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NY Historical Society Announces REVOLUTION! THE ATLANTIC WORLD REBORN

NY Historical Society Announces REVOLUTION! THE ATLANTIC WORLD REBORN

The New-York Historical Society will re-open its landmark building to the public at 11 am on Veterans' Day, Friday, November 11, 2011. A three-year renovation of the Central Park West building has sensitively but thoroughly transformed the face of the institution-the first museum established in New York-to welcome visitors of all ages to a great cultural destination, and to immerse them, from the moment they enter the building, in New-York Historical's collection of extraordinary objects and sweeping ideas.

TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS:

REVOLUTION! THE ATLANTIC WORLD REBORN

November 11, 2011 - April 15, 2012

The path-breaking exhibition Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn, is the first exhibition to relate the American, French and Haitian struggles as a single global narrative. Spanning decades of enormous political and cultural changes, from the triumph of British imperial power in 1763 to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, Revolution! traces how an ideal of popular sovereignty, introduced through the American fight for independence, soon sparked more radical calls for a recognition of universal human rights, and set off attacks on both sides of the Atlantic against hereditary privilege and slavery. Texts and audio guides are in English, French and Haitian Krèyol. Highlights on view:

the original Stamp Act, as it was passed by Parliament in 1765 setting off the riots that led to the American Revolution, on loan from the Parliamentary Archives, London, displayed for the first time outside the U.K.

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the only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (1804, National Archives, London), recently discovered and exhibited here to the public for the first time

Napoleon's authorization to French negotiators to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States (1803, New-York Historical Society), as a direct consequence of the Haitian rebellion

MAKING AMERICAN TASTE: NARRATIVE ART FOR A NEW DEMOCRACY

November 11, 2011 - April 1, 2012

Featuring 55 works from the Historical Society's great collection, Making American Taste will cast new light on both the history of American art and the formation of American cultural ideals during a crucial period from roughly the 1830s to the late 1860s. The exhibition includes the long-awaited debut after conservation of Louis Lang's famed monumental history painting of 1862: Return of the 69th (Irish Regiment) from the Sea of War. The painting is a centerpiece of our commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

FREEDOM NOW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY PLATON

November 11, 2011 - April 15, 2012

This installation of large-scale images by the celebrated photographer Platon, gives the historic struggle of the 1950s and 1960s a stirring contemporary presence. Julian Bond-statesman, professor, writer and a leader in the Civil Rights movement-has written a personal introduction to the exhibition. Among the subjects of the photographs are the Little Rock Nine, whose attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School in 1957 became a national cause celebre; Joseph A. McNeil and Franklin E. McCain, participants in the 1960 Greensboro lunch-counter sit-in; Southern Christian Leadership Conference members Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttlesworth, C.T. Vivian and Andrew Young; Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee leaders James Lawson, Robert Moses and Diane Nash; Chris and Maxine McNair, parents of Denise McNair, murdered in the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church; Black Panthers Kathleen Cleaver, Emory Douglas and Bobby Rush; Muhammad Ali; Harry Belafonte; Congressman John Lewis; and Jesse Jackson, Sr.

A NEW YORK HANUKKAH

November 25, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Hanukkah lamps, or Hannukiot, are candelabra characterized by nine candle branches and used in the ritual candle-lighting associated with the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival that commemorates the 165 B.C.E. liberation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah lamps were made up of eight oil wells or candle-holders, separated from a ninth traditionally used as a shamash, or server, to light the others. These lamps remain distinct from menorahs, which generally have seven candle branches and are not associated with a specific use or holiday. Hanukkah lamps were present in European synagogues by about the 13th century, and often designed in the form of menorahs or as standing table lamps.

IT HAPPENED HERE: THE INVENTION OF Santa Claus

November 25, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Though legend has it that Santa Claus hails from the North Pole, he was actually a New Yorker who came into the world on West 23rd Street in what is now the trendy Chelsea neighborhood. The modern Santa was born in the imagination of Clement Clarke Moore, a scholar who penned a whimsical poem about St. Nicholas, the patron of old Dutch New York, for the amusement of his six children at Christmastime. Soon after the publication of "A Visit from St. Nicholas"-popularly known today by its opening line, "Twas the night before Christmas...""-St. Nicholas became a popular feature of American Christmas celebrations. Moore's poem permanently connected St. Nicholas to Christmas, and led to our idea of Santa Claus. Santa's popularity, appearance and many of the holiday traditions that surround him owe much to the imaginative work of two other New Yorkers: Washington Irving, the creator of Knickerbocker's History of New York, and Thomas Nast, an artist whose drawings of Santa were reproduced all over the country in the years following the Civil War. To celebrate the winter season, the New-York Historical Society is presenting It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus, an installation tracing the modern image of Santa Claus, the red-suited, pot-bellied descendant of the medievAl Bishop St. Nicholas of Myra, which emerged only decades after the first Congress met in 1788 in Federal Hall in New York. The exhibition features Robert Weir's 1837 painting of a rather sly St. Nicholas and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly cartoons of Santa. Clement Clarke Moore's desk is on display in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture.

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