When Henry Hudson’s vessel, the Half Moon, sailed into New York Harbor in 1609, his voyage marked the unfolding of a New World.
Four hundred years later, there’s no shortage of lectures, exhibits, and celebrations marking Hudson’s fateful voyage. Luckily, one of the most expansive and interesting exhibits will be on display just a short ride from Riverdale.
The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers will mark the anniversary of Hudson’s voyage to the New World with the exhibition “Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture,” from Saturday, June 13 to Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010. The exhibition will explore the Dutch legacy of a liberal, capitalist and multicultural environment that permeated the colony of New Netherland and still characterizes New York City today.
The exhibition has been in the works for four years, organizers said.
“All these things that make New York exceptional really come form the Dutch,” said Bartholomew F. Bland, curator of exhibitions for the Hudson River Museum and co-curator of the upcoming Hudson exhibit. “We’re trying to bring back interest in Dutch history and the roots of the area.”
Mr. Bland said the museum will bring the story of Dutch influence to life through paintings, decorative arts, maps and ephemera drawn from the museum’s collections and from other museums, including the Museum of the City of New York, the National Gallery of Art, the New York Historical Society, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and Yale University Art Gallery.
The museum will illustrate New York’s Dutch heritage at five key times: when the Half Moon entered New York Harbor in 1609; the period when Dutch culture flourished under English rule, beginning in 1709; the publication of Washington Irving’s stories that romanticized New York’s Dutch heritage, beginning in 1809; the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration that sought to create a common Dutch past for the nation; and now 2009, a significant Hudsonian anniversary.
“We tried to chart the ebbing and flowing of Dutch influence, and to examine how people have viewed the Dutch over time,” Mr. Bland said.
The exhibition is being coupled with the publication of the museum’s Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture, edited by Roger Panetta with a foreword by Russell Shorto.
The book is distributed by Fordham Press.
By Kevin Deutsch