By Laurie Millman, Travel Features Syndicate
With just days to go before closing for good on January 27, New-York Historical Society is extending its evening hours for people to see its blockbuster exhibit, Harry Potter: A History of Magic in its final week.
Because of the extraordinary popularity of the exhibit, the museum is staying open until 7 pm most weekdays and until midnight on Friday and Saturday of the final week. Advance booking of the timed-tickets is essential.
Visitors will also receive 10% discount for dinner at Storico, the restaurant within New-York Historical, when they present an exhibition ticket during the last week of its run.
The blockbuster British Library exhibition at New-York Historical Society captures the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories with manuscripts from J.K. Rowling’s personal archives, original illustrations from Harry Potter artists, costumes and set models from the award-winning play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and centuries-old books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the British Library, New-York Historical, and other museums.
“Harry Potter” is a must-see on so many levels. It isn’t just for fans of J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular series, providing amazing insights into her creative process through glimpses at original hand-written drafts and drawings, but insights into the history of magic – the centuries of folklore, myth and legend – that provided the foundation for her stories. You see the original documents and artifacts that Rowling drew on history and tradition (I thought it all came from her imagination, and did not realize everything, even the names she used, had a foundation in history. You also realize how magic and witchcraft actually provided the foundation of science and medicine.
Visit harrypotter.nyhistory.org to book your timed-tickets in advance.
So Much to See
We spent an entire day at the Historical Society. There are so many fascinating exhibits – some which are permanent, like a collection of Tiffany lamps and a room devoted to everyday objects of old New York that remind you of the Smithsonian, and some exhibits which are temporary and constantly change.
One of the exhibits, Women’s Voices, is an innovative, interactive wall display showcasing American women who had an impact on New York City and America. The projected touch screen is fun to choose a written bio or an interview of the selected woman. An historic timeline offers further insights into related topics. The selection of women will continue to grow over time, especially as there are so many disciplines where women made an impact – from community activism to the arts to engineering to education to politics.
Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
Now through March 3, 2019
Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow explores the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the 50 years after the Civil War. When slavery ended in 1865, a period of Reconstruction began, leading to such achievements as the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. By 1868, all persons born in the United States were citizens and equal under the law. But efforts to create an interracial democracy were contested from the start. A harsh backlash ensued, ushering in a half century of the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow. Opening to mark the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the exhibition is organized chronologically from the end of the Civil War to the end of World War I and highlights the central role played by African Americans in advocating for their rights. It also examines the depth and breadth of opposition to black advancement. Art, artifacts, photographs, and media help visitors explore these transformative decades in American history and understand their continuing relevance today.
Mort Gerberg Cartoons: A New Yorker’s Perspective
COMING SOON: February 15 – May 5, 2019
Artist Mort Gerberg grew up with a pencil in his hand, creating cartoons from the time he was a young boy in his native Brooklyn. Illustrated with a sensitivity and humor that have made him beloved by his audiences, his work has been featured in major publications, including the New Yorker and Saturday Review. The 100 cartoons on view in this exhibition cover a range of topics, such as life in New York City, women, youth, old age, and politics.
Meditations in an Emergency
Now through April 28, 2019
The New-York Historical Society’s first artist-in-residence, Bettina von Zwehl, presents new works inspired by her study of the Museum’s collection of American portrait miniatures and silhouettes, including profile drawings by Benjamin Tappan (1773–1857). The 17 silhouette portrait photographs of New York City teens—a silent memorial for those who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018—serve as a catalyst to engage viewers with ideas of protest and teen activism. Based in London, von Zwehl is an internationally recognized fine art photographer whose work explores the form and practice of portraiture by drawing upon historical iconography as well as the traditions of painted portrait miniatures and cut-paper silhouettes. Her powerful and intimate photographs honor the past while expanding the boundaries of portraiture.
Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean
Now through May 27, 2019
Contemporary artist Betye Saar has shaped the development of assemblage art in the United States, particularly as a device to illuminate social and political concerns. A key figure in the Black Arts Movement and the feminist art movement of the 1960–70s, Saar’s distinct vision harmonizes the personal and the political. Over the years, Saar has transformed the representation of African Americans in our culture by recycling and reclaiming derogatory images such as Aunt Jemimas, Uncle Toms, sambos, and mammies to confront the continued racism in American society and create representations of strength and perseverance. This exhibition focuses on one facet of her work—washboards—created between 1997 and 2017. Presented in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, part of the Center for Women’s History, the exhibition is organized by the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles.
Audubon’s Birds of America
Visitors have the unique experience of viewing John James Audubon’s spectacular watercolor models for the 435 plates of The Birds of America (1827–38) with their corresponding plates from the double-elephant-folio series, engraved by Robert Havell Jr. Each month, the exhibition rotates to highlight new species—featured in the order they appear in Audubon’s publication—which showcase the artist’s creative process and his contributions to ornithological illustration. Other works from New-York Historical’s collection, the world’s largest repository of Auduboniana, illuminate Audubon’s process. January welcomes the Northern Parula, and in February, the Peregrine Falcon is on view. Accompanying the Peregrine Falcon is a photograph of Damien Mitchell’s mural located at 752 St. Nicholas Avenue inspired by Audubon’s watercolor.
Objects Tell Stories, the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps, and the Center for
Women’s History on the Fourth Floor
Explore American history through stunning exhibitions and captivating interactive media on the transformed fourth floor. Themed displays in the North Gallery present a variety of topics—such as slavery, war, infrastructure, childhood, recreation, and 9/11—offering unexpected and surprising perspectives on collection highlights. Touchscreens and interactive kiosks allow visitors to explore American history and engage with objects like never before.
As the centerpiece of the fourth floor, the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps features 100 illuminated Tiffany lampshades from its spectacular collection displayed within a dramatically lit jewel-like space. Within our new Center for Women’s History, visitors discover the hidden connections among exceptional and unknown women who left their mark on New York and the nation with the multimedia digital installation, Women’s Voices, and through rotating exhibitions in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery. Objects from the Billie Jean King Archive are also on view.
Collector’s Choice: Highlights from the Permanent Collection
Since 1804, the New-York Historical Society has been welcoming to its collection some of the most esteemed artworks of the modern world. Collector’s Choice: Highlights from the Permanent Collection showcases a selection of paintings that reflect the individual tastes of several New York City collectors who donated their holdings to New-York Historical. Joining Picasso’s Le Tricorne ballet curtain are featured American and European masterpieces spanning the 14th through the 21st centuries from Luman Reed, Thomas Jefferson Bryan, and Robert L. Stuart, including colonial portraits of children, marine and maritime subjects, and an installation showcasing recently collected contemporary works.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street), 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org.