Free Admission to Civics Exhibitions for College Students Through 2020
As election year 2020 begins, the New-York Historical Society is launching a series of special exhibitions that address the cornerstones of citizenship and American democracy. Starting on Presidents’ Day Weekend, visitors to Meet the Presidents will discover how the role of the president has evolved since George Washington with a re-creation of the White House Oval Office and a new gallery devoted to the powers of the presidency. Opening on the eve of Women’s History Month, Women March marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment with an immersive celebration of 200 years of women’s political and social activism. Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic explores the important roles state constitutions have played in the history of our country, while The People Count: The Census in the Making of America documents the critical role played by the U.S. Census in the 19th century—just in time for the 2020 Census.
To encourage first-time voters to learn about our nation’s history and civic as they get ready to vote in the presidential election, New-York Historical Society offers free admission to the exhibitions above to college students with ID through 2020, an initiative supported, in part, by The History Channel. This special program allows college students to access New-York Historical’s roster of upcoming exhibitions that explore the pillars of American democracy as they prepare to vote, most of them for the first time.
“The year 2020 is a momentous time for both the past and future of American politics, as the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, coincides with both a presidential election and a census year,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “This suite of complementary exhibitions showcases the ideas and infrastructure behind our American institutions that establish and protect our fundamental rights to make our voices heard and opinions count. We hope that all visitors will come away with a wider understanding of the important role each citizen plays in our democracy.”
Meet the Presidents, February 14 – ongoing
Opening on Presidents’ Day Weekend, a special permanent gallery on New-York Historical’s fourth floor features a detailed re-creation of the White House Oval Office, where presidents have exercised their powers, duties, and responsibilities since 1909. Visitors to New-York Historical can explore the Oval Office, hear audio recordings of presidential musings, and even sit behind a version of the President’s Resolute Desk for a photo op.
Presidents can furnish the Oval Office to suit their own tastes, and this re-creation evokes the decor of President Ronald Reagan’s second term, widely considered a classic interpretation of Oval Office design. The Resolute Desk, which has been used by almost every president, was presented by Queen Victoria of England in friendship to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. The original was made from timbers from the British Arctic explorer ship H.M.S. Resolute, which was trapped in the ice, recovered by an American whaling ship, and returned to England. Other elements reminiscent of the Reagan-era on view include a famous jar of jelly beans, an inspirational plaque reading “It can be done,” and artist Frederic Remington’s Bronco Buster bronze sculpture of a rugged cowboy fighting to stay on a rearing horse.
The Suzanne Peck and Brian Friedman Meet the Presidents Gallery traces, through artwork and objects, the evolution of the presidency and executive branch and how presidents have interpreted and fulfilled their leadership role. Highlights include the actual Bible used during George Washington’s inauguration in 1789 and a student scrapbook from 1962 chronicling JFK’s leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Meet the Presidents is curated by Marci Reaven, vice president of history exhibits, and Lily Wong, assistant curator.
Women March, February 28 – August 30
For as long as there has been a United States, women have organized to shape the nation’s politics and secure their rights as citizens. Their collective action has taken many forms, from abolitionist petitions to industry-wide garment strikes to massive marches for an Equal Rights Amendment. Women March celebrates the centennial of the 19th Amendment—which granted women the right to vote in 1920—as it explores the efforts of a diverse array of women to expand American democracy in the centuries before and after the suffrage victory. On view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, Women March is curated by Valerie Paley, the director of the Center for Women’s History and New-York Historical senior vice president and chief historian, with the Center for Women’s History curatorial team. The immersive exhibition features imagery and video footage of women’s collective action over time, drawing visitors into a visceral engagement with the struggles that have endured into the 21st century.Continue reading