New-York Historical Society To Present Unprecedented Exhibition On The History Of The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War: 1945–1975, On View October 4, 2017 – April 22, 2018

One of the major turning points of the 20th century, the Vietnam War will be the subject of an unprecedented exhibition presented by the New-York Historical Society from October 4, 2017April 22, 2018. Bringing the hotly contested history of this struggle into the realm of public display as never before, the exhibition will offer a chronological and thematic narrative of the conflict from 1945 through 1975 as told through more than 300 artifacts, photographs, artworks, documents, and interactive digital media.

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American infantrymen crowd into a mud-filled bomb crater and look up at tall jungle trees seeking out Viet Cong snipers firing at them during a battle in Phuoc Vinh, north-northeast of Saigon in Vietnam’s War Zone D, June 15, 1967. Henri Huet / Associated Press

Objects on display will range from a Jeep used at Tan Son Nhut Air Base to a copy of the Pentagon Papers; from posters and bumper stickers both opposing and supporting the U.S. war effort to personal items left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC; from indelible news photographs (such as Eddie Adams’ Execution) to specially commissioned murals by contemporary artist Matt Huynh. While no gallery exhibition can provide a comprehensive, global perspective on this vast subject, the materials brought together in The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 will comprise a sweeping and immersive narrative, exploring, from a primarily American viewpoint, how this pivotal struggle was experienced both on the war front and on the home front. The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 was curated by Marci Reaven, New-York Historical Society vice president for history exhibitions.

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Interior of the USNS General Nelson M. Walker. Courtesy of Art and Lee Beltrone, Vietnam Graffiti Project, Keswick, VA. American servicemen initially traveled to Vietnam aboard WWII-era troop ships like the General Nelson M. Walker. Nearly 5,000 Marines and G.I.s crowded the Walker on each three-week voyage from Oakland, California to Danang or Qui Nhon, South Vietnam.

The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 signals a new ambition for the New-York Historical Society, which is to include in our exhibition program histories that are not only difficult but also as yet unresolved,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president, and CEO of New-York Historical. “This monumental exhibit challenges received wisdom about the origins and consequences of the War, relying on sources only recently made available to scholars as well as first person accounts of those who fought. As the exhibition shows, the War continues to provoke debate and discussion today and to dominate much of our thinking about military conduct and policy. The Vietnam War was the longest armed conflict of the 20th century, and today—more than 40 years after it ended―it continues to influence both public policy and personal convictions. We are grateful for the opportunity to offer the public a chance to better understand events and protagonists of the 20th century that reverberate well into the 21st.

Exhibition Overview

The Vietnam War: 1945–1975 sets the scene for the coming conflict through a display in an introductory gallery, where texts and materials about the onset of the Cold War document how the U.S. and its allies began to maneuver against the Communist bloc in regional confrontations after World War II while avoiding head-on engagement between the nuclear powers. Objects on view include a series of oil paintings by Chesley Bonestell imagining the destruction of New York City by Soviet atomic bombs and a newsreel from 1950 making the case for U.S. military action in Korea.

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Men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on a search and destroy patrol after receiving supplies, 1966. National Archives at College Park, MD. The primary mission of U.S. forces was to destroy the enemy and their logistical network. American ground troops operated throughout South Vietnam, supported by naval and air campaigns. They defended the DMZ, pursued units in the hills along the Central Coast, combed through Viet Cong base areas in the Iron Triangle, and ranged across the upper Mekong Delta as part of an Army-Navy mobile riverine force.

The exhibition then takes up the story of Vietnam by recalling the successful struggle of the Communist-nationalist coalition Viet Minh to force France to abandon its claim to Vietnam, then part of the French colony known as Indochina. Archival footage from a CBS News broadcast illustrates the “domino theory” put forward by the Eisenhower administration in support of its desire to halt the spread of Communism in Asia, a mindset which contributed to the partitioning of Vietnam into North and South. Among the objects representing the experiences of the North Vietnamese and southern insurgents are a 1962 painting by the Hanoi-based artist Tran Huu Chat and a bicycle of the sort used by North Vietnamese forces for transport of arms along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Also on view is a scale model of the USS Maddox, one of the destroyers involved in the Gulf of Tonkin encounter with North Vietnamese forces in August 1964, which gave the Johnson Administration grounds for seeking Congressional authorization to increase U.S. military operations without a declaration of war.

On July 28, 1965, President Johnson spoke to the nation on TV to explain that it was up to America to protect South Vietnam and fight communism in Asia and that to be driven from the field would imperil U.S. power, security, and credibility. He also announced a dramatic escalation in the military draft.

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Draft card. Courtesy of Joseph Corrigan, C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Dak To, Vietnam 1967–68. President Johnson’s order to send more troops to Vietnam affected all men between the ages of 18 and 26. Registration for military service was compulsory. The Selective Service called up only the men needed while excusing the rest through deferments. Twenty-seven million American men were of draft age during the war. Forty percent served in the military, and about 2.5 million went to Vietnam.

Objects on view, like an original draft card, and displays will address various responses to the draft, which affected all men between the ages of 18 and 26. Archival footage of Johnson’s address announcing the doubling of the draft will be shown. Artifacts, such as graffiti created by soldiers on their canvas berths, from the troopship General Walker, which ferried draftees during the three-week voyage to Vietnam, will demonstrate the personal side of soldiers as they headed toward war.

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Detail. Tran Huu Chat, Spring in Tay Nguyen, 1962 and 2016. Lacquer engraving. New-York Historical Society. Hanoi art student Tran Huu Chat received high marks in 1962 for his lacquer engraving that depicted Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh organizing among the people to depose the French colonialists. Fellow Vietnamese would have understood that the artist was using the heroism of the Viet Minh to symbolically refer to the National Liberation Front, organized in 1960 to oppose the Diem regime and its U.S. backers. The original artwork hangs in Hanoi’s Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts. The 84-year-old Tran Huu Chat made an exact reproduction for this exhibition.

With this escalation of U.S. military involvement, the exhibition moves into a section that examines the conduct of the war and its repercussions both in the field and among American civilians. Two large, illustrated murals by noted artist and illustrator Matt Huynh, titled War Front and Home Front, depict key aspects of the years 1966 and 1967. War Front depicts the four combat zones in South Vietnam to show differing types of combat and highlight significant moments and battlegrounds. Home Front illustrates activity in the United States, including the Spring Mobilization, the largest antiwar demonstration to that date in American history, in which hundreds of thousands marched through midtown Manhattan on April 15, 1967.

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71st Evacuation Hospital patch belonging to Barbara Chiminello (left) and 57th Medical Detachment patch belonging to Thomas Chiminello (right). Courtesy of Barbara, Philip, and Eugene Chiminello. Siblings Thomas and Barbara Chiminello served alongside one another in Vietnam—Tommy as a Medevac helicopter pilot and Barbara as a nurse. These are their unit patches. In October 1967, Barbara received devastating news. Tommy and his crew had all been killed while responding to an urgent evacuation request.

The mural also shows a pro-war demonstration from May 1967 and other scenes of the war’s impact on national life. Interactive kiosks placed next to both murals bring them to life, allowing visitors to explore the events depicted through videos and photographs. Notable objects displayed in this section include a poster of a woman fighter in support of the southern insurgents, recreated by Tran Thi Van; helmets worn by U.S. and South Vietnamese government soldiers, dog tags, military patches, and field implements; letters from soldiers to their loved ones back home; a condolence letter on the death of a son; period magazines; posters and buttons both demanding an end to the war and urging support for the military effort; and a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 1967 speech against the war. Continue reading

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The British Library Exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, to open at the New-York Historical Society in October 2018

The British Library Is Bringing A Major Exhibition To The U.S. For The First Time

Harry Potter: A History Of Magic Will Be On View At The British Library In London, October 20, 2017 – February 28, 2018

The British Library and the New-York Historical Society are delighted to announce that Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open at the New-York Historical Society in October 2018, following its run at the British Library in London from October 20, 2017 – February 28, 2018.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic

The British Library Exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, to open at the New-York Historical Society in October 2018

The exhibition’s New York opening marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S. by Scholastic, following the 20th-anniversary celebrations of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K. in 2017.

Ahead of the U.K. opening in London, Harry Potter: A History of Magic has already sold over 25,000 tickets—the highest amount of advance tickets ever sold for a British Library exhibition. Tickets are available to buy from the British Library website.

The first book in the series of Harry Potter novels, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was originally published by Bloomsbury in 1997. Since then Bloomsbury has published all seven of the Harry Potter novels in children’s and adult editions, three charity books―Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and the ILLUSTRATED EDITION of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bloomsbury is also the publishers for the physical audiobooks of the entire series.

The exhibition unveils rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Exploring the subjects studied at Hogwarts, the exhibition includes original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter illustrator Jim Kay, going on display for the first time.

As it travels from London to New York, the exhibition will evolve to include U.S.-specific artifacts from New-York Historical’s collection and items from U.S. Harry Potter publisher Scholastic’s collection.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research, and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilization and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website―www.bl.UK ―every year where they can view up to 4 million digitized collection items and over 40 million pages. (See more at: www.bl.uk.) Continue reading

Celebrate The Holiday Season At The New-York Historical Society With the Annual Classic Toys And Trains Extravaganza

Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection On View Through February 26, 2017

Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection returns to the New-York Historical Society this holiday season to delight and inspire children of all ages. On view now through February 26, 2017, this vibrant and sweeping display of spectacular antique toy trains, toys, and scenic elements celebrates the beauty and allure of toys from a bygone era. Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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A 360‐degree mountainous landscape showcases toy trains, miniature figures, and model buildings evoking the 1890s. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society

Holiday Express: Trains and Toys from the Jerni Collection is curated by Mike Thornton, associate curator of material culture at the New-York Historical Society. The display was designed by Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP), an integrated architecture and exhibit design firm that also designed New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Other consultants for Holiday Express include T W TrainWorx, a nationally recognized model train specialist and designer of custom toy train layouts; and exhibition media producers Batwin + Robin, renowned “media storytellers” with more than 20 years of experience in the theater, museums, and other venues.

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A crawl‐through space leading to a popup semisphere allows children to get an up‐close‐and‐personal view of the display, suggesting an early 20th century toy department. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society

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R. Bliss Co. U.S. Cruiser, 1906. The Jerni Collection, New‐York Historical Society

Holiday Express unfolds over a broad swath of New-York Historical’s first floor, featuring 300 pieces from the Jerni Collection that transform the space into a magical wonderland. Theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape,” and other visual effects immerse visitors in an enchanting holiday experience. The exhibition begins at the West 77th Street entrance, where trains appear to roar through the Museum with the help of four large-scale multimedia screens. A 360-degree mountainous landscape, on view in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court, showcases toy trains, miniature figures, and model buildings evoking the 1890s. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society Exhibition To Tell The Remarkable Story Of Early Jewish Participation In The Cultural, Social, And Political Development Of The New World

Exhibit Includes Recently Recovered Manuscripts Relating to Mexican Inquisition Victim Luis de Carvajal to be on Public Display for the First Time

The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World, On View October 28, 2016 – February 26, 2017

This fall, a path-breaking exhibition at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024. Phone (212) 873-3400. TTY (212) 873-7489) will examine the story of newcomers to the New World, both Jewish and of Jewish ancestry, who made their way to colonial America and engaged fully in the cultural, social, and political life of the young nation. On view now through to February 26, 2017, The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World will feature more than 170 objects, including rare early portraits, drawings, maps, books, documents, and ritual objects primarily drawn from the Princeton University Jewish American Collection, gift of Mr. Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953; and Mr. Leonard L. Milberg’s personal collection.

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Luis de Carvajal the Younger (ca. 1567-1596) Memorias autobiographical manuscripts , ca. 1595, with devotional manuscripts Manuscript leaves, 3 volumes, each stitched into plain wrappers. Courtesy of the Government of Mexico.

In addition to objects from the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition will showcase loans from museums nationwide and abroad. Highlights include two landscape paintings by Sephardic Jew Camille Pissarro, on loan from the National Gallery of Art, depicting St. Thomas—the Caribbean island where the artist was born in 1830—and an important group of six portraits depicting members of the Levy-Franks family, prominent figures in New York City’s 18th-century Jewish community, from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Establishing vibrant communities in American port cities including New York, Philadelphia, Newport, Savannah, and Charleston, early Jewish settlers adopted American ideals while remaining a distinctive and socially cohesive group, giving birth to a new Jewish American tradition with the stamp of both cultures. This groundbreaking exhibition reveals the extraordinary contributions of 18th- and 19th-century Jewish artists, writers, activists, and others to the development of American culture and politics.

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Suriname map, 1718. Nieuwe Kaart van Suriname vertonende de stromen en land-streken van Suriname, Comowini, Cottica, en Marawini, Amsterdam, 1718. Collection of Leonard L. Milberg.

The First Jewish Americans explores the paths taken by Jews who for centuries fled persecution in Europe—beginning with the little-known but remarkable stories of their experience in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil during the colonial period, and following their journey toward finding freedom and tolerance in the early American Republic,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “We are grateful for the extraordinary collections of Leonard L. Milberg and the partnership of the Princeton University Library, which will allow us to convey to the New York public the fundamental importance of the Jewish people to early American history. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Milberg for his tenacity and hard work in securing the loan of recently recovered Jewish writings from Spanish Colonial Mexico, the earliest extant Jewish manuscripts from that time period.

The First Jewish Americans will showcase, for the first time on public display, the manuscripts relating to Mexican Inquisition victim Luis de Carvajal—considered the earliest extant Jewish books in the New World. These exceptional documents and other materials in the exhibition underscore the long reach of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, which followed settlers of Jewish ancestry into the New World, forcing confessions and burning suspected “Judaizers” at the stake in horrific autos-de-fé.

(The New-York Historical Society is grateful to the Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and the Consulate General of Mexico in New York, for the loan of Luis de Carvajal‘s manuscripts.)

Exhibition Highlights

The First Jewish Americans will explore the origins of the Jewish diaspora and paths to the New World, Jewish life in American port cities, and the birth of American Judaism in the 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as profile prominent Jewish Americans who made an impact on early American life.

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Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Locket with photo. The Historic New Orleans Collection.

European Jews fleeing persecution and seeking ports of refuge were propelled westward to the distant shores of New World colonies, which offered hope for a new beginning until the infamous Holy Inquisition followed them across the ocean. The exhibition powerfully illustrates this experience through the 1595 autobiography of Luis de Carvajal, a “converso” Jew in Mexico and the nephew of a prominent governor, who was tried by the Inquisition and denounced more than 120 other secretly practicing Jews before he was burned at the stake in 1596.

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Isaac N. Cardozo (1792–1855), A Discourse, Delivered in Charleston, (S.C.) on the 21st of Nov. 1827, before the Reformed Society of Israelites, for Promoting True Principles of Judaism according to Its Purity and Spirit, on Their Third Anniversary. Charleston, 1827. Princeton University Library. Gift of Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953, in honor of his grandchildren: Beverly Allison Milberg, Ava Miriam Milberg, Emmett Nathaniel Milberg, William Nathan Milberg, Charles Bennett Milberg, Samantha Eve Shapiro, and Nathan Busky Shapiro.

The recently rediscovered documents, which had gone missing from the National Archives of Mexico more than 75 years ago, will be on view at New-York Historical by special arrangement with the Mexican government before returning to Mexico. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society To Explore The Battle Of Brooklyn, A Pivotal Moment In The American Revolution

This fall, to commemorate the 240th Anniversary of the largest single battle of the American Revolution, the New-York Historical Society will present The Battle of Brooklyn, on view from September 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017. A story of American defeat in the first major armed campaign after the Declaration of Independence, the Battle of Brooklyn took place in August 1776, but does not occupy the same place in history as the more victorious engagements at Bunker Hill or Yorktown. Also known as the Battle of Long Island, the event is seen by some as the biggest missed opportunity for Britain to end the American rebellion and marks a pivotal moment when the fight for American independence teetered on the edge of failure.

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John Trumbull (1756–1843) George Washington (1732–1799), 1780 Metropolitan Museum of Art Bequest of Charles Allen Munn, 1924

The Battle of Brooklyn was a major part of American history that happened right here in our backyards but is often overlooked in stories of the founding of our nation,” said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “On the surface it could be seen as a moment of defeat, but this exhibition will show the resilience and strength of New Yorkers, who fought bravely and endured occupation of their city before finally becoming independent and free citizens.”

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Bernard Ratzer (active 1756–1776), engraved by Thomas Kitchin (1718–1784), Plan of the City of New York, 1770 New-York Historical Society Library

The Battle of Brooklyn will capture the volatile time when the Continental Congress and the American colonists turned ideas into action and broke their ties with Britain. The year 1776 opened with the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, sparking the call for separation across the colonies; it closed with the publication of his American Crisis, marking the sense of despair among supporters of independence. With more than 100 objects documenting major political and military figures, the dynamic debates over independence, and the artifacts of combat and British occupation, the exhibition will convey the atmosphere of New York City as it faced invasion by a British force that exceeded its own population.

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Thomas Paine (1737–1809) Common Sense, 1776 New-York Historical Society Library

Focusing on the year 1776, The Battle of Brooklyn will be organized chronologically to explore the political and ideological context leading up to the battle, the timeline of the battle itself, and the consequences of its immediate aftermath. The exhibition will open with large portraits of iconic figures George Washington and King George III, followed by profiles of American and British politicians and thinkers on both sides of the conflict. A copy of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, published in early 1776, which drew many to the revolutionary cause, will illustrate the arguments made for separation.

The first section of the exhibition will also examine why the British targeted New York, the second largest colonial city at the time. Maps by John Montresor and Bernard Ratzer will show the city’s geographical advantages, including a deep water port that provided the British navy access to the city and lush farms on Staten Island and Long Island that could keep an army fed. As John Adams explains in his January 1776 letter to George Washington that will be on view, “New York is…a kind of key” that would allow the British to divide the colonies by taking control of the Hudson River.

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United States Continental Congress In Congress, July 4, 1776. A declaration by the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled. [Declaration of Independence] New York: Printed by Hugh Gaine New-York Historical Society Library

Tensions rose as American forces poured into the city in spring 1776. Documents on view relating to this time will include Washington’s broadside warning residents to evacuate, Solomon Nash’s manuscript diary noting a plot to kill General Washington, and Hugh Gaine’s printing of the Declaration of Independence, all illustrating the mood and consciousness of what was at stake. While some New Yorkers cheered independence, others predicted years of turmoil, shown through drawings, broadsides, almanacs, and orderly books that provide a fuller picture of how the city was affected.

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United States Continental Congress In Congress, July 4, 1776. A declaration by the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled. [Declaration of Independence] New York: Printed by Hugh Gaine New-York Historical Society Library

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Camp Bed, 1777–1785. Gift of Ernest Livingston McCrackan. New-York Historical Society

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Ridgeway after Alonzo Chappel Lord Stirling at the Battle of Long Island, c.1858 New-York Historical Society Library

The second section of the exhibition will center on the week of the battle itself. An animated media piece on a projection table will dynamically show the order of events, depicting troop movements, the passage of time, and the skillful British maneuver that upended the American defenses and could have finished them for good. A custom-built model of the Vechte farmhouse (today’s Old Stone House in Gowanus) hidden within the projection table will illustrate one of the battle’s most dramatic moments: the outnumbered Maryland regiment fighting on to allow their fellow soldiers time to retreat across Gowanus Creek.

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Hunting shirt, ca. 1776. Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

An American encampment scene filled with weapons, uniforms, and accessories will feature George Washington’s camp cot, a bass drum, and a rare hunting shirt worn by the Pennsylvania riflemen, a style which later became a de facto uniform. A loyalist coat, a British Grenadier’s cap, and a Hessian helmet provide examples of what residents of Staten Island might have seen as the island’s population of approximately 2,000 exploded with the arrival of 34,000 British soldiers and sailors. Maps will also be on view, as topography influenced military strategy tremendously during the battle. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society Presents Vintage Presidential Campaign Memorabilia From The 1960s & Early 1970s

Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972: Selections from the Museum of Democracy On View Through November 27, 2016

Coinciding with the 2016 presidential election, the New-York Historical Society will explore campaign memorabilia and the ephemera of American politics through the shifting styles, rhetoric, and aesthetics of four presidential elections and other political contests in the 1960s and early 1970s. On view August 26 – November 27, 2016, Campaigning for the Presidency, 1960-1972: Selections from the Museum of Democracy will showcase more than 120 objects from the planned Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection, considered one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collections of political campaign memorabilia.

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Sven Walnum Photograph Collection JFK Campaigning, 1960 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

With this year’s presidential election reaching a crescendo, we aim to remind New Yorkers what elections looked like before 24/7 news coverage and social media,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “As [the late] New York Mayor Ed Koch said, campaign memorabilia is ‘the sparkle and glitter of which our campaigns are made’ and that certainly comes through in this exhibition, which illustrates the integral role that ephemera had in American politics. We are pleased to share the Wright Family Collection with our visitors and give a taste of what’s to come in the planned Museum of Democracy.”

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Kennedy-Johnson Campaign Vest and Hat, 1960 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection

Curated by New-York Historical Society Research Associate Cristian Panaite, the exhibition will feature objects from the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon (1960); Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater (1964); the three-way contest between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace (1968); and Richard Nixon vs. George McGovern (1972), tracing changes in tone and style of the 1960s and early 1970s and reflecting contemporary developments in campaign strategy.

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Spiro Agnew / Nixon VIP Theater Wind-Up Dancing Doll, ca 1970 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection

Highlights will include bold posters, paper dresses, dolls and board games, t-shirts, paper and vinyl stickers, lapel pins, buttons, and other ephemera that range in tone from idealistic, to humorous, to scathingly critical. The exhibition will also feature some iconic television commercials from this era when the medium transformed politics, such as the controversial “Peace Little Girl (Daisy)” from 1964, which Johnson’s campaign created to demonstrate the danger of putting Goldwater in charge of the nuclear button. Memorabilia created for other prominent primary candidates of this era, such as Robert F. Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller, will also be on view.

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LBJ Stetson-Style Plastic Cowboy Hat, ca. 1964 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection

Focusing on four major presidential campaigns, the exhibition will begin with the 1960 John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon contest, when Kennedy famously beat a sweaty and nervous-looking Nixon in the first live televised debate. Among the objects on view from this campaign will be a vest and hat featuring the slogan “Kennedy is the Remedy,” worn by an usher at the Democratic convention, and an elephant-shaped bobble-head doll wearing a “Nixon for President” sash.

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Barry Goldwater Aftershave, 1964 The Museum of Democracy/Wright Family Collection

The 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater campaign proved to be a gold mine for memorabilia. Goldwater’s campaign team seized on “gold” as a theme of many campaign products, producing quirky items such as Gold Water aftershave, “An After Shave for Americans.” Not only was it a play on the candidate’s name, but connecting Goldwater to cleanliness might have been a conservative reaction to “dirty hippies.” Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign made an effort to promote his all-American, Western rancher image through a hay bale that reads “Johnson Grass Hay From One Good Democrat to Another. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society To Transform Its Fourth Floor With Reinvisioned Collection Highlights Display And Unprecedented New Women’s History Center

Renowned Collection of Tiffany Lamps to be Displayed in a Dazzling Glass Gallery Center for the Study of Women’s History is First of Its Kind for a U.S. Museum Permanent Collection Displays to Reimagine Historical Artifacts in Bold New Ways

The New-York Historical Society today shared plans for the transformation of the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the fourth floor of its home on Central Park West, which will be redesigned to feature highlights from its outstanding collection as never before, as well as a groundbreaking new center for scholarship focused on women’s history. The centerpiece of the re-imagined fourth floor will be New-York Historical’s preeminent collection of Tiffany lamps, displayed in a sparkling glass gallery designed by architect Eva Jiřičná. The new Center for the Study of Women’s History will be a permanent space devoted to women’s history exhibitions and scholarship—the first of its kind in a U.S. museum. A re-imagined display of the permanent collection will increase public access and engagement with New-York Historical’s holdings and bring new artifacts to light. Renovation of the fourth floor has begun and the space is scheduled to open to the public in early 2017.

The new fourth floor was inspired in part by New-York Historical’s discovery of the secret history of Clara Driscoll and the ‘Tiffany Girls,’ who designed and created many iconic Tiffany lampshades, and whose overlooked contributions offer a window into the history of American women, labor and a changing New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, stories that New-York Historical is uniquely capable of sharing with the world and that will come together in this exciting new space,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.

The renovated, refurbished, and re-imagined fourth floor will be a transformative next chapter in the extraordinary and ever-expanding story of the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum,” said Pam B. Schafler, Chairman of the Board of the New-York Historical Society.

Tiffany Gallery
The Tiffany Gallery will be a sparkling glass showcase for the Museum’s renowned collection of lamps by Tiffany Studios, which is among the world’s best in range and quality. Designed by architect Eva Jiřičná in her first major New York project, the 3,000-square-foot, two-story space will feature a dramatic glass staircase. One hundred Tiffany lamps will be on display in the darkened gallery, dramatically lit to allow visitors to experience the glowing lamps as they were intended.

Curated by Margaret K. Hofer, Vice President and Museum Director of the New-York Historical Society, highlights on view will include a Wisteria lamp (ca. 1901), made with nearly 2,000 pieces of glass to portray the cascading blooms; a Magnolia shade (ca. 1910–13), with “drapery” glass that was folded while still molten to capture the fleshy texture of the blossoms; a Cobweb shade on a Narcissus mosaic base (ca. 1902), designed during a period of transition from fuel to electricity and depicting spider webs among the branches of an apple blossom tree; and a Dragonfly shade (ca. 1900–06), one of Tiffany Studios’ most popular designs, featuring dragonflies with brass filigree wings and gleaming glass, jewel eyes.

Special attention will be given to the recently discovered role of Clara Driscoll and her Women’s Glasscutting Department, the actual designers and creators of many popular Tiffany shades, including the Wisteria and Dragonfly. Honoring Driscoll and her team of “Tiffany Girls,” who remained hidden in Louis Tiffany’s shadow until the discovery of Driscoll’s correspondence in 2005, the exhibition will provide a powerful connection to the Center for the Study of Women’s History, also on the fourth floor. The installation will also explore the history of Tiffany Studios, their marketing of luxury goods, the various styles of lighting produced by the firm, and the significant impact of the advent of electricity on the lives of Americans at the turn of the century.

The mezzanine level of the Tiffany Gallery will delve deeper into the making of Tiffany lampshades, from preliminary sketches and design cartoons, to the selection and cutting of glass. The “Design-a-Lamp” interactive will allow visitors to select glass for a Dragonfly shade and see the immediate results on a three-dimensional illuminated model. Visitors will also learn about trademark details that distinguish original Tiffany creations from contemporary Tiffany-style lamps.

Center for the Study of Women’s History
The Center for the Study of Women’s History will be the first of its kind in a U.S. museum to focus on women’s history on a permanent basis, presenting special exhibitions, public and scholarly programs, and an immersive multimedia film. Organized and curated by Valerie Paley, Vice President and Chief Historian of the New-York Historical Society, the Center will feature two to three exhibitions annually in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, alternating between historical and art-focused installations. Planned exhibitions include an inaugural show on 18th century American women’s role in helping to create the first modern democracy, and an exhibition that focuses on women and the 19th century Progressive movement. A digital interactive wall, Women’s Voices, will explore and contemplate women’s words and actions, and invite visitors to participate in the dialogue by sharing their own stories. Continue reading