo to Syracuse (4-day capped at 100 riders).

The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands.

The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States. Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.

Designed as a camping trip, accommodations are provided with showers, toilet facilities, some with pools or lakes for swimming; eight breakfasts and six dinners; two daily refreshment stops along the route; evening entertainment including music and historical presentations; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums and other attractions including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument and a boat tour through the Lockport locks; kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration; Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt; baggage transport; SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support; daily maps and cue sheets; painted and arrowed routes; pre-departure info packet including training trips.

Other amenities available (at additional fee) include fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up (for those who don’t want to pitch their own tent or prefer to rent).

Shuttle transportation from Albany to the start in Buffalo (you arrive the night before the bike trip starts and have an extra night camping), or from Albany back to Buffalo is available. Arrangements are made for parking.

Safety protocols are place (see 2023 COVID Policy).

Find the answers to questions at the Cycle the Erie Canal FAQ page.

The registration fee for the full tour is $1,075 for adults and $580 for youths ages 6-17, and $750 for non-cycling participants.

To register, visit https://www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/annual-bike-tour/register

See:

Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State

Cycle the Erie, Day 1: In Lockport, See Erie Canal Engineering Marvel, ‘Flight of Five’, Cruise Thru Double Locks, and Go Underground to Fathom Rise of Industrial Revolution

Cycle the Erie, Day 2-3: A Sequence of Charming Canaltowns, Pastoral Landscapes, Punctuated by City Birthed by ‘Mother of Cities’

Cycle the Erie, Day 4: Seneca Falls to Syracuse, Crossing Halfway Mark of 400-Mile Biketour

Cycle the Erie, Day 5: Deep Dive into The Erie Canal: ‘Mother of Cities’, Empire Builder, Wonder of the World

Cycle the Erie: At Fort Stanwix, Rome, Time Travel Back to America’s Colonial, Native American Past

Cycle the Erie, Days 6-7: Erie Canal Spurs Rise of America as Global Industrial Power

Cycle the Erie, Days 7-8: Schoharie Crossing, Mabee Farm, Cohoes Falls to Finish Line in Albany of 400-Mile Biketour

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‘The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’ Exhibit at New-York Historical Society Takes on New Relevance

Spectral evidence doomed those accused of witchcraft at the Salem Witch Trials, as shown in the exhibit ‘The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’ at the New-York Historical Society.

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

In an episode that has resonated through American culture from colonial times until today, more than 200 residents of Salem, Massachusetts, were accused of witchcraft in 1692-93. The trials led to the executions of 19 people, most of them women, and the deaths of at least six more. The last of the accused, Elizabeth Johnson Jr., was only officially exonerated this past summer.

In a new exhibit, “The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming,” the New-York Historical Society reexamines this defining moment in American history and considers from a contemporary viewpoint how mass panic can lead to fatal injustice. On view through January 22, 2023 in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, this is the final stop of this traveling exhibition, organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts, and coordinated at New-York Historical by its Center for Women’s History, which unearths the lives and legacies of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience.

“Countless scholars and authors from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Arthur Miller have kept alive the memory and meanings of the Salem witch trials—but this critical turning point in American history has never before been seen as it is in “’The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical Society © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Countless scholars and authors from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Arthur Miller have kept alive the memory and meanings of the Salem witch trials—but this critical turning point in American history has never before been seen as it is in “’The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical Society. “We are proud to present this extraordinary exhibition through our Center for Women’s History, exemplifying the Center’s mission to rethink familiar chapters of the past and deepen our understanding of them. We hope our visitors will come away with a new perspective on these terrible events from more than 300 years ago and what they still mean for us now.”

Most spectacularly, the exhibit features actual artifacts and personal items from people involved in the Salem Witch Trials – the accused and the accusers – putting into context how personal, more than political, these accusations were, but how easy it was to prey upon the superstition and stereotypes of women.

The exhibit also features two contemporary artists – the acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen and portrait photographer Frances F. Denny, both of whom are descendents of women who were put to death; Denny even has discovered an ancestor on the other branch of her family who was a central judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Both were drawn to their projects as a tribute to their ancestors and to redress the injustice.

The exhibition opens with historical artifacts, rare documents, and contemporaneous accounts, which include testimony about dreams, ghosts, and visions. Handwritten letters and petitions of innocence from the accused convey the human toll. Contextual materials such as furniture and other everyday items help to situate the Salem witch trials within the European tradition of witch hunts, which date back to the 14th century, while suggesting the crucial ways this episode diverged. Rare documents from New-York Historical’s collection, including one of the first written accounts of the trial from 1693, are also on view.

The artifacts and documents that are exhibited that were owned by people involved in the trials are windows into life at that time.

“What we hope people take away, what happened and why, that real people were involved, ensnared in the tragedy, and spark personal reflections of what you might do when confronted with such injustice,” Dan Lipcan, Peabody Essex Museum’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library, said at a press preview of the exhibit. “We want people to think about what we can do to create a more tolerant, compassionate society so that this doesn’t happen again.”

The exhibit feels so much more relevant and urgent in light of what is happening in Texas with SB8 which incentivizes vigilantes to hunt down women and girls for seeking reproductive health care, and anyone who might aid them; and when you see how Florida is requiring girl athletes to provide menstrual data. Quite literal persecution and terrorism.

“Witches were thought to make a pact with Satan, gaining the ability to unleash maleficia – harmful magic – causing sickness, misery and death. Accusations were overwhelmingly hurled at women, particularly those who were poor or older. Trials engaged the entire community as a form of popular entertainment and social control over women’s behavior, fertility, or knowledge.”

The exhibit begins by putting the Salem witch trials in context of the European witch hunts.

“Saducismus Triumphatus” a book dating from 1700 with intricate woodcuts, in which Joseph Glanvill provides point-by-point rebuttal if anyone doubted the existence of witchcraft © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
 

On view is a “best-selling treatise’ from the 1480s Europe on “how to find, identify, prosecute, torture and condemn women for witchcraft.”

Also on view is “Saducismus Triumphatus,” a book from 1700 with intricate woodcuts, in which Joseph Glanvill provides point-by-point rebuttal to any potential skepticism about the existence of witchcraft.

From 1450-1750, in Europe, witch hunts were rampant, some 110,000 trials held and an estimated 50,000 people – 80 percent of them women, were executed (https://www.gendercide.org/case_witchhunts.html). Imagine the daily terror that would have kept women very much in their place, unwilling to speak out with a remedy for sickness or to prevent a woman from dying in childbirth, for fear of being accused of witchcraft or making a pact with the devil.

A 1600s painting from Flanders, when witchhunts and executions were rampant in Europe, perpetuates the stereotype of witches as women, regularly accompanied by demons, dwarfs, skeletons and boiling pots.

Witch trials made their way into fiction and art, like a mid-1600s painting we see from Flanders, creating the stereotype of witches as women, regularly accompanied by demons, dwarfs, skeletons and boiling pots.

There were other witch hunts in colonial America, but Salem’s witch trials were more lethal and extreme. They also differed in how they featured spectral evidence- testimony from dreams, ghosts and visions – as legal proof. The afflicted were almost all female and initially were children, rather than men. Accusations started with ostracized women but quickly spread to include elite and powerful community members.

Salem’s witch hunts began with Tatuba, an enslaved woman in the Parris household. Tatuba came from Barbados where enslaved women would work over cauldrons to feed their family and heat their home. Girls accused her of making them unwell. Tatuba (likely beaten) confessed to survive.

“She testified that she had practiced magic under the direction of the other two women initially accused, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, who, like Tituba, were disempowered in the community and easily scapegoated. Tituba also claimed that there were more witches at work in Salem. Her confession, combining puritanical, African and Caribbean lore, included signing the devil’s book, using animal familiars to hurt the girls, and riding a pole through the air. It ignited and legitimized the ever-growing hunt for those responsible for the girls’ and the community’s unexplainable hardships.”

By confessing, Tituba outlived the trials which ended 1693, after the court would no longer use spectral (“invisible”) evidence. Her trial was declared “ignoramus” (“We do not know”-that is, there was not enough evidence of her guilt).

Window from the Towne family home, 1692. A window was considered a spectral portal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of the objects on view is an actual portion of a window from the Towne family home from 1692: three sisters who were of grandmother-age at the time, were accused; two were hanged, one survived.

“Such surviving objects are very rare – they are precious, fragile,” Paula Richter, the Peabody curator, said at the press preview. “This 17th century window came from a Towne descendent. A window was a luminal space – the space between outside/inside, look in/out, hear in/outside – site of fear. This type of ‘spectral’ evidence was admitted into court and accepted as fact. A window was considered a portal where spectral (bad, unreal) could enter the home and bewitch inhabitants.”

Salem’s witch trials were particularly more lethal and extreme and allowed spectral evidence – testimony from dreams, ghosts and visions – as legal proof.
 

There is also a tape loom belonging to Rebecca Putnam, decorated with both Christian and folk symbols. The Putnams were an influential and prominent landowning family that actively accused and testified against neighbors during the trials, including the three Towne Sisters (we see the window of the Towne home). Her cousin Ann Putnam Jr. was a principal accuser and one of the first girls to experience afflictions, and other relatives accused dozens of victims. Her uncle, Thomas Putnam Jr., served as a secretary for the trials while her father, John Putnam Jr., was a constable.

Personal objects from people ensnared in the Salem Witch Trials: sundial owned by John Proctor Sr., 1644. A sundial represented a rare luxury. It was a means to organize and regulate time and required an understanding of astronomy and mathematics. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There is a cane owned by Philip English, a wealthy man of high social status, who was nonetheless (or because of that) accused of witchcraft; along with an item belonging to a farmer.

And then there are the original documents. The transcript for Elizabeth How – Alexander McQueen’s ancestor – is most complete, from the accusation to the trial to the order of payment of restitution in 1712 to Elizabeth’s How’s daughters, Mary and Abigail, after her exoneration 20 years after her execution.

One of the first histories of Salem Witch Trials was produced by none other than father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather, expressing discomfort at using spectral evidence, but defending the court’s verdicts and executions because witches were “the embodiment of evil.” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

We see a copy of one of the first histories of Salem Witch Trials, produced by none other than father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather. “Salem’s legal proceedings came to an abrupt halt in October 1692 as the mounting death toll alongside widespread chaos provoked a prevailing sense that the trials had gone too far,” the notes say. “The colony was in crisis – threatening the political authority of the Puritans. Father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather, were allies of the Massachusetts Bay colony’s new governor, Sir William Phips. A year after the trial, they provided contemporary justifications of the controversial trials, instructing their religious flocks on how to interpret the story and providing political cover, while acknowledging faults in the legal system. They attacked witches as the embodiment of evil, and defended the court’s verdicts and executions, but expressed discomfort with the court’s admission of spectral evidence. Only verifiable evidence or witnesses, Cotton Mather argued, should ‘turn the scale’ of justice in court going forward.”

(Notably, the Puritans who established Plymouth and dominated Massachusetts Colony, are extinct.)

In 1693, the Reverend Francis Dane Sr. wrote an apology, disturbed by how easily the community turned against one another. “One of the few courageous voices of resistance, the long-time Andover resident had been named as a possible witch, along with 28 of his family members-including Alexander McQueen’s ancestor, Elizabeth How, and Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Johnson  Jr.” In a statement, Dane expresses regret that the community was not more tolerant, more charitable and more forgiving “hence we so easily parted with our neighbors of honest & good report, and members in full Communion, hence we so easily parted with our Children…hence such strange breaches in families.”

Considering that the population of Salem and Salem Village was about 2000 in 1692, that would mean that 10 percent of the community was ensnared and prosecuted for witch craft, with 19 put to death.

Beginning in 1696, trial victims and family members petitioned the General Court to clear the records of those falsely accused – in order to get their property back, since descendents of a witch could not inherit the property. Many of the relatives fled to other communities to start life over.

In 1711, the Province issued a reversal nullifying all convictions, judgments and attainders against those on the list, but six of those executed were not on the list, presumably because no petitioners applied. Elizabeth Johnson Jr.’s name was only cleared in July 2022.

The irony is that there were no witches in Salem in 1692, but today, you can visit Salem and find a wicca community.

And as I go through the exhibit, it appears to me that the impetus for the Salem witch hunts was different than that of Europe’s.  In Europe, the motivation seemed to have been more clearly a desire for male religious leaders to retain their absolute control against “uppity” women who were healers and midwives and might challenge their divine authority. In Salem, it seems to have been spurred on more because of personal vendettas and outright opportunistic property theft. This may be a distinction without a difference.

“The Salem witch trials have become rhetorical shorthand in contemporary discourse, but the actual historical events are frequently overlooked,” said Dan Lipcan, Peabody Essex Museum’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“The Salem witch trials have become rhetorical shorthand in contemporary discourse, but the actual historical events are frequently overlooked,” said Dan Lipcan, PEM’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library, along with Curator Paula Richter and Associate Curator Lydia Gordon. “When we conceived of this exhibition, we set out to provide a framework for a modern-day audience to reckon with what this chapter of history meant for the development of this country, and what it says about the potential within each of us. We want visitors to feel the continuing impact of the Salem witch trials, to consider what it says about race and gender, and to think about how they themselves might react to similar moments of widespread injustice.”

Coming into the exhibit, I had the idea that the Salem Witch Trials factored into Thomas Jefferson’s call for Separation of Church and State, as well as the judicial due process that was embedded into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

But what was remarkable to me is to realize that the Salem Witch Trials apparently were not widely known through the rest of the colonies. This is before there would have been newspapers that were linked together by Ben Franklin (I believe the first actual syndicated columnist). The trials only lasted a year and were followed by community-wide shame over what occurred – both for the relatives of those accused, many of whom left Salem and by the accusers who realized they had gone too far.

Other places that had witch trials (Long Island and in Virginia) but these were more likely triggered by events in Europe than by what went on in Salem.

The Founders were more likely inspired to institute Separation of Church and State and judicial due process – 80 years later – by the Enlightenment which looked to science, reason and humanism, in place of the supernatural, Lipcan suggested to me.

So how did the Salem Witch Trials become so prominent in the American psyche?

I suspect it had a lot to do with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and the publication of “The House of Seven Gables” in 1851, a follow-up to his hit, anti-Puritan “The Scarlet Letter” novel in 1850. (Hawthorne was so ashamed of his great-great-grandfather John Hathorne, one of the judges who oversaw the Salem witch trials that added the “w” to his surname when he was in his early twenties.) I suggest Hawthorne resurrected the Salem Witch Trials and brought widespread awareness, igniting imagination and intrigue.

Hawthorne’s friend, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, did his part to create the myths surrounding the Salem Witch Trials, depicting Tituba as an African (“Obi”) practitioner of magic, though there is no evidence she was either Black or a witch, aside from the confession she gave under duress and later retracted.

An illustration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem enshrined an image of Tituba.

The exhibit has a copy of a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) written in her own hand, “Witchcraft was/ hung, in History, / but History / and I /Find all the / Witchcraft that /we need /Around us,/every Day—“

Also in the mid-1800s, a new train from Boston brought visitors to Salem who were taken around to sights by street car. Then around the bicentennial, 1892, the witch trials became commercialized – an industry of witch and related ephemera like buttons, even a souvenir witch spoon, developed, Paula Richter of the Peabody Essex Museum tells me.

The Salem Witch Trials became the center of a massive tourism economy that emerged in the 1950s, growing steadily until today. An annual event, Salem’s Haunted Happenings, has become so popular, it has expanded from Halloween weekend, to October weekends, to all October, with a score of perennial attractions that include the House of Seven Gables; Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop, recreating a trial based on actual transcripts; The Witch House, home of Judge Jonathan Corwin ( the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692; and Witch Dungeon Museum. It was not until 1992, the tercentenary of the Salem Witch Trials, that the Salem Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated – by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

“Many people are introduced to the Salem Witch Trials through popular film and television. Fictionalized versions of the story and its legacy continue to captivate audiences to this day. Yet these depictions often rely on stereotypes that ignore the complex social and gendered circumstances that led to the events of 1692.”

A life-size painting that dates from 1869 of “The Salem Martyr” – the woman who posed as a condemned witch was a descendent of one of the hanged victims.
 

We see one of these in a life-size painting that dates from 1869 of “The Salem Martyr” – the woman who posed as a condemned witch was a descendent of one of the hanged victims.

Arthur Miller used the Salem Witch Trials as his metaphor for McCarthy’s “House on Unamerican Committee’s” witch hunts for Communists in Hollywood and government. (See “Why I Wrote “The Crucible”, New Yorker Magazine)

The exhibition also features two reclamation projects by contemporary artists who are descendants of the accused, including a dress and accompanying photographs from fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s fall/winter 2007 collection, “In Memory of Elizabeth How, 1692.” In creating this collection, which was based on research into the designer’s ancestor—one of the first women to be condemned and hanged as a witch—McQueen mined historical symbols of witchcraft, paganism, religious persecution, and magic. Documents show how Elizabeth How was accused and ultimately condemned in July 1692, adding to the gravity of the designer’s show.

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s fall/winter 2007 collection, “In Memory of Elizabeth How, 1692” was dedicated to his ancestor who was among the first women to be executed in Salem as a witch © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The exhibit features one of the dresses – a stunning and dramatic black velvet that shimmers with light –along with photos from the runway show and a painted red pentagram just as in the Paris show – juxtaposed with copies of the original transcripts from the trial.

Photographer Frances F. Denny went on a three-year odyssey to document people who today identify as witches. Thirteen from her series, “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America” challenge the traditional notion of witchery by celebrating the spectrum of identities and spiritual practices of people who identify as witches today. Complementing the photographers are audio recordings so you can listen to their voices.

Photographer Frances F. Denny went on a three-year odyssey to document people who today identify as witches. Thirteen from her series, “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America” challenge the traditional notion of witchery by celebrating the spectrum of identities and spiritual practices of people who identify as witches today © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There is also an immersive experience based on New-York Historical’s collection of tarot cards that prompts viewers to imagine what reclaiming witchcraft might mean.

The exhibition concludes with a display that connects the Salem witch trials to modern life and a warning and a challenge of sorts: what would you do when such profound injustice arises?

“The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming” is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. It was co-curated by Dan Lipcan, the Ann c. Pingree Director of the Phillips library; Paula Richter, Curator; and Lydia Gordon, Associate Curator. At New-York Historical, it was coordinated by Anna Danziger Halperin, Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow in women’s history and public history, Center for women’s History.

There is also various programming related to the exhibit, and a special exhibition guide for families.

The Salem Witch Trials exhibit is enhanced with tarot cards from the New-York Historical Society’s own collection© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There’s so much to see and enjoy at the New-York Historical Society, a destination for history since 1804 and New York’s first museum. There is a world-class permanent exhibit of Tiffany; a relatively new (and fascinating exhibit) about journalist and historian Robert Caro’s process (looking at his notebooks and manuscripts is amazing); two sensational films, “We Rise” about the women’s movement, and “New York City”, plus changing exhibits. (There is also a lovely café.)

The Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be. Ever-rising to the challenge of bringing little or unknown histories to light, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new annex housing its Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help forge the future by documenting the past join New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Center for Women’s History. Digital exhibitions, apps, and its For the Ages podcast make it possible for visitors everywhere to dive more deeply into history.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org. Connect at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Tumblr.

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From Mountains to Canyons, Valleys to BrooklynFour Great American Trains to Discover

America’s Highest Railroad
The “Grandest” Railway
A 150-Year Old Narrow Gauge Railroad
And One RR that runs in “A Hole in The Ground”


A Pikes Peak Cog Railway train approaching the summit at 14,115 feet in Colorado (photo provided by Xanterra)

There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14,000-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting.

THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY

 (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet)

Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it’s back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.

Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. A Ride & Stay package is also available via The Broadmoor, a luxury Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond property, that includes accommodations and train tickets.

The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com

THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY

(Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon)

Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.

During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.

You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.

It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters.

The East Broad Top Railroad (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania)
A 150-year-old narrow-gauge railroad coming out of hibernation and to life in a big way.

It’s one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than “standard” railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.

It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children. 

Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285.

The New York Transit Museum & Nostalgia Rides (New York City)

Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.

However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what’s called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.

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Evening with Julian Fellowes at The Breakers, July 26; Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, Sept 16-18

The Preservation Society of Newport County is hosting a special evening with Julian Fellowes, the acclaimed writer, director, producer, novelist and actor who created “The Gilded Age” and “Downtown Abbey, at The Breakers (photo by Nick Briggs)

NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County is proud to host a special evening with Julian Fellowes on July 26 at The Breakers. Oscar and Emmy winner Fellowes is the brilliant writer, director, producer, novelist and actor who created “The Gilded Age” and “Downton Abbey.”

This event will feature dinner and conversation with Lord Fellowes in the opulent setting of the Great Hall of The Breakers. The evening will begin with cocktails, followed by a sit-down dinner. Lord Fellowes will converse with an interviewer for roughly 30 minutes and will take questions before dessert is served. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit www.NewportMansions.org.

Lord Fellowes has also been named the 2022 recipient of the Antiquarian Award – the highest honor presented by the Preservation Society of Newport County – in recognition of the collective impact of his work. This award will be presented during the Preservation Society’s Annual Meeting on June 9 in the Rosecliff ballroom. Lord Fellowes will not be in attendance but has recorded remarks to be aired during the ceremony.

He will be presented in-person with the Antiquarian Award at The Breakers during the event on July 26.

“Lord Fellowes has made a lasting impact, not only on the Preservation Society, but on the city of Newport and the state of Rhode Island with ‘The Gilded Age,’ his new series on HBO,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “We are honored to have this wonderful historical drama filmed in a number of our house museums, contributing to the authenticity of a series that beautifully showcases Newport and its Gilded Age legacy while also delivering an immense economic boost to the region. And we look forward to hosting Lord Fellowes for this special evening on July 26!”

The Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of fierce rivalry between old money and new. Nowhere is that rivalry more apparent than on East 61st Street, where Marian Brook and her thoroughly old money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook, live opposite the stupendously rich George and Bertha Russell. The Russells are both fiercely ambitious, he financially, she socially, and they are determined to reach the highest echelons of New York. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, Marian’s friend and confidant Peggy Scott forges her own path in the world of the Black elite. In this glittering world on the brink of the modern age, will the established rules of society prevail, or will the game change entirely? Filming for Season 2 of “The Gilded Age” is currently underway at various locations in Newport, including several Preservation Society mansions.

“I am tremendously honored, even overwhelmed, to be given the Antiquarian Award,” Julian Fellowes said. “I knew about Newport. I’ve read about Newport. But I hadn’t been there, hadn’t experienced it, until we started to make the program. I find it an extraordinary place. I’ve already called it a village of palaces, but that is what it is, grand, even awe-inspiring, but at the same time, beguiling.”

Julian Fellowes has had an extensive and distinguished career in film, television, publishing and the dramatic arts. He received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 for “Gosford Park,” his first produced film, and he is the creator, sole writer and executive producer of the worldwide hit series “Downton Abbey,” which received 69 Emmy Award nominations, winning 15, over its six seasons. He also received a Golden Globe Award and special BAFTA Award for “Downton Abbey.” The “Downton Abbey” movie written and produced by Fellowes was released in 2019. Most recently, the feature film “Downton Abbey: A New Era” written and produced by Fellowes was released in Spring 2022.

His other work includes “Separate Lies” for which he received the National Board of Review Directorial Debut Award, “From Time to Time” which he wrote and directed which won Best Picture at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival and Best Picture at the Fiuggi Family Festival in Rome, “The Young Victoria,” “Vanity Fair,” his Emmy Award-winning “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” and the BAFTA nominated “The Prince and The Pauper;” and three novels – “Belgravia,” “Snobs,” and “Past Imperfect” – that were Sunday Times Best Sellers. He is responsible for the ‘book’ of the Broadway musicals, Mary Poppins and School of Rock – The Musical for which he received a Tony nomination. In January 2011, he was given a peerage and entered the House of Lords as the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford.

2022 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

In other news, The Preservation Society of Newport County announced J.P. Morgan Wealth Management as the presenting sponsor for the 2022 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, to be held September 16-18.


Returning for its 17th year, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is one of most anticipated events of the summer. This world-class festival showcases unique wines, spirits and culinary events over three days in the spectacular setting of Rosecliff.

This year’s festival will build on the boutique vibe from the last two years, and will curate 24 wine and spirits seminars with an array of vintners, wineries, wine and culinary experts hosted in the Rosecliff salon and dining room, and on the terrace. Wine experts and luminaries will treat festival attendees to one-hour tasting journeys representing regions from all over the world.

An exciting addition to the festival experience this year is the Micro-Tasting Tent.  All seminar attendees will have exclusive access to this tent to taste and learn from unique world-class wine, spirits, and culinary vendors.

Special events will include a Vintner Dinner in the ballroom at Rosecliff on Friday night, September 16, and the “Newport After Dark” party will also return at a venue to be announced.

New this year, James Beard Award Winning Celebrity Chef Michael Solomonov will host the Sunday Brunch. Solomonov is an Israeli chef and restaurateur, known for his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav. He won the James Beard Foundation awards for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011, Cookbook of the Year in 2016, and Outstanding Chef in 2017.

The Festival Restaurant Program, presented by BankNewport, promises creative culinary and wine lunches and dinners hosted by Newport’s award-winning restaurants.

Proceeds from the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its 11 historic properties — seven of them National Historic Landmarks — span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For more information, visit NewportMansions.org.

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New-York Historical Society  Presents Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books

PJ Loughran, Illustration for Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery. Collection of the artist. © 2015 PJ Loughran. Used by permission of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

NEW YORK– The New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum, presents an exhibition that explores the civil rights movement through one of the most emotionally compelling forms of visual expression—the children’s picture book. Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books, on view April 1 – July 24, 2022, highlights some of the most consequential moments in American history that continue to impact the nation today. Through illustrations and objects, the exhibition traces the legacy of social justice, thoughtfully presented for young audiences, and provides a jumping off point for important conversations about race, justice, and America’s past. The exhibition is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, where it debuted in August 2020, and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts.

“We’re so pleased to welcome Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books to New York so that our audience can gain a powerful new perspective on the long march towards social justice,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “By showing how the civil rights movement has been interpreted for children throughout the decades, the exhibition demonstrates the important role young people have played and highlights the influential figures and moments that are working towards moving our society forward.”

“Through an immersive tapestry of images and ideas, the artworks in Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books take viewers by the hand and guide them through times of bravery and triumph,” said New York Times bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney, the exhibition’s curator and award-winning children’s book creator. “It’s an honor to collaborate on this experience that delivers a front-row seat to the dramatic events that continue to shape our world.”

The exhibition gives a comprehensive view of American history, explored through titles by established children’s book authors and artists as well as talented newcomers. Among the important historical moments highlighted: Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama; Ruby Bridges becoming the first Black student to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in 1960; Barack Obama’s swearing in as president in 2009; and the Black Lives Matter protests. Supplemented with historical items, the exhibition also emphasizes children’s roles as activists and the powerful role they have played in civil rights movements throughout history. A short documentary film, historical footage, and a series of compelling interviews with authors, illustrators, and activists provide context and an in-depth look at the faces of the movement as well as the artists who visualize history in the pages of picture books.

Given the controversy of how such issues as race and slavery are treated in children’s books – going as far as to ban certain books from schools – the exhibit is especially timely. Asked about the controversy, the museum distinguished between politics and history:

“For almost two decades, ‘History Matters’ has been New-York Historical’s motto and an essential part of its mission. With this new exhibition, we show that history continues to matter,” the museum stated. “New-York Historical along with the artists and authors featured in this show persist in telling these great historical stories even as our children’s education is scrutinized by those seeking to avoid difficult conversations. This exhibition traces the legacy of social justice thoughtfully presented for young audiences, and provides a jumping off point for important conversations about race, justice, and America’s past.”

The exhibition has been in the works to come to New-York Historical since August 2020 after it debuted at the High Museum. “It comes from trusted partners and was previously on view in Atlanta, Georgia and Amherst, Massachusetts, it is at its core a history show that centers the experiences of kids, and it tackles tough history in age-appropriate and challenging ways. All of this is in alignment with New-York Historical’s mission to bring history to the widest possible audience.”

The exhibit features original artworks, plus related objects and images from New-York Historical’s collection.A reading nook is also available for visitors to read the books from which the illustrations are taken. 

Special to New-York Historical’s presentation are a historical timeline and artifacts from the Museum’s History Responds collection, including drawings by artists and children inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and objects from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The gallery also features a reading nook with books featured in the exhibition available for visitors’ enjoyment.

Several of the books featured in the exhibition have been honored with Coretta Scott King Book Awards, including Hidden Figures, illustrated by Laura Freeman and written by Margot Lee Shetterly, and Let the Children March, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Monica Clark-Robinson.

Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books is curated by award-winning children’s book author Andrea Davis Pinkney, and is coordinated at New-York Historical by Alice Stevenson, vice president and director of the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, and Alexandra Krueger, manager of museum affairs.

The exhibition’s curator, Andrea Davis Pickney, chose the books featured in the exhibition, with the intent to include those currently in print so that children would have the opportunity to read them. Notably, no changes were made to the selections based on the controversy over book banning, the museum said.

Among the books featured in the exhibition are:

  • A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy
  • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman  
  • Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane Evans
  • A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney  
  • If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold  
  • Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker and Jessica Curry, illustrated by Brittany Jackson  
  • Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney  
  • I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012
  • Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton, illustrated by Raúl Colón  

Programming

Throughout the exhibition, a variety of family and education programs are planned. In April, families are invited to take part in online and in-person story times featuring books from Picture the Dream during Little New-Yorkers and Sunday Story Time. Among the books to be read are Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change, written by Michelle Cook and illustrated by 13 different award winning illustrators; All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and illustrated by Bryan Collier; Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison; A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Eric Velasquez; and Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman and illustrated by Loren Long. Additional details about these and other children’s programs are available online.

Open House Teacher Appreciation Day takes place on Saturday, May 14, and includes story times throughout the day along with a drop-in craft for any families at the Museum. Educators can learn more and register here.  

Major support for New-York Historical’s presentation of Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books is provided by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation. Additional support provided by New-York Historical’s Frederick Douglass Council. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor. 

At the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum, you can experience 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibitions, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations among renowned historians and public figures. A great destination for history since 1804, the Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be.

Ever-rising to the challenge of bringing little or unknown histories to light, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new annex housing its Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help forge the future by documenting the past join New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Center for Women’s History. Digital exhibitions, apps, and our For the Ages podcast make it possible for visitors everywhere to dive more deeply into history.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400,  nyhistory.org. Follow the museum on social media at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Tumblr.

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Germany Extends Commemoration of 1,700 Years of Jewish Life Through July 2022

Munich: The new main synagogue in the Jewish center © Getty Images / FooTToo

In December 2021, 1,700 flags were raised to commemorate 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany. “Auf das Leben!” German for: “To life!” (l’chaim). This Jewish toast can be read on these flags, flying high in state parliaments, synagogues, churches, universities, museums, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and many more public places.

A series of celebrations, exhibitions, events and commemorations throughout Germany, the festival year #2021JLID is being extended until July 31, 2022.

The campaign is an initiative of the association “321-2021: 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany,” taking a stance against anti-Semitism in Germany.

The history of Jews in Germany dates back to the year 321 when the Roman Emperor Constantine issued an edict that marked the earliest evidence of Jewish life in Germany. The story of the edict is quite fascinating since it was born out of a profane need: the city council of Cologne had to repair a damaged bridge but lacked the financial means. A Jew named Isaac offered monetary assistance but required a professional position in the city council to do so. Emperor Constantine granted the ensuing request for permission, resulting in the first firmly written evidence of Jewish life in Europe, North of the Alps.

Despite a varied history and the unspeakable crimes against humanity of the Nazi regime during the Shoa, Jews resettled in Germany following World War II. Today, more than 200,000 people have made their home in about 100 Jewish Communities across the country. They contributed greatly to the development of Germany in the arts, philosophy, science, medicine and economic landscape, and became an inseparable part of our society.

Places of Jewish heritage can be found throughout the country: the Rykestrasse Synagogue in Berlin, the Synagogues in CologneErfurtFrankfurt, LeipzigUlmBayreuthAugsburg, the Jewish Cemetery ‘Heiliger Sand’ in Worms, the ShUM Sites on the Rhine, the “document” at the Neupfarrplatz in Regensburg, the timber-framed synagogue in Celle, the New Synagogue in Dresden and the Ohel Jakob Synagogue in Munich are just some examples.

The anniversary year conveys aspects about Jewish culture, traditions and customs and sends a clear message against anti- Semitism. Events are organized nationwide under the name #2021JLID – Jewish Life in Germany, including concerts, virtual exhibitions, music, podcasts, video projects, theater, and films.

The Shared History Project was initiated by the Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin (LBI) and supported by #2021JLID – Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland e.V. with funding from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI).

A joint initiative between the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Catholic, Protestant churches and other groups provides cultural and historical exhibitions about Jewish life and faith in the country as well as commemorations, postage stamps, and the production of a Jewish food guide.The wide-ranging activities – almost 1,500 overall – both in analog and digital form, have one goal in common: to strike a balance between past, present, and future.

The events throughout the year 2021 brought a sense of new confidence to light, allowing many Jews to show their culture and customs in the streets of Germany, resulting in an experience of togetherness between Jews and non-Jews.

The federal government has followed requests and decided that the festival year #2021JLID will be extended until July 31, 2022. For the project partners whose events could not take place in the planned form due to the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. with an audience or with guests from abroad), this provides the opportunity to carry out the events after all. The “Jewish Traveler” e-brochure highlights 65 cities and towns with special travel tips and contact details of Jewish organizations and institutions.

A collection of resources on Jewish Life in Germany today provides current and upcoming radio programs, links to activities of government and public institutions, as well as state, city, and local authorities.

Dresden: synagogue (C) Adobe Stock / tagstiles.com

The following calendar provides insight into a variety of celebrations honoring Jewish culture in Germany.

Augsburg, Bavaria: The Jewish Museum in Augsburg shows two exhibitions reflecting on Jewish life in the city. The exhibition “Jews through the Eyes of Others” (until September 4, 2022) questions clichés, prejudices, exaggerations, generalizations, and categorizations and asks the question: what role do Jewish museums play in perpetuating such projections?

The exhibition “The End of the Testimony” (until June 5, 2022) focuses on memories of contemporary witnesses, and the question of how to maintain statements of oral history for the next generations. It shows written testimonies and video interviews of contemporary witnesses and focuses on the question of how we want to deal with this legacy in the future.

Bayreuth, Bavaria: “Jewish Life in Bayreuth” program includes lectures within the established series “Bayreuth City Talks”, workshops, a weekly series in the local newspaper in cooperation with the Nordbayerischer Kurier, an app, and more.

Bamberg, Bavaria: Exhibition, “Medieval mikvah in Bamberg.” In the area of​​ the new “Quartier an der Stadtmauer” in the middle of Bamberg is a medieval mikvah (mikveh) – a Jewish ritual bath – from the first third of the 15th century as well as a baroque house from the 18th century, for which Jewish residents are proven. In order to convey Jewish life in historical times, a small documentation center was developed at the authentic site of the mikvah. It is the oldest still visible monument of the Jewish community in Bamberg.

Berlin: SHARED HISTORY Conference on 1,700 Years of Jewish Life in German-speaking Lands” (video recordings available). The Leo Baeck Institute – New York | Berlin (LBI) is marking the occasion of 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany by launching its “Shared History Project.” As the name suggests, the lives of Jews have always been tightly interwoven with the history of the regions and countries where they lived. But to what extent can we truly speak of shared experiences during the past 17 centuries in Central Europe? What forms have the social, economic, and scientific exchange between the Jewish minority and Christian majority taken? These questions will be highlighted from several perspectives.

The New Synagogue which opened in 1866 is today the home of the Centrum Judaicum, which sees itself as a link between the past and the future. It serves as a site of research and documentation and brings Berlin’s vibrant Jewish history to life. The exhibitions “Under the wedding sky – weddings in Jewish Berlin” and “Telling Jewish Berlin. Mine, yours, ours?” (until June 12, 2022) unfold a mosaic of stories, experiences, and emotions, revolving around individual perspectives and personal relationships.

The 28th Jewish Film Festival Berlin | Brandenburg (JFBB), the largest Jewish film festival in Germany, will take place this year from June 14 to June 19, 2022, in numerous venues in Berlin and Potsdam. The JFBB program aims to enliven political and historical debates, counter anti-Semitism, narrate Jewish themes beyond stereotypes, and offer points of contact for the audience. On the program are feature films, documentaries, retrospectives, international films of all genres, high-end TV series, (contemporary witness) talks, and panel discussions.

Büren-Wewelsburg, North Rhine-Westphalia: Guided tour, “An insight into the history of Jewish life in the Paderborn region.” The former Hochstift Paderborn has a fascinating Jewish history. During a tour of the historical museum of the Paderborn monastery as well as the Wewelsburg memorial and memorial site 1933–1945, the varied history can be rediscovered.

Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia: Exhibition, “SHALOM COLOGNE – discover Jewish life in Cologne, participate and set an example.” SHALOM COLOGNE is an innovative educational program that encourages to deal creatively and digitally with Jewish culture. The SHALOM-BOX contains more than 50 suggestions in the form of worksheets, videos, teaching ideas, links and hands-on tools. For the XXL poster, everyone is invited to send in selfies and pictures to create a strong motif for tolerance and respect. The big SHALOM CHALLENGE calls for artistic contributions dealing with Jewish culture.

Project: “Jewish Cologne – on the right bank of the Rhine.” Two centuries of Jewish history are closely connected to the Jewish cemetery in Cologne-Deutz. It forms the bridge between the Middle Ages and the modern age, and is also the link to Cologne on the right bank of the Rhine, the “Schäl Sick”. The project “Jewish Cologne-rechtsrheinisch” uses digital media to make history visible behind weathered inscriptions.

Dresden, Saxony: The exhibit “Rethinking City History: Perspectives on Jewish Stories and Present Lifes” (until March 31, 2022) retraces the complex Jewish life in the capital of Saxony. Until today, objects of the Jewish past can be found in living rooms, basements, or garages, finding a new place within the exhibition. Guided tours, a blog series and a YouTube video provide a deeper insight into the project.

Franconia: The anniversary is especially significant in Franconia since Jewish culture thrived in the region for almost 1,000 years. Jewish scholars, Franconian-Jewish dialects, foundations, synagogues, and more than 100 Jewish cemeteries had a significant impact on all aspects of life. This ended abruptly with the almost complete annihilation of the Jewish population during the Third Reich. Today, there are again Jewish communities in Franconia, as well as important institutions, including the Jewish Museum Franconia in Fürth, the “Museum Shalom Europa” in Würzburg, and the “Fränkische Schweiz Museum” in Tüchersfeld. Guided tours offered in many towns also invite visitors to explore the history and present state of Jewish culture.

Frankfurt, Hesse: The Jewish Museum Frankfurt is showing “Our Courage – Jews in Europe 1945-48” (until January 18, 2022). The exhibition is the first project of its kind to present the diversity of Jewish experience in the early post-war period from a pan-European, transnational perspective. The program is available for download here.

Hamburg: Movie: “Talmud Torah School Hamburg 2005-2015.” A video project with students connects the past and the future in the former Hamburg Talmud Torah school.

Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate: Dialogue, City Tour, App: “Digital stumbling block memorial routes.” In the Koblenz app, three commemorative routes can be explored which remind of former Jewish citizens, leading to stumbling blocks laid for them throughout the city.

Munich, Bavaria: Exhibition, “The Joys of Yiddish.” A roof frieze by the conceptual artist Mel Bochner at the Haus der Kunst in Munich reflects the Jewish language and the past. His work is shaped by reflections on the relationship between language and image. Born in Pittsburgh in 1940, Bochner grew up in a traditional Jewish family. The word-chain on the roof frieze of the Haus der Kunst in Munich consists of colloquial terms from Yiddish.

Nuremberg, Bavaria: Concerts, “World music and Klezmer in the Villa Leon.” Villa Leon is known for its world music and klezmer concerts. The series “World Music and Klezmer in the Villa Leon” presents the once only instrumental wedding music for Jews from Eastern Europe. The Villa Leon offers the oldest existing series of klezmer music in Germany. In addition, numerous associations or individuals organize their own concerts in respective areas.

Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate: Publication, Audio: “Jewish life in Trier.” Alongside Cologne and Mainz, the city of Trier was the earliest place on German territory where Jews settled. The long history of the Jewish community in Trier is reflected in the collections of the city. The library, for example, has the largest collection of Hebrew and Aramaic binding fragments in all of Germany. In the festival year # 2021JLID – 1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany, a series of tours, exhibitions, readings and lectures will take place in Trier dedicated to the diversity of Jewish life. Topics include civil courage, and the story of the photographer Hilde Hubbuch. The Scientific Library of the City of Trier is dedicating episodes of the podcast series “Veni, vidi, audivi” to the city’s Jewish history.

More information at German National Tourist Office, New York, NY 10018, 212-661-7175, www.germany.travel.



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New-York Historical Society Exhibition Honors Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The New-York Historical Society honors the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)—the trailblazing Supreme Court justice and cultural icon—with a special exhibition on view October 1, 2021 – January 23, 2022, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The New-York Historical Society honors the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)—the trailblazing Supreme Court justice and cultural icon—with a special exhibition this fall. On view October 1, 2021 – January 23, 2022, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is based on the popular Tumblr and bestselling book of the same name. A traveling exhibition organized by the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the show takes an expansive and engaging look at the justice’s life and work, highlighting her ceaseless efforts to protect civil rights and foster equal opportunity for all Americans.

In light of the extraordinary developments on the Supreme Court threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade with the breathtaking, unprecedented lightning-fast addition (even as voting for president was underway in 2020) of Amy Coney Barrett in place of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the threats to women’s reproductive and voting rights sweeping the nation,  this exhibit opening at the New-York Historical Society brings special significance on top of honoring the heralded Justice’s extraordinary life and legacy – a legacy that is being ripped apart with breakneck speed.

It has been all too easy to take for granted the rights won over the course of RBG’s trail-blazing life and fight, and it is important to be reminded of the way things were and could be again.

“It is a great honor that we celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a native New Yorker whose impact on the lives of contemporary Americans has been extraordinary,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “Justice Ginsburg fought hard to achieve justice and equality for all, inspiring us with her courage and tenacity in upholding our fundamental American ideals. A special friend to New-York Historical, in 2018 she presided over a naturalization ceremony in our auditorium. The exhibition is a memorial tribute to her achievements and legacy.”

Notorious RBG features archival photographs and documents, historical artifacts, contemporary art, media stations, and gallery interactives spanning RBG’s varied roles as student, wife to Martin “Marty” Ginsburg, mother, lawyer, judge, women’s rights pioneer, and internet phenomenon. Highlights include a robe and jabot from RBG’s Supreme Court wardrobe; the official portraits of RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor—the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court—on loan from the National Portrait Gallery; and QR-code listening stations where visitors can hear RBG’s delivery of oral arguments, majority opinions, and forceful dissents in landmark Supreme Court cases on their own devices.

The exhibition also displays 3D re-imaginations of key places in RBG’s life—such as her childhood Brooklyn apartment; the kitchen in RBG and Marty’s home, with some of Marty’s favorite recipes and cooking utensils; and the Supreme Court bench and the desk in her chambers.

Personal materials range from home movies of RBG with Marty on their honeymoon and in the early years of their marriage to yearbooks from RBG’s academic life—from her Brooklyn high school to Harvard, Columbia, and Rutgers Universities—to a paper that she wrote as an eighth grader exploring the relationship between the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the recently formed United Nations Charter.

Special to New-York Historical’s presentation are remembrances from RBG’s visit to the Museum in 2018 to officiate a naturalization ceremony of new citizens after she learned about New-York Historical’s Citizenship Project which teaches U.S. history and civics to green card holders, a video featuring a map and photographs of key places in her life as a New Yorker, and an overview of the memorials that cropped up around her hometown in the wake of her passing. As part of New-York Historical’s upcoming public program series, on December 8, Supreme Court expert Linda Greenhouse looks at where the courts stand following Justice Ginsburg’s death. Families can explore the exhibition with a specially created family guide, and themed story times will take place throughout the exhibition’s run.

After debuting at the Skirball Cultural Center in 2018, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has toured the country and was on view at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, through August 29, 2021. After its New York run, the exhibition will travel to the Holocaust Museum Houston in Houston (March 2022) and the Capital Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C. (September 2022).

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been coordinated at New-York Historical by Valerie Paley, senior vice president and Sue Ann Weinberg Director, Patricia D. Klingenstein Library; Laura Mogulescu, curator of women’s history collections; and Anna Danziger Halperin, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History and Public History, Center for Women’s History.

Lead sponsorship for Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at New-York Historical is provided by Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Major sponsorship is provided by Northern Trust. Generous additional support is provided by Helen and Robert Appel and Bernard and Denise Schwartz. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, 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.

The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger and inspired by the American democratic ideals of freedom and equality. The Skirball welcomes people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and calls upon everyone to help build a more just society.

New York City’s oldest museum, the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library was founded in 1804. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library—one of the most distinguished in the nation—fosters research through its outstanding collections, which include more than 10 million items. The Museum presents groundbreaking history and art exhibitions as well as public programs that convey the stories of New York and the nation’s diverse populations to the broadest possible public.

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.

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New-York Historical Society Commemorates the 20th Anniversary of September 11 With Special Programs, Displays

The New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York City, is commemorating the 20th anniversary of September 11 with displays of objects collected in the aftermath of the attacks and special programs taking place throughout the day on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

The New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in New York City, is commemorating the 20th anniversary of September 11 with displays of objects collected in the aftermath of the attacks and special programs taking place throughout the day on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

ON VIEW

Remembering 9/11: On the morning of September 11, 2001, just 15 minutes after hearing the alarm, the FDNY’s elite Rescue Company 2—Lieutenant Peter Martin and firefighters William Lake, Daniel Libretti, John Napolitano, Lincoln Quappe, Kevin O’Rourke, and Edward Rall—arrived at the unfolding World Trade Center tragedy.  All seven were killed when the building collapsed. On special display is a damaged door of Rescue 2’s fire truck that is part of New-York Historical’s collection. 

Objects Tell Stories: 9/11: In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, New-York Historical launched the History Responds collecting program to document monumental events as they are happening. Explore objects from that initiative in our fourth floor permanent display, including a mangled Venetian blind retrieved from St. Paul’s Churchyard and a memorial of candles, notes, and mementos erected on Barclay Street.

PROGRAMS

Captioned videos related to 9/11 and the aftermath as well as images from here is new york, a photographic archive that documented the various aspects of Ground Zero, will be projected on digital displays in the Smith Gallery. In addition, a 25-minute cinematic experience with accompanying music will screen in the Robert H. Smith Auditorium on the hour and half hour, providing a quiet place for visitors to reflect.

From sundown on Friday, September 10, to sunrise on Sunday, September 12, New-York Historical’s facade will be lit up in “Memorial Blue,” as we join other cultural organizations across the city for the annual Tribute in Light.  

As part of New York City’s Key to NYC program, all visitors to New York City museums age 12 and over are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For more details, go to our FAQ page.

New York City’s oldest museum, the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library was founded in 1804. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library—one of the most distinguished in the nation—fosters research through its outstanding collections, which include more than 10 million items. The Museum presents groundbreaking history and art exhibitions as well as public programs that convey the stories of New York and the nation’s diverse populations to the broadest possible public. 

The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org.

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