The Quilts of Huguenot Street

When I think of objects, I often immediately think of store bought goods such as phones, cups, stuffed animals, and other everyday items we may carry around with us. I do not usually imagine something that is homemade; to me, the term object for such a thing takes away a lot of its substance. Nonetheless, the objects I have chosen to focus on from Huguenot Street are the many quilts within their collection.

During class when we first discussed the plethora of objects available for research at Huguenot Street, I came across quilts nicknamed “freedom quilts.” I was instantly intrigued, and so I delved a bit into the history of these objects. Freedom quilts were thought to be a part of the underground railroad that worked in disguise to lead slaves to freedom. The quilts were usually adorned with some sort of arrow shaped pattern. This was a common pattern regardless, but when hung outside of one’s house they became directional symbols, pointing the way to freedom. Since quilts were such common objects to have hung outside of one’s home, this method was able to remain undetected, so much so that historians still do not have concrete evidence that this was the main purpose of these quilts. However, despite the lack of the facts, the idea is still an incredibly interesting one and sheds light on the truth of our history and the hardships that slaves dealt with, as well as the extreme methods they needed to pursue to obtain their freedom.

With this history in mind, I was interested in the use of quilts as objects, merely as a whole. I am the proud owner of quite a few quilts, all of which were handmade by a family member of mine. I have one such quilt that became my “baby blanket.” It was made of white cloth with yellow fringes and adorned with images of cartoon characters from Sesame Street. Though the meaning behind this quilt is not quite as deep as the ones used as part of the underground railroad, it still holds significant value to me. The woman who made the quilt was my grandmother, whom I call Nanny. She made it before I was born, just as she did for my sister. It was a family tradition she had always followed. Since it came from her, I have kept it to this day. Though the cartoons on it will be outdated by the time I have my own children, I still intend to pass it down as part of my family legacy.

Huguenot Street has a rich collection of quilts, many of which have a meaning behind them as my baby blanket does. One in particular that caught my attention immediately is located in the “commemorative quilts” section of their website. The quilt, which is titled Tercentenary Quilt, was worked on by thirty-five women as a celebration of the three hundred year anniversary of the New Paltz settlement. As evident in the imade, each block tells a little story about New Paltz’s history. They include the first church built in the town, the Huguenot cross, the Bevier-Elting house, the Walkill River, and many more. Looking at this quilt, it tells a story, which is what we have learned about objects. They are rich in stories and histories and I feel that this particular object greatly exemplifies that. The object itself has become a historic item, but the fact that each little block on the quilt has its own story increases the historic value of the quilt even more so.

A section of this large quilt

The Huguenot Quilt Collection also includes a section called “friendship quilts.” These are collective quilts that were passed down through family lines as a way to commemorate the family members that came before them. One such quilt is The Duboisville Friendship Quilt.

The Duboisville Friendship Quilt

The appearance of this quilt varies greatly from the previous stated one. It is a simple repetitive pattern, including brights colors such as reds and oranges. However, the significance of this object lies in the signatures that are present on the quilt. In the middle of each diamond-shaped design, as shown in the images, is a signature of who is presumed to be one family member.

Here, (for some reason the images are huge and won’t let me post the whole thing), you can see a section of the signature of one family member.

When assessing the value of such an object, it is amazing to think that this quilt was signed by so many family members and then passed down through the generations. Many traditional objects that become a part of a family’s legacy do not have such a distinct line of succession as this one does. The fact that this quilt has the signatures of past family members shows just how much of a rich history it has within that family.


Quilts of Historic Huguenot Street,

“The Duboisville Friendship Quilt, Historic Huguenot Street.” Hudson River Valley Heritage,

(Still working on source for background information, as well as further findings on their website.)


A Mirror Image of Magdalene Elting LeFevre

As humans we will never truly be able to see ourselves with our own eyes, we will only ever be able to see a reflection. Cavemen since the beginning of time used puddles, and as society became more established and advanced mirrors became an object richly sought after. This Federal style mirror located on Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, New York can be found in the Deyo House Federal Bedroom.


This Federal Style Mirror sits in the corner of the Federal Bedroom in the Deyo House on Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, New York. Its Federal Style featuring a gold eagle or pheasant wide spread across the top is reflective of America’s newfound stature in 18th century as a sovereign and strong United Nation. Though this piece is fairly small it is largely representational as a glimpse into this period in time.

This rectangular shaped mirror measures 35 inches in length and 16 inches in width. The mirror is made of a rich colored wood, possibly mahogany, that surrounds the glass mirror piece, which is inlaid in the center of the wood. The wood has fretwork carving on the top and bottom. The carvings resemble flames or torches on the top and it is clear this wood was carved by hand due to the imperfections of the carvings.

The top of the mirror features a three-dimensional gold eagle or pheasant with its wings spread broadly across the wood. The Federal era lasted roughly from 1780 through 1830 in the United States and furnishings created during this period were heavily influenced by Greece and Rome (Thurlow 2009). After the Revolutionary war and the Treaty of Paris, the United States was recognized as a sovereign nation. The eagle then became a symbol of unity — an expression for Americans to be recognized in their own way with their own values (Liebster 2012).




The Gold Eagle/Pheasant Spread Proud Upon the Mirror.

This mirror has provenance with the Elting family who actually lived on Huguenot Street, so it has existed in New Paltz for quite some time. The donor of the mirror to Huguenot Street was Helena LeFevre, when she passed away in 1965 (2013). She was a member of the Huguenot Historical Society, her donation of her things to the society paying great homage to her passion for historical preservation. Her donation entailed that the mirror belonged to Magdalene Elting LeFevre, daughter of Roelof Elting and Mary Louw, wife of Peter LeFevre with whom she had ten children.

Magdalene Elting LeFevre was born on February 22, 1766 and died March 10, 1823. She lived in the Bevier-Elting house on Huguenot Street while she was growing up. Her father, Roelof was sentenced to prison and then exiled for refusing Continental currency from a customer in addition to a land dispute. While Magdalene’s father was gone two of her sisters passed away. Being without a father and losing two siblings at a young age would be traumatic for any individual. 


The Bevier-Elting House. 2019.

Magdalene married Peter LeFevre in 1789, where they lived on the Bontekoe farm in a stone house. According to Peter’s tax records, he ranked in the higher end of the middle-income tax bracket, though his stone house was fairly run down. It is difficult to say exactly when or how Magdalene came to own this mirror, however it can be surmised that it was a wedding gift to Magdalene and Peter, or perhaps she came to own it through an acquisition of a similar nature, though, there is no accessible information to be certain of this. This suggests the level of financial comfort which Magdalene and Peter lived with.

Further emphasizing Peter and Magdalene’s comfort was the fact that they owned three slaves. According to the 1798 census, Peter owned three slaves, whom were not subject to taxation. This means they were either children under twelve years of age, or that they were older than fifty. There are documents that define one of Peter’s purchases of Molly, in 1798. This suggests while Magdalene had the mirror in her home her husband was purchasing slaves, painting a vivid picture of the time in history this mirror was a part of, and how the acquisition of slaves was not an uncommon practice, even in New Paltz. 

While there is not substantial information available about this mirror specifically, other than its chain of ownership, the stories of its owners and their trials and tribulations are highly reflective of the period in time this mirror was owned. This mirror stands in the Deyo Federal Bedroom as a reflection and encapsulation of life in 18th century New Paltz.



“Bill of Sale for Molly to Peter Lefevre :: Historic Huguenot Street.” Hudson River Valley Heritage,

“Helena S. LeFevre.”, Poughkeepsie Journal , 22 Oct. 2013,

Liebster, Amy. “Eagles After the American Revolution.”, June 2012,

“Peter and Josiah P. LeFevre Family Papers: ‘The Bontecoe LeFevres’ (1703-1937).” Historic Huguenot Street,

“Tax Roll, 1779 :: Historic Huguenot Street.” Hudson River Valley Heritage,

Thurlow, Matthew. “American Federal-Era Period Rooms.”, Nov. 2009,

The Jean Hasbrouck House

“New Paltz is one of the most significant historic towns in New York State history and aspects of its early settlement history are of national significance” (Larson 1). Architecture and decorative arts are the two areas where Dutch culture can be seen surviving still today in the Hudson Valley. There are many similarities from the 17th century Dutch buildings discovered both in America and in Europe. Striving to make a presence in the New World community, the Dutch colonists built their iconic Dutch style houses here in America. The use of stone to build kept the Dutch homes distinct from the English and reminded the English that their Dutch culture was still prevalent even in the New World. The Jean Hasbrouck House is one of the most impressive examples of Dutch Colonial stone architecture remaining in the United States.

Originally built in 1694 and later renovated around 1721, this massive stone house was an economic and social class distinction of its time. This house is distinctive because of its square form, central entrance, two room deep passage plan and flanking windows. Even with these unique features it still kept its dutch characteristics by keeping its interior exposed wood beams, jambless fireplaces and stone outer. Set currently upon one-acre of property, this 5 bedroom masterpiece also contains an attic and basement.

A Dutch style stone house was a tedious, time consuming process to construct. From building the basement foundation, adding the wood frames, plastering the interior, this process took months to begin to take shape. However, these houses were strong and sturdy, leaving the Hudson Valley containing some of the oldest architecture in the eastern United States. The typical seventeenth century stone house contained multiple entrances, a front façade and a steep gable roof. Although containing an attic and a basement, living was restricted to the main floor of usually no more than 3 rooms. However, Jacob expanded his home to five rooms. The houses were heated with jambless fireplaces. These fireplaces are a large hearth with no sides, venting into the chimney. (Larson 5). This is a distinctive feature of Dutch architecture. The Jean-Hasbrouck house is the only or one of the few with this structure still standing.

On top of being made of heavy materials and being a laborious process, stone houses were also costly and pretentious even those of one room. Stone became an emblem of wealth (Report 1.7). Stone houses were indicators of upper class status and the material gained value when this distinction of wealth and class became important in the community. Stone houses were only built wealthiest figures living in the area. The style of your house was said to show your social status. This material distinguished successful farmers and families from the everyday townspeople (Larson 4). The Jean Hasbrouck house stood above the traditional stone houses because of its size and amount of stone used to create its massive structure.

Originally built in 1694 by Jean Hasbrouck as a small one-room living space, the building we see today was expanded around 1721 to serve as a store and a family house while also reminding the community of his status. While renovating Jacob still wished to keep some of the original characteristics of the 1694 design. You can still see the long oak beam in the southern part of the basement supporting the basement fireplace and a rafter on the west roof avoiding the chimney from the original 1694 house. Remainings of the original jambless fireplace and box bed can also be seen today.

Jacob Hasbrouck renovated his father Jean’s house into a Dutch style house even more grand than the generic Dutch houses seen around the Hudson Valley. Generally plans for dutch houses were restricted to a three room maximum , one story house plans. Jacob’s house did not fall into these plans, it fell into the Large House category reserved for people generally of local importance. His five bedroom, one and a half floor home became an elite house in the neighborhood. This house stood at over twice the size than his neighbors. It is significant because the house was exceptionally large for its time and represented the Hasbrouck’s participation in the new world. While still keeping traditional Dutch culture, this design also showed his American presence. One feature that set this house apart from the other traditional houses was its roof structure and attic space. The roof frame was constructed with a complicated set of interlocking rafters, collars and braces neatly joined to create the structure and sizable attic space which was unusual for its time. Another reason the Jean-Hasbrouck house stood out amongst the other houses because of its symmetrical façades and center passage plan. It was one of the earliest accounts of this design of elite architecture in eastern America.

The design we see today is that of his son Jacob Hasbrouck, Jean is said to have passed away before building plans were put in place. He expanded the house into its unusually large proportions. He was able to do this because his father passed all of his inheritance down to him making him unusually wealthy for his age (Larson 8). Jacob was an experienced farmer of only 34 years old. He increased the value of his father’s land through land allotments, his shop and various other ways of lending out his land. This large sum of money left to him led him to show this off through the design of this house.

Currently the sophisticated house that stands has seen no major construction since 1721. There has been work done to solely improve the conditions such as upgrading the windows and minor maintenance. In 1893 the vacant house was purchased by Historic Huguenot Street for $3,000 and the one acre of land it was set upon. 1952 interior work was done to keep it preserved. A light was added to display this historical house more. This home shows the Hasbrouck presence in society and Jacob’s large inheritance of wealth. Standing among the other buildings left, we can see its significance through its size and design even hundreds of years later.

Historic Structure Report (Still need full citation info)

Jean (Jacob) Hasbrouck House Furnishing Plan (Still need full citation info)

Larson, Neil. “Building a Stone House in Ulster County, New York in 1751.” Vol. 2, 2014, pp. 1–16.

A Clock with Two Faces

The grandfather clock stands auspiciously in the entrance hall of the Deyo House. The case is adorned with columns and brass spires, coming together in a curved crown. Its early 19th century English style displays the Deyo’s American heritage and wealth. Though it seems a perfect match for the piece that originally stood there, this clock has a much different history written on its face.

                Made of Mahogany wood, the casing of the clock runs ten inches deep at all points, and it runs 21 inches wise at the top and bottom, narrowing slightly for the central section where its counterweights hang. The interior is covered in black fabric, and has a brass plate that reads, “In memory of Doctor Arthur Dubois Brundidge: Presented by his sisters Louise Brundidge and Pauline Brundidge.” Two round plates with hooks are also visible. Behind the glass cover the face of the clock is white with gold floral patterns adorning the corners and the rounded top. Under the wiry hands, the numerals are Arabic, and the center reads faintly in elegant script, Robert Russell, Ballymena. Columns on either side of the clock face culminate in rounded brass spires, and the very top of the clock curls in to a circular brass ornament that crowns the work at eight feet tall.

                As is displayed on the plate that now rests inside it, the clock was donated in 1980 by Louise and Pauline Brundidge on behalf of their late brother, Arthur Brundidge. The siblings are children of Jeannette Dubois, born in Gardiner in 1880 and Arthur Daniel Brundidge, born in Newburgh in 1875. A note left with the donation claims, “Federal period case by NY maker – in Brundidge Quimby family since 1795 Marlboro, Plattekill, Newburgh and Walden”. [Acc. #3474-80.1] (I might need to dig up a bit more family history)  From this, it’s clear the clock was an heirloom in the local Brundidge family, and found itself tied to Hueguenot Street by marriage.

                This clock, of course, is not the original from the Deyo House. However, its presence tells a story that dates back to Gilded Age American and Colonial Revival. Having good financial fortune and wanting to show it, Abraham and Gertrude Deyo Brodhead turned the Deyo family home into the modern era mansion that stands on the street today in 1894. Of course, for a home to truly cement its owners’ reputation as budding socialites, it needs to be filled with the very finest furniture. From gold-gilded radiators to a player piano, no expense was spared. In particular, early American heirlooms were in style as a part of the Colonial Revival movement.

                To some extent, Colonial Revival was founded a growing appreciation of American history and a desire to preserve it, but it almost certainly sprouted from the desire of older families  to separate themselves from the new wave of immigrants. Catholic Irish and Italian immigrants were brining “popery” into the nation, and something had to be done about it. From about 1890 to 1920, the New Paltz Tribune referred to Italians as just that, Italians, never mentioning them by name, perhaps in effort to deny their membership in the community. (Haley) Given that, what better way to display the Brodhead’s Anglo-Saxon, Protestant heritage than with a late 18th century English grandfather clock by Clark of London?

                The first thing a guest sees when they enter the house, the grandfather clock undoubtedly made the right impression on hundreds of guests over the years. Abraham would go on to lose the family fortune, investing in racetracks that were outlawed by the state in 1906. Abraham and Gertrude auctioned off most of the furniture in 1915, but interestingly the clock is not among the items listed. If Abraham kept the clock because he was attached to it, Gertrude certainly didn’t feel the same about it, as she sold in right after his death. It is listed as sold in 1926 “Grandfather’s clock brass dial by Clark of London”.  (New Paltz Independent)

                Having outlived the Deyo’s ownership of the house, it only seems fitting that the current clock should replace it, made in New York shortly after the American Revolution in period style, it looks much the same as the original would have in the entrance hall. Much like the clock that stood there, it is a piece of history, living in Newburgh for almost 200 years before moving to Huguenot Street. That would certainly be an easy tale to believe, but Arthur, Louise and Pauline must never have questioned the writing on the clock face, because Ballymena is a village in Northern Ireland.

                Robert Russell shows up on Ireland’s 1821 census as a 40 year old “Watch and Clock Maker” living in Navan,  a town, in the center of Ireland, quite a trek from Ballymena. He isn’t a very well known clock maker, but seems to have been doing well for himself, married with four children, an apprentice, and one house servant. This means the clock was not in the Brundidge Quimby family in 1795, as it’s doubtful Russell had his own workshop at 14 years old. Instead, this particular clock was probably shipped to America in the early 1800’s, landed in the New York area and was purchased by the Brundidge family in Newburgh. That the clock was made in New York and had been in the family longer than that is likely a tall tale, perhaps made up for the same reason an English clock was picked for the Deyo House originally. And now, displaying its Irish origin proudly for all to see, this grandfather clock tells a very different story of America’s history than the things that surround it.


DuBois Family History p. 664 (Only have 1 page, need citation info)

Haley, Jacquetta. Furnishings Plan, Deyo House. 2001.

Historic Huguenot Street Donation Records. 3474-80.1- Clock, tall case.

National Archives of Ireland. 1821 Census. Web. 19 Apr. 2019

-New Paltz Independent  4 November, 1926. (Need to get a copy of this)

The Cradle of Aviation

Tina Staniscia, Rachel Obergh, Brandon Harnaga, and Lilly Weilacher

Aviation has made an impactful presence on Long Island within the past 80 years. From transportation, luxury planes and war planes, Long Island has helped change flight into what we know it as today. There has been many accomplishments and advances made on Long Island for aviation. Many famous pilots have taken off from the airfields where the Cradle of Aviation Museum now stands. During wars factories such as Grumman on Long Island helped develop and produce much of the United State’s aerial arsenal.

One of the most important factors that made Long Island so valuable for flight was its geographic features. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern side of the United States instantly made it perfect for intercontinental travel and transportation. Nassau County, the main area for take offs and landings was full flat grassy areas away from trees and buildings. The ideal conditions for a pilot to want to land on.  

Many famous pilots have flown out of various sites on Long Island. The most famous being Charles Lindbergh. On May 20th 1927 he took off for Paris from Roosevelt field in his Spirit of St. Louis. It took him 33 ½ hours to fly across the Atlantic and land in Paris. With his only guide being his magnetic compass, he became the first person to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic. This was one of the many accomplishments of Long Island Aviation.  

Brunner Winkle Bird  

This three-seat biplane was the turning point into the Golden age of Aviation . Designed for leisure purposes, this became one of the most common airplanes flown in and out of Long Island. Many famous individuals owned one such as the Lindbergh Family. Charles Lindbergh taught his wife to fly and obtain her pilot’s license on this plane because of its reliability. This version in the Cradle of Aviation was flown by Elinor Smith. She flew around the same time as Amelia Earhart however did not get the same publicity but is known for being a better pilot. One time she flew in this plane under all the East River Bridges which was highly illegal! Although an excellent form of aircraft, production came to a halt when there was more of a need for transportation and industrial planes.

In 2004, Congress officially recognized Dayton, Ohio as the “birthplace of aviation”. This is when the Wright Brothers, in 1911, accomplished the first powered flight in the world. After visiting the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island though, there is no doubt that this is where the future of commercial air transportation and the reality of space flight came to fruition.  

The facility covers about 150,000 square feet and houses over 75 original and replica aircraft. On location is a planetarium, IMAX theatre, 30 seat motion simulator, and a century old working carousel right next door. Eight interactive galleries cover over 100 years of aviation and aerospace history. With how the exhibits are organized and laid out, a museum goer can get up close to just about everything on display. Since the areas within the space are in chronological order, one can really go on a journey, following and learning so much about aviation.

People of all ages are welcome. School field trips, birthday parties, and even weddings take place regularly at the museum. It is about a two hour drive from New Paltz, making for a perfect day trip.  Tickets range from $9 to $20. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.

As we explore the rich history of aircraft through the many eras of aviation, it is imperative that we first look back to the late eightieth century to see how this innovative drive commenced. During the peak of aviation interest during this time period, Professor Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) was one of many leading scientific figures in the United States in the early nineteenth century, well known for his advancements in aviation research. Over the course of the 1890’s, Langley had drafted and tested a myriad of different aircraft designs, most of which ended in failure. Eventually, Langley had created his new model dubbed the “Langley Aerodrome No. 5” and in May of 1896, it had managed two spectacular feats, making circular flights of 3,300 and 2,300 feet, at a maximum altitude of some 80 to 100 feet and at a speed of some 20 to 25 miles an hour.

It is important to note that the model on display in the Cradle of Aviation Museum is a replica, so my physical descriptions will be based on the original model. The No.5 had a metal tube-fuselage structure that stored the boiler, engine and other components that made up its propulsion system. The wings and tail were wood-frame, covered with fine silk, that spanned 13 feet and 8 inches. Moreover, the No.5 was connected by many strings that held many of its parts together, a common feat for my aircrafts during this time period. The power plant was a single-cylinder, one-horsepower steam engine outfitted with a double-action piston with a slide valve, and a flashtube boiler fired by a pressure burner that vaporized gasoline. The engine drove twin propellers, centrally mounted between the front and rear sets of wings, through a system of shafts and bevel gears. The aircraft weighed approximately 11kg (24.3 lb) ready for flight. Although the model on display is only a replica, this object both physically and symbolically represents the passion and innovation that defined this era of aviation.

Now, moving forward almost eight decades from the Langley Aerodrome #5, we come to another piece, known as the most historically significant vehicle ever built on Long Island: the Grumman Lunar Module. This specific module on display at the museum is the LM-13, which is one of only three surviving lunar modules. The modules were part of a larger project initiated in 1962 known as the Project Apollo Lunar Module, of which the Grumman Corporation was at the head. This craft would have had the ability to release from the Command Module and land on the moon, and then return to the Command. In its physical appearance, the lunar module seems quite simple from the exterior, being designed for neither impressive attractiveness nor aerodynamics. It measures to about 23 feet in height and 31 feet wide, weighing 8,600 pounds. Though this module still exists because its intended mission–the Apollo 19 journey to Copernicus Crater in 1973–was cancelled, it would have had the potential to reach 17,500 miles per hour. The craft is made up of very light and thin metals which was necessary for it to reach it destination without consuming a large amount of fuel. The exterior is covered in golf, silver, and black thermal shielding. Though this is an object which was an example of the immense advancements in technology and innovation, it is also a representation of the drive of discovery and spirit of aviation.


“The Brunner Winkle Bird at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum,

“Charles Lindbergh Collection.” Missouri Digital Heritage Hosted Collections,

“Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum | New York Heritage,

“Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island, NY 11530 • 516-572-4111.” Cradle of Aviation Museum,

Cradle of Aviation Museum. Langley Aerodrome #5 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. 2019,  

Gray, Carroll. “Samuel Pierpont Langley.” FLYING MACHINES – Samuel P. Langley, 2015,

“Grumman Lunar Module LM-13 at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.” Cradle of Aviation Museum,

“Long Island, New York’s Cradle of Aviation Museum Celebrates the Rich Heritage of the Region.” Warbirds News, 2 Aug. 2013,

McFarland, Stephen L. “A Concise History of the U.S. Air Force.” 1997, p. 2.,  

“Milestones:Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972.” Milestones:Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972 – Engineering and Technology History Wiki, 2011,,_1962-1972.

National Air and Space Museum. Langley Aerodrome Number 5. 21 Feb. 2019,

Stoff, Joshua. Historic Aircraft and Spacecraft in the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Dover Publications, 2001.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

Carly Walsh, Olivia Porcari, Helen Zhang, and Ellie Condelles

The Museum of Jewish History began construction in 1994, after years of planning, designing, and gathering materials for the collection. Located in Battery Park in new York City, the museum is close to the statue of liberty and the world trade center memorial. Elie Wiesel was an honorary chairmen of the collection and part of the dedication ceremony on September 11, 1997. His contributions to the collection as a Holocaust survivor were a true inspiration to the museum, and continue to inspire after his passing in 2016. Wiesel’s memory was also honored during the museum’s 2017 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where they paid him tribute through a live streaming of his book, Night. The Museum of Jewish History opened officially on September 15, 1997, with the mission to continue to educate others about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust, focused on teaching the painful ways of the past to guide visions towards a worthy future.

The museum’s original cost was over $20 million dollars, not including expansions made to the collection over the years. Funded by generous supporters including, Heritage Members, Benefactors, Patrons, and Sponsors, the museum has a strong connection to the community. Tickets range from $8-$25 depending age category, whether or not you are a museum member and type of tour, providing visitors with a variety of options to choose from when planning a visit.

Every aspect of The Museum of Jewish History is designed to tell a story. It’s expertly crafted architecture speaks to the museum’s commitment to Jewish life and culture. The building’s six-sided shape and six-tiered roof rising 85 feet in the air are reminders of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, as well being reminiscent of the six-pointed Star of David. The location and physical environment of the museum were carefully chosen and planned: the museum overlooks the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (a reminder of American values) and is only minutes away from the 9/11 memorial (an ode to other tragedies). Wagner Park, adjacent to the museum, is conducive to the Hudson River landscape while still reflecting the Jewish concept of mysticism. Inside, the core exhibition is separated into three distinct parts, organized chronologically: Jewish Life A Century Ago, The War Against the Jews, and Jewish Renewal. The first floor explores vibrant and multifaceted Jewish life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; covered such topics as life cycles, holidays, community, occupations, and synagogues; the second relays the history of the Holocaust from the point of view of Jews who lived through it, using their own artifacts, photographs, testimony, and historical footage; and finally the third focuses on how Jewish individuals and communities rebuilt their lives after the Holocaust and continue to thrive in the 21st century.

The Garden of Stones is the most popular collection piece at the museum. Andy Goldsworthy wanted Holocaust survivors to see that there is still life and beauty after a genocide. The display is visible from every floor of the museum and has been placed outside on the terrace. Each rock has drill holes, where young dwarf trees are growing. They can grow up to 12 feet over a period of a decade. The trunk of the tree has molded itself into the stone, making it one and the same. When you look inside the hole, it’s not hollowed out, but rather the roots of the tree have inserted itself into the other parts of the rock. Andy Goldsworthy wanted his audience to see something impossible, like trees growing out of rocks. For a tree to grow out of a non-living thing, illustrates the ability for Holocaust survivors to grow even after what they have been through. A quote from the artist, “Amidst the mass of stone, the trees will appear as fragile, vulnerable flickers of life — an expression of hope for the future. The stone is not mere containers. The partnership between tree and stone will be stronger from having grown from the stone.” In other words, Andy Goldsworthy knew that trees can be seen as this vulnerable living organism, but it’s a living thing and therefore, it brings hope and life for the future. The stones are not just containers for the display, but rather supporters of the tree. Together they can be stronger, since they grew from each other. Andy Goldsworthy also meticulously chose the place of display outside the museum because in the distance, visitors could see the Statue of Liberty and remember the rush of immigrants into America, while remembering the lost lives in the building behind them. He wanted the visitors to see that there’s still happiness in mourning.

Eyewitness: Photographs of Holocaust Survivors is a collection of portraits of survivors who live in New York City. There are 31 photographs in the collection, which was the museum’s first public art installation. The images are all between four and thirteen feet high, filling the outside windows of the museum as well as the windows along the Reflection Passage on the third floor. The people in the images are members of the Museum’s Speakers Bureau and also served as the Gallery Educators. The first photograph is of Leon Gleicher, who survived the Holocaust, but lost every member of his immediate family: his mother, father, two brothers and younger sister. He was able to escape from a ghetto in Poland and ended up fighting with Russian Partisans. This photograph is an important part of this collection because it exudes notions of strength. The man in the photo is choosing to wear his yarmulke; he is choosing to reclaim his Jewish identity in a way that many may have been afraid to do. The smile on his face suggests contentment, and the wrinkles are the result of a life full of hardship and loss. The second photograph is a portrait of Inge Auerbacher. She is wearing the star of David, perhaps the star she was forced to wear doing the Holocaust. This star seems to be part of her identity. Her choice to wear the star after all these years speaks volumes to what she has experienced. During the Holocaust, she was forced to wear it as a marker of exclusion, isolation, and difference. Now, she wears it by choice to outwardly present her Jewish identity in a way she can be proud of. There are many more photographs, but we have decided to focus on these two.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage is a museum we recommend others to check out the next time they are in the city. There are lots of windows and natural light shining through, even though the lower levels are darker than the upper levels. Last time one of us went to visit the museum, the tour guide told us to be aware of our surroundings and how the light will change as we go up in the museum. The first floor was dark and had many artifacts and objects that were left from the Holocaust, people’s belonging and pictures of the concentration camps. As we ascended to the second floor, there was a little bit more lightening. When we got to the third floor, there was natural lighting and a few spotlights on certain photographs. The tour guide pointed out that the museum wanted to show that even though things were tough and ugly, eventually it got better, people survived and were able to tell their story to those who listened. On the third floor, there were artifacts and photographs from other genocides and how they were just as cruel and horrible. At one point, the third floor had wall to wall glass windows and doors where visitors could step outside to see the Garden of Stones. There was even a cafe where visitors could buy Jewish baked goods and sit and watch the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. It was peaceful and quiet on this floor and when visitors step out into the Garden, it’s a whole new space, that’s open and inviting. The Museum wanted visitors to see the devastation that the Holocaust had bought to many, but also the life it can bring when life goes on.


“Current Exhibitions.” Museum of Jewish Heritage,

“Eyewitness: Photographs of Holocaust Survivors by B.A. Vane Sise.” Museum of Jewish Heritage,

Rosenberg, Jennifer. “Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to The Holocaust.” 2 April 2017.   

Shapiro, Benjamin. “Andy Goldsworthy’s Garden of Stones.” Museum of Jewish Heritage, 30 November 2017,

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Brooke, Chris, Gabi, Robyn

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was erected to memorialize the events of September 11th, 2001, and February 23rd, 1993.  On both of these dates, the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists. On February 23rd, a truck bomb was detonated below the World Trade Center. Six died and thousands were injured, though little structural damage was done.  After this attack, several safety measures were improved and implemented, these new safety features are often credited with the survival of many after the second attack. On September 11th, 2001, four passenger planes were hijacked, one crashed into the Pentagon, two crashed into the Twin Towers, and one crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. 184 people were killed both in the Pentagon and aboard the plane which crashed into it. The two planes that crashed into the Twin Towers lead both the North and South towers to collapse, killing over 2,500 people and leaving thousands more injured. On the fourth plane, the 40 crew members and passengers were killed.  These events were devastating and continue to impact society today.

It is suggested that one looks up the museum prior to arrival in order to know what to expect, especially for younger audiences. The official 9/11 Memorial and Museum website has a warning that the material may not be appropriate for children under 10, though they do have an online self-guided tour should an adult decide to bring a child there.  The average time spent inside the museum is two hours, and ticket prices range from $15-$26, with discounts offered to children, college students, and U.S. veterans. However, the memorial with the names of all those who died is located outside of the museum and is free.

The Memorial Twin Reflecting pools are located within footsteps of where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into the bronze panels edging the Memorial Pools. The Memorial Museum itself is located quite uniquely. It is within and surrounded by remnants of the original World Trade Center site this is known as the archaeological heart of the World Trade Center.  It contains a permanent collection of more than 11,000 artifacts including ephemera, textiles, artwork, oral histories, books and manuscripts. Also, it possesses over 300 moving images, and more than 40,000 print and digital photographs. The largest of the spaces inside the Museum is Foundation Hall. Here, there is a room with ceilings ranging from 40 to 60 feet high and nearly 15,000 square feet of floor space. Within this room is the slurry wall. The slurry wall is a retaining wall originally built to hold back the Hudson river, as well as the remnants of cutoff box columns that once formed the exterior structure of the Twin Towers.

The museum is broken into two main exhibitions: the Historical Exhibition and the Memorial Exhibition. The Historical Exhibition is split into three parts: before 9/11, the day of 9/11, and after 9/11.  The Memorial Exhibition commemorates the lives of those who perished on both February 23rd, 1993 and September 11th, 2001. This exhibition contains several interactive exhibits.

One of the most significant collections this museum is the Tribute Collection. This is a larger collection of objects, consisting of multiple sub-sections, that came together through compiling items from those who lost loved ones during the attack, or were merely affected in some manner. Tanya Hoggard, a flight attendant who volunteered at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 attacks, is responsible for organizing the specific tribute collection known as the “Dear Hero” collection. She recognized that children were coming to show their support from around the natio by delivering letters and artwork to the firefighters and recovery workers who were present the day of and after the fact. Seeing just how positive of an impact this had on those involved, she began compiling these “objects” to ensure they would be preserved and eventually become part of a larger collection, which became the 9/11 Memorial Collection.

Inside the 9/11 Memorial Collection, there are a myriad of structural objects which help shed light on the fateful events on the morning of September 11th, 2001. After extensive research, our group has narrowed down the entire collection of recovered architectural artifacts to three objects: An elevator motor, a staircase, and a small collection of glass fragments from a shattered window. Each of these objects tells a story of how people stuck in the World Trade Center (WTC) attempted to escape the deadly terrorist attack.

The museum contains several objects that have been donated by families and friends of those who perished.  These objects include photographs, notes, momentos, videos, and even voice recordings. Today, the museum continues to reach out to the families of those who died in order to share their stories.  A family member or friend can bring objects to the museum, mail them, or even create a recording of themselves talking about the person being memorialized and submit it to the museum via internet, phone, or in person.

Works Cited:

Editors, “9/11 Timeline.”, A&E Television Networks, 21 June 2011,

“Home | National September 11 Memorial & Museum.” Home | National September 11 Memorial & Museum,

Kennicott, Philip. “The 9/11 Memorial Museum Doesn’t Just Display Artifacts, It Ritualizes Grief on a Loop.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 June 2014,

Introduction to The Frick Collection

Marisa, Nick, Katie, Isabelle

The Frick Collection is a one-of-a-kind personal collection that has become a public museum in Manhattan. Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist and art collector who devoted his last dying wish to sustain his collection in a way that was public and intentional. This has become a museum that is esteemed and sensational. Our central theme surrounding this collection revolves around the extravagance of it all. This ties into various aspects of the Frick: the extravagance of the home itself, the uncanny nature of the contents of the collection, and how although many of the pieces in this collection are vastly different, they share a common thread of being over-the-top in their own respect. This is a very unconventional situation; art collections are extremely personal. An art connoisseur putting their entire collection—all of the fanciful objects compiled with millions and millions of dollars—on display in a public museum after they died to allow the public to experience it is exceedingly extravagant.

Henry Clay Frick was involved in what some describe as “dirty” industries; oil, coke and steel. His desire for collecting art stemmed from a desire for greater respectability. Frick began collecting Old Masters before he left Pittsburgh behind in pursuit of New York in 1905. A large sum of his wealth came from a court settlement which was a result of his inability to work or see eye to eye with Andrew Carnegie. This settlement allotted him $30 million in securities, a great sum to further pursue the collection of fine art. Acquisitions of pieces by renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer defined Frick’s exceptional taste and established him as a major collector. Some of these pieces such as Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (1906) and Vermeer’s The Officer and Laughing Girl (1911) are among the highlights of Frick’s collection present day.

The Frick home was no cheap investment, and the details of the interior overwhelmingly prove it. Many individuals in New York find their way to The Frick Collection to experience the lavish personal collection left behind by Henry Clay Frick. The Roger New York on Twitter suggests to visit the “tranquil environment” where “masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more!” are housed. If you were to visit this collection, we would suggest looking at the home as an object the same way you’d look at the art as an object. If the home were stripped of the precious art collection, it itself could stand alone as a testament to Henry Clay Frick’s indulgence in his affluent taste and desires. The house, on its own, is an awe-inspiring construction, clearly announcing Frick’s wealth and status.


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The Frick House (Bailey)


Ultimately, the home is what provides accommodation for this extraordinary collection of art; it is only fitting that it matches the nature of the pieces, contributing to the fabulous and ornate qualities of the paintings, sculptures, furniture, and other fascinating objects.

Daniel Weber’s 1653 table clock stands in the South Hall as a pretentious tour de force. Made to display his skill, rather than for functionality, it features an array of dials containing information ranging from the location of the stars at one’s local latitude on to the present astrological sign, to the time, month and day (Berman). Gilded in fine brass and ornamented with flowers and angels clad in silver, it dominates its surroundings, as triumphant as the woman at its apex, a monument to man’s mastery over the material world.

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Weber’s Table Clock (“Table Clock with Astronomical and Calendrical Dials.”)

Refurbished by the Frick collection in 2013 for an exhibition on clocks, Weber’s masterpiece has since remained as a permanent part of the collection on display.

The painting of Lady Selina Skipwith was done in May of 1787 by Sir Joshua Reynolds, an English painter who specialized in portraits and promoted the “Grand Style,” an approach that idealized the imperfect. The depiction of the woman in Reynolds’ painting contains obvious signifiers of wealth—the puffy tulle dress, the satin gloves, the powdered hair, the white face makeup. In late 18th century England, paleness was a sign that one lived in prosperity and idleness, and did not have to labor in the sun. However, the face makeup used during this time usually contained lead; many women applied it regardless, some suffering illness or even death from lead poisoning. The painting itself, and the sacrifices made by the woman in it to attain a certain beauty ideal, demonstrate a common thread of extravagance and refinement, which connects all of the art and objects in the Frick Collection.

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Selina, Lady Skipwith


The overarching theme of the Frick collection is its extravagance. The pieces on display reminisce on a long history of vanity, amalgamating fine art, architecture, and craftsmanship from throughout the centuries. The objects selected for this presentation exemplify this opulence, each a window into the pursuit of material excess.




“Acquisitions Fund.” The Dutch Golden Age | The Frick Collection,

Andrewes, William J. H. “A Chronicle of Timekeeping.” Scientific American Special Edition, vol. 16, no. 1, Feb2006 Special Edition 2006, pp. 46–55. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0206-46sp.

“Annual Fund.” The Dutch Golden Age | The Frick Collection,

Bailey, Colin B. Building the Frick Collection: an Introduction to the House and Its Collections. The Frick Collection, 2016.

Berman, Ann E. “The Gallery: Beautiful Relics of Timekeeping’s Past — an Eccentric Collector’s Clocks Reveal an Age when Art and Precision Conjoined.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition ed., Jan 02 2002, p. A15. ProQuest. Web. 4 Mar. 2019 .

Collection, The Frick. “David Weber, Gilt-Brass and Silver Table Clock.” YouTube, Frick Collection, 04 Jan. 2014,

Collection, The Frick. YouTube, YouTube, 3 Aug. 2010,

Engel, Laura. Fashioning Celebrity: Eighteenth-Century British Actresses and Strategies for Image Making. Ohio State Univ Press, 2011.

“Garden Court.” Garden Court | The Frick Collection,

Gunzburg, Darrelyn. “Collecting a Vision: Henry Clay Frick and the Frick Collection, New York.” Art Book, vol. 16, no. 3, Aug. 2009, pp. 19–21. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8357.2009.01041.x.

Hipple, Walter J. “General and Particular in the Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Study in Method.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 11, no. 3, 1953, pp. 231–247. JSTOR, doi: 10.2307/426762.

Miller, Daniel. Stuff. Polity Press, 2010.

Reynolds, Joshua. A Selection from the Discourses Delivered to the Students of the Royal Academy. Edited by J. J. Findlay, Blackie, 1906.

Reynolds, Joshua. “Selina, Lady Skipwith.” – Works –, The Frick Collection,

Roark, Elisabeth. “Pittsburgh.” Grove Art Online.  May 28, 2015. Oxford University Press,. Date of access 11 Mar. 2019,

“Roman Domestic Architecture (Domus).” Khan Academy, Khan Academy,

Scherer, Barrymore L. “Horology: What’s Ticking at the Frick.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition ed., Aug 28 2013, ProQuest. Web. 4 Mar. 2019 .

Siple, Ella S. “The Opening of the Frick Collection.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol. 68, no. 395, 1936, pp. 102–103. JSTOR,

The Frick Collection: An Illustrated Catalogue. Vol. 1, The Frick Collection, 1968.

“The Garden Court.” The Garden Court | The Frick Collection,

@therogerny. “Step out of the cold and into the tranquil environment of the @frickcollection. You’ll be able to discover masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more!” Twitter 06 March 2019, 1:15 p.m.,

Weber, David. “Table Clock with Astronomical and Calendrical Dials.” – Works –, 2018,


A China cabinet grows in Connecticut

If you needed a postcard to send from New England, you could take a photograph just about anywhere in Newtown, Connecticut. It would be perfectly picturesque, completely conveying the feeling of its state and New England. My grandparents Charlie and Elsie Clark, built their home there. It is where they remained until my grandfather died. My grandmother stayed in the house until her health began to fail. Then it was time to let the house go.

What came before the house construction was the purchase and the clearing of their property, which was carved out of a stony ridge that led into a forest. The trees needed cutting before a foundation for their log cabin was poured. From the felled timber, nothing was wasted. It was utilized to make the house, its flooring, walls of knotty pine, cabinetry, and furniture. My grandfather was a garage owner and mechanic, but with typical can-do spirit, he was also an amazing woodworker. Everything that he could do himself, he did.

I am the proud inheritor of two pieces of furniture my grandfather made from his land’s lumber. One is a cabinet that my grandmother used for her fabrics for sewing. The other is a lovely, little china cabinet, a vitrine really, since so much of it is composed of glass.  I don’t know what drew me to this piece specifically. It certainly isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Its carpentry is simple in nature, its drawer pulls basic. I remember it always being in the same corner of my grandparent’s dining room. I know my grandfather made it from trees that once surrounded the area he called home; maybe this is why I am so attached to it.

the China cabinet

My grandmother was an obsessive tchotchke collector, bordering on hoarding. The cabinet was filled to capacity with teacup and saucer sets, petite porcelain figurines, single bud flower vases, crystal animals, and other things that I can’t quite recall any longer. Since my living quarters had never been in grandiose spaces, the cabinet could fit anywhere, taking little floor area.

Since coming out of my grandmother’s home, it has been in six residences. As stated in previous blogs, I have been happily downsizing. Last fall, some serious purging of the cabinet took place. Now it displays items that I truly love, such as champagne flutes that were a wedding gift from my late mother-in-law and a demitasse set from my Oma.

One thing that has changed over time is the smell emanating from the cabinet when the door opens. My grandparent’s home was always heated with a wood stove. When something needed to come out of the cabinet, the singular odor of warm, burned wood would come wafting from its interior. Unfortunately, that fragrance has dissipated over time, but has left a vivid, lingering memory.  

So from Connecticut pine tree, to cherished keepsake in New York, I find so much joy in this china cabinet. It is one of the few items from a family member that I can track its entire history. Hopefully one of my children will want to choose this cabinet for their own, continuing its journey within the family. One can only wonder where it may end up down the road.

Course Blog #5: Vincero Watch

Throughout the duration of this course, one characteristic of myself that I have continually stressed is my desire to live a minimalistic lifestyle. In spite of this, I feel as if it is imperative to reiterate that the objects I do like to surround myself with tend to exhibit a strong sense of value either through monetary or symbolic means. Similar to my previous article on my Ray-Ban Sunglasses, another “luxurious” object I have recently acquired a few months ago is a watch from Vincero. Although this object is new and recently purchased, I felt that this would be excellent opportunity to discuss its unique physical attributes and history. Consequently, this week’s blog post will be centered around my newly obtained Vincero watch as explore to why I feel this object complements my minimalistic lifestyle.

A close up of my Vincero watch.
My Vincero watch laid across my desk.

For starters, I want to give to detailed description of what makes up my Vincero watch. In terms of physical dimensions, the face of the watch has a diameter of 42mm, a thickness of 10mm (top of glass to bottom caseback), and the length of the entire watch is about 24.5mm. Moreover, according to specifications on Vincero’s website, the face of the watch is made out of silver 316L surgical grade stainless steel with a very nice blue sunray on the dial of the object. In addition, the strap of the watch was assembled with high quality Italian brown leather and the glass that covers the mechanical parts of the watch was made from a sapphire coated crystal, a scratch resistant material. Also, the Vincero logo is printed in the center of the watch and on the back is the company’s moto “Veni, Vidi, Vici” which is Latin for “I came, I saw, I conquered” surrounds a piece of Italian marble that is placed within each Vincero watch.

The backside of my Vincero watch.

The case for my watch is also worthy of attention due the high-quality materials that make up its physical dimensions. The case is composed of a hard and durable cardboard like material with a sleek black matte finish. In addition, the name of the company and its unique logo are also printed in the center of the cover. Inside, there is a black, soft felt like material that composes the inner surface area of the case with “Live Your Legacy”, one of the company’s mottos, printed in golden color on the top portion of the case.

The inside of my case along side my Vincero watch.

To digress slightly, I received this watch as Christmas present this winter from my parents. I don’t usually ask for much when it comes to gifts, but they insisted that I choose something. As a result, I ended up doing research on different watch companies and when I came across Vincero watches, I’m not surprised why this particular object stood out to me. In comparison to other watches, this particular model was very minimalistic in design in terms of physical appearance. Unlike most other watches, the design of this model didn’t have any claustrophobic numbers or symbols on its face; instead, it was sleek and minimal, two characteristics that really resonated with me.

The top side of my case with the Vincero logo.

After owning this watch for the past three months, I feel as if I’m ready to explore some of the history of this object and how it was produced. When I conducted research, I discovered that all of Vincero’s watches are made inhouse with supplies gathered all across the world through their global value chain. According to the company, all of the designing and assembly is done by themselves and is never outsourced in order to preserve quality in their product. Furthermore, I had discovered that all of the watch movement mechanisms come from Japan, the leather and marble come from Italy, and the stainless steel and sapphire glass comes China. Moreover, Vincero is based in San Diego, California so it can be assumed that this is where these watches are actually assembled and shipped from.

Even after owning this watch for over this short period of time, it still amazes me that this company was able to craft a product at such a fair price while also being very high in quality. With such a strong attention to detail, a pragmatic and fashionable purpose, and a rich history in terms how this object was produced from parts from across globe, it is no surprise to why this watch remains one of my favorite personal objects. In my opinion, I feel as if this watch truly conveys the ideals of a minimalist mindset, and as I continue to wear this object, I will be able to fully appreciate the skilled craftsmanship that went into its creation.