The halls of the Adirondack History Museum are filled with construction as it restores a popular favorite: The Rosenberg Gallery.
The Museum celebrates the place of art in Adirondack life with its 2016 Season, “Art: Then & Now.” After almost 10 years without a gallery, staff and volunteers spent the off-season preparing to open the Rosenberg Gallery, named in honor of local legend James N. Rosenberg. The previous space for the gallery was removed as part of the museum’s renovations to make the building ADA accessible.
“Offering an art gallery adds another perspective to Essex County,” said Museum Director Aurora McCaffrey. “Art is a form of communication, and it’s another way to learn about those who are inspired by living here. We’re really excited about having dedicated space for artists.”
The project was the brain child of museum board member Steve Shepstone. Together with his wife, Melissa, and fellow board member Sharp Swan, he performed much of the gallery’s design and labor. The museum plans to have at least two shows a year, highlighting a wide variety of types of art including quilting, painting, and ceramics.
Creating the room has involved much custom, painstaking hand crafting, as befits a room dedicated to the arts. The design was inspired by the book “Early American Rooms,” with details from the Phyfe Room constructed in 1806 in the Moses Rogers House in New York City. The Shepstones spent several weeks creating hand-crafted trim that suits the 12-foot ceiling. The gallery takes the place of the second floor doll room.
“The board had been talking about cleaning out the doll room for quite a while. Just about everyone described it as creepy,” Shepstone admitted. “We had also been discussing that what we’re about is the history, art, and culture of Essex County. Some people are interested in history or culture, and some are interested in art. We have been neglecting the art people, and bringing back the Rosenberg Gallery should get them to visit the museum again.”
The first show will highlight the works of fiber artist Cynthia Schira of Westport and Upper Jay potter Robert Segall. The gallery grand opening reception will be Saturday, June 4 from 6-8 p.m. The event is open to the public, but RSVPs are requested. A second show, “Hidden Treasures: Essex County’s Artists” will open on Aug. 5.
Museum Grand Opening: 5th Annual Antique & Classic Car Show
The museum’s grand opening celebration will take place a week later, on Saturday, June 11 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with the 5th Annual Antique & Classic Car Show. Collectors and enthusiasts from far and wide will be on hand displaying their beautifully restored and maintained vehicles including muscle cars, vintage roadsters, hot rods and more. DaCy Meadows will sell farm fresh barbecue, and entrance to the museum will be free.
Visitors can enjoy exploring the new art gallery, as well as expanded content of the seasonal exhibit “Essex County’s Immigrants: Faces and Places.” The museum also marks the centennial of the 1916 building with a special exhibit “The School on Schoolhouse Hill.”
2016 Lecture Series
The 2016 Lecture series has moved to Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. Guests are invited to stop by at 6 p.m. for a reception featuring a light refreshments, wine and coffee. The lecture schedule includes:
- July 7: ‘Why Look at Art,’ presented by William C. Lipke, retired professor of art history, University of Vermont;
- July 14: ‘A Well-Worn Trail: The History of Iroquoian and Algonquian Peoples in the Adirondacks,’ presented by Melissa Otis, Carleton University, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Ottawa;
- July 21: ‘Adirondack Towns: Cultural Constructions, Political Agendas and Social Realities.’ presented by Philip C. Terrie, environmental historian of the Adirondacks and professor emeritus at Bowling Green University, Ohio;
- July 28: ‘The 1916 Elizabethtown School Fire,’ presented by Margaret Bartley, author and local historian;
- Aug. 11: ‘A History of Quilt Making in the Adirondacks,’ presented by Hallie Bond, author and local historian; and
- Aug. 18: ‘Essex County’s Architecture: From Pioneer Homes to the Cold War,’ presented by Stephen Engelhart, Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage.
The Adirondack History Museum seeks to serve as Essex County’s center for the stories that reveal the roots and values of its people. The museum is opened daily from May 28 to Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for students.