Centennial Summer Explores U.S. Entry into World War I, Women’s Suffrage,

JFK on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth, and the Culture of New York circa 1917


New York, NY – June 8, 2017 – This summer, the New-York Historical Society invites visitors to experience Centennial Summer, a Museum-wide series of free events presented in conjunction with exhibitions, films, and family programs commemorating 1917, a year of enormous change and upheaval in New York and throughout the world. Visitors will have the chance to deepen their insight into history through film screenings, illustrated talks, and engagement with historical reenactors. On-site exhibitions offer the opportunity to examine American artists’ response to World War I as well as the photographic life of an American icon—John F. Kennedy—born a century ago. A pop-up installation on Governors Island will illustrate the fight for women’s suffrage in New York State. All summer long, 1917 comes to life at New-York Historical, at two must-see destinations. 

“One hundred years ago, New York prepared to welcome women to full American citizenship with the right to vote as the nation readied itself for a devastating war abroad,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “The issues Americans confronted at the time may seem remote to us today. Still, many of the questions raised—above all, equal rights and Americans’ obligations on foreign shores—are still pondered in our time. Certainly the presidency of John F. Kennedy, born in 1917, continues to loom large in the American consciousness. With Centennial Summer, New-York Historical looks back at the life and times of JFK, American involvement in World War I, the suffrage movement, and indeed an entire century of milestones and transformative events, with summer-long programming that is interesting, provocative, and fun for visitors of all interests and ages .”


Exhibitions and Installations

World War I Beyond the Trenches
May 26 – September 3, 2017

World War I Beyond the Trenches examines how American artists across generations, aesthetic sensibilities, and the political spectrum used their work to depict, memorialize, promote, or oppose “the war to end all wars.” Featuring more than 55 artworks from the recent exhibition World War I and American Art organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the exhibition includes John Singer Sargent’s massive masterpiece Gassed, which has never before been shown in New York; Childe Hassam’s The Fourth of July, 1916, a recent gift from Chairman Emeritus Richard Gilder; and powerful works by George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, and Claggett Wilson, among other American artists. The New York presentation also showcases artifacts from New-York Historical’s collection to provide greater historical context―such as World War I propaganda posters, a soldier’s illustrated letters, contemporary sheet music, uniforms and military gear, a battlefield diorama with vintage toy soldiers, and a contemporary artwork by artist Debra Priestly.

American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times
June 23, 2017 – January 7, 2018
No single politician was photographed more than John F. Kennedy—from his first congressional bid as a decorated war hero in 1946 and his fairytale wedding to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953 to his run for the White House in 1960, his subsequent role as commander in chief, and his tragic death in Dallas in 1963. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth, American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times brings together 77 images that capture the dramatic scope of Kennedy’s life culled from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Getty Images, private collections, and the Kennedy family archives. Many of the photographs on display are iconic while others are seldom seen and explore Kennedy’s private life. The exhibition is based on the new book JFK: A Vision for America by Stephen Kennedy Smith and Douglas Brinkley.

Women’s Suffrage Centennial
June 19 – September 3
The 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New York State is remembered through items pertaining to the 19th-century women’s movement from New-York Historical’s collection, on view in this special installation in the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library.

The Battle for the Ballot: The Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York
Every Saturday and Sunday on Governors Island, July 8 – October 1, 2017, 12–6 pm

This brand new teen-curated satellite exhibition on historic Governors Island marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York State. Through reproductions of works of art and historic artifacts, visitors learn how the women’s suffrage movement developed from the monumental Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to the parades, protests, and coalition-building that won women the vote in 1917 and continues to influence political organizing today. Curated and staffed by specially trained Teen Leaders, this satellite display also features family friendly programming offered every weekend at Building 18 in Nolan Park. Open to the public Saturdays and Sundays, July 8 – October 1, 2017, 12–6 pm. Free admission.

Centennial Summer Free Programming
During Pay-as-you-wish Friday evenings and select Tuesdays at New-York Historical, visitors dive deep into 1917 events through engaging screenings, lectures, and  programs.

Film screenings throughout the summer―All Quiet on the Western Front (July 7), Lawrence of Arabia (August 11), The Fighting 69th (August 18), and Yankee Doodle Dandy (August 25)―share wartime experiences from different perspectives. On July 14 performers Peter Dugan and John Brancy recreate the music of composers who lived through the Great War. Also on July 14 a Watson Adventure scavenger hunt takes visitors through the Museum, including World War I Beyond the Trenches, to uncover clues using artifacts on view. The scavenger hunt takes place again on August 11.

On July 21 author Edward Maeder explores how 1910s fashion reflected major changes in American culture, from gender roles to industrialization. On July 28 author Kevin Fitzpatrick looks at New York’s role in WWI and the memorials created in the years that followed through an illustrated talk. On August 4 Professor Jeffrey Sammons explores the struggles of New York’s black citizens during the World War I era through the stories of three of the most famous members of the Harlem Hellfighters.

Select Tuesday programs mark other important milestones of 1917. John F. Kennedy―born that year on May 29―and his heroic actions in WWII are depicted in a special screening of the film PT 109, introduced by Stephen Kennedy Smith on July 18. The captivating documentary One Woman, One Vote, which charts the 70-year fight for women’s suffrage, is screened on August 15.

For additional information about these free programs, visit

Family Programs
Young visitors experience 1917 brought to life on Centennial Saturdays with the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Families can stop by every Saturday to meet different personalities from the home front and the battlefield. See soldiers’ uniforms and tools, meet historical figures, listen to patriotic music, and march with suffragists! Pick up a free family guide to explore World War I Beyond the Trenches with sketching activities. Visit our Family Programs calendar for a complete schedule of each week’s events. Centennial Saturday programs will not occur over Independence Day weekend.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.


New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West (at 77th Street)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


Tuesday – Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm
Friday: 10 am – 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm

MUSEUM ADMISSION (as of July 1, 2017)

Adults: $21
Teachers and Seniors: $16
Students: $13
Children (5–13): $6
Children (4 and under): Free
*Pay-as-you-wish Fridays from 6 pm – 8 pm.

Press Contacts
Ines Aslan, New-York Historical Society                           Marybeth Ihle, New-York Historical Society      
212.485.9264 /                       212.873.3400 x326 /


Photo credits: James Montgomery Flagg, I Want You For U.S. Army, 1917 [detail]. New-York Historical Society.

Composite: Childe Hassam, The Fourth of July, 1916, New-York Historical Society; Kennedy draws an unintended audience while preparing a speech, Baltimore, Maryland, September, 1960. Paul Schutzer (Courtesy The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images); Women in car with New York State Woman, undated, New-York Historical Society.

Thursday, June 8, 2017
Creative: Tronvig Group