NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY CELEBRATES THE FALL HOLIDAY SEASON WITH AUDUBON’S BIRDS, MAPS OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, AND THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY EXPRESS EXHIBITION
New York, NY (October 10, 2017) – The New-York Historical Society celebrates the holiday season with three festive exhibitions, each bringing to life a joyful aspect of America’s past and showcasing unique treasures from New-York Historical’s superb collections.
Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection
On view October 27, 2017 – February 25, 2018
Each year, the New-York Historical Society transforms itself into a magical wonderland with an installation of hundreds of toy trains, stations, and figures from the renowned Jerni Collection. Immersive scenes and colorful displays transport young and old alike to a bygone era of steam power, gaslight, and gingerbread architecture. Holiday Express begins at New-York Historical’s West 77th Street entrance—where four large-scale multimedia screens project animated trains that appear to roar through the Museum—then extends through large swaths of the spacious first floor. Young train enthusiasts are invited to join in on the fun on Saturday, October 28, when they’ll have the chance to meet a railroad worker portrayed by a Living Historian and learn how trains transformed New York. Historic Train Weekend returns on Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10, featuring train crafts and activities; books about trains will be read at every Sunday Story Time in December; and fun activities throughout the December school vacation will focus on trains. The exhibition is organized by Mike Thornton, associate curator of material culture.
Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence
On view November 3, 2017 – March 11, 2018
This exquisite exhibition uses rarely displayed hand-drawn and engraved maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries to illuminate the tremendous geographic, political, and economic changes that transformed thirteen distinct colonies in North America into a new nation. Beginning on November 3, visitors will experience history through the captivating combination of sumptuous graphic artistry and precise information that is unique to maps. Highlights from New-York Historical’s premier map collection include the original manuscript surveys of Robert Erskine, geographer and surveyor general of the Continental Army, and his successor Simeon De Witt. Also on view will be John Jay’s personal copy of John Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (1755), to which hand-drawn red lines were added during the negotiations of the Treaty of Paris, 1782-83, representing new proposed boundaries. Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence was organized by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library as We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence and is curated at New-York Historical by Nina Nazionale, director of library operations and curator of printed collections. On Saturday, November 18, and Sunday, November 19, families will meet Living Historians portraying Revolutionary War soldiers who fought in battles depicted in the maps on display.
Audubon’s Birds of America Focus Gallery
On view November 10, 2017 – ongoing
Beginning November 10, visitors to New-York Historical will have the unique opportunity to see one of John James Audubon’s spectacular watercolor models for the engravings of The Birds of America (1827-38), exhibited along with its corresponding plate from the double-elephant-folio series. The inaugural exhibition in our intimate new Audubon gallery―just in time for Thanksgiving―will feature the watercolor and engraving of the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) as the gallery’s centerpiece, together with the copper plate on loan from the American Museum of Natural History. This will be the first time since 1827 that the three will be reunited.
Each month thereafter, rotating pairs of watercolors and prints in the order that Robert Havell Jr. engraved them will reveal Audubon’s creative process as well as his contributions to ornithological illustration. Visitors will enjoy learning about the Bird-of-the-Month on view, as well as seeing other works from New-York Historical’s collection—the world’s largest repository of Auduboniana. Bird calls provided courtesy of The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will animate the environment. The ongoing exhibition is curated by Dr. Roberta J.M. Olson, curator of drawings. Additional information is available upon request.
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.
John James Audubon, Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Study for Havell pl. 1, ca. 1825. Watercolor, black ink, graphite, pastel, collage, and gouache with touches of metallic pigment and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 39 7/16 x 26 3/8 in. (100.2 x 67 cm). Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John Jay Audubon, 1863.17.1.
Bernard Ratzer (fl. 1756–1777), Plan of the City of New York in North America, Surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767, New York, 1770. Engraving. New-York Historical Society Library
The Jerni Collection, New-York Historical Society.