On Sunday, June 7th, a new exhibit titled, “Growing Up In Newburgh,” opened at the historic Captain David Crawford House. Seventy visitors, made up of new visitors, donors and members, made this exhibit opening one of the best attended in recent past.
Images from an older Newburgh were suspended from the ceiling along the perimeter of the gallery. Russell Lange, curator of the exhibit, described their uneven positions as how we all recall memories in a way that is nonlinear and organic.
One visitor expressed a different idea about how the exhibit was hung. “It resembles how photographs are put into photo album.” The photographs were arranged in a way that was an efficient use of the space.
This didn’t take away from the experience. Connections were made with people in and out of the images. One Historical Society board member ran into a cousin she didn’t know was attending the opening.
The images became catalysts for conversations. One visitor was reminded of the fluoridation of the water supply in the 1950s when he saw an image provided by Mary McTamaney, the City of Newburgh Historian. Newburgh and Kingston were the two test cities and the children in the photograph were some of the participants in the trials.
In the next room visitors were helping themselves to food prepared by the Society’s volunteers. Judging from the presentation, they spend a lot of time creating the delicious treats that would have enticed any child growing up in Newburgh at any time.
“This is wonderful,” said Roy Spells, Treasurer of the Board, “they are staying.” The event was scheduled to be over by 4:00 p.m. but the reception continued for another hour. Donors to the exhibit stayed through and elaborated beyond the exhibit labels. Other visitors brought their own collection to show off. A woman from Poughkeepsie had images of road making in Newburgh. Her grandfather was very involved in laying bricks into what would become the new roads.
At the start of this project, Russell Lange expressed, “This is an exhibit we can build together as a community to tell our story.” Sixteen members of the community contributed over 120 images capturing Newburgh from the 19th century through the 20th century. Memory by memory, a great exhibit was built, which was confirmed by the success of a memorable opening day.
The “Growing Up in Newburgh” exhibit will be open through December during the regular visitor hours, Sundays between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., or by appointment.