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The Historical Society of Rockland County to exhibit Highlights of its Permanent Collection together with a special centennial look at Letchworth Village

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The Historical Society of Rockland County is pleased to announce new exhibitions on view at their History Center Museum in New City, NY.    These exhibitions will be on view through October 31, 2012.

Thanks to a grant from the Provident Bank Charitable Foundation, the first of the two exhibitions is a semi-permanent exhibition entitled “Rockland Voices.” Using objects from the Historical Society’s permanent collection, the exhibition highlights historical periods, events and influences that make Rockland County rich with history.  Included in this exhibition is a pristine example of a Lenape Cooking Vessel (c. 1500BC), which helps tell the story of the early peoples of Rockland County.   Other important artifacts include an early version of the Map of the Nyack Turnpike (1817) a document which illustrates the revolutionary changes in the county in the 19th century.  In addition, viewers will see a rare and important 18th Century Weathervane which sat atop the Reformed Church in Tappan and whose location was unknown for over 100 years.  Nancy Druckman, Folk Art Expert and Antiques Roadshow contributor said, “The story of the weathervane is wonderful and the piece is superb—a rare and important survivor of the 18th century with a clear, documented history throughout its life.”

The second exhibition, entitled Letchworth Village Centennial, highlights work of famed photographers Margaret Bourke-White and Arnold Genthe and commemorates the centennial of Letchworth Village.  The exhibit focuses mainly on the first 50 years of Letchworth Village history with archival photographs dating back to 1907. The highlight of the exhibit is the famed photographer Margaret Bourke-White’s Letchworth photographs. Bourke-White’s 1933, and Genthe’s 1941 images are a poignant and fascinating look into the history of Letchworth.

Letchworth Village was established in 1911 as an institution to care for individuals with developmental disabilities. It survived as a largely self-sustaining farm village for more than 50 years. The exhibit is comprised of reprints of Bourke-White and Arnold Genthe’s original photos. The “Village Years” Exhibit represents the first public display of these bodies of work.

In addition to the Bourke-White and Genthe photographs, panels including photos and text of the early years of Letchworth Village and artifacts will be displayed. The institution that was Letchworth Village closed in 1996. Letchworth now serves as the Hudson Valley regional office for the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), supporting individuals with developmental disabilities through community-based services and operations in Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.

Courtney Burke, commissioner of OPWDD said, “This is an exciting opportunity for the individuals we serve, some of whom used to call Letchworth Village home, as well as the larger community, to enjoy an historical perspective of what the developmental disabilities field was like in the 1930s. I applaud Michael Kirchmer, our local director, and his team for helping to make this exhibition a reality.”  The Letchworth exhibition is curated by Kerwin McCarthy.

 Exhibition Hours are Wednesday – Sunday, noon - 4pm; admission is free - donations are greatly appreciated.

 Visit www.rocklandhistory.org for more information.  Call 845-634-9629 for more information.

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