Exhibits from Previous Years
View our diverse array of previous exhibits illustrating the interesting history of the Kingston area.
A highlight of this year’s exhibit is a recent major donation to the organization, a pair of portraits by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852) of General George Henry Sharpe as a boy with his mother and father. This significant gift is an exciting discovery by a local collector who devotedly arranged their return to Kingston after many generations. Adding to the significance of the portraits is the high reputation George Henry Sharpe achieved later in life as prominent figure in the Union Army and leading citizen of Kingston. His imposing mansion on Albany Avenue was demolished for a parking lot in 1967.
Another section of the exhibit honors the centennial commemoration of Kingston’s part in World War I. The United States joined in the war against the German Empire April 6, 1917, two and half years after the start of the war on July 28, 1914. The exhibit contains memorabilia from the William Anderson Carl Collection and the FHK Archives, including items from Anderson’s tour of duty in France, photographs, and most notably his medal, the Croix de Guerre received from the French Government for the performance of heroic deeds in combat.
A slide presentation prepared by Peter Roberts runs continuously in the gallery featuring images that depict Kingston’s role in 1917-1918 from the Carl Collection, the Samuel Bernstein Collection, and the FHK Archives. A special loan from the American Legion, Post 150, of the iconic artwork Columbia by Edwin Howland Blashfield (1919) completes the tribute.
2016: Celebrating 50 Years
The 2016 Gallery exhibition features highlights from Friends of Historic Kingston collections.
This exhibition informed members and visitors about the considerable breadth and depth of FHK’s collections, ranging from fine paintings of Kingston scenes by notable artists and architectural drawings by Kingston’s leading architects of the past, to a model of historic steamboats. Most of the objects in the exhibit have never been on public view, but are either recent acquisitions or have long been preserved in FHK’s archives. A few of the objects had been recently conserved or are in need of conservation; placing them on display alerted visitors to the ongoing need for funds for conservation. But overall the purpose of the exhibition was to entertain and enlighten, to raise public awareness of the richness and variety of our city’s culture and history.
This exhibition was the result of a collaborative effort headed by William Rhoads, Historian, Frank Futral, Exhibit Designer and Editor, and Jane Kellar, Executive Director, with the assistance of Nancy Chando, Sanford Levy, Pat Murphy, Paul O’Neill, and Peter Roberts.
Funding was provided by the Fred J. Johnston Preservation Trust and the Klock Foundation.
2015: Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School
This exhibit was the first presentation of the work of this Kingston native, one of the leading members of the Hudson River School. The exhibition at the Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery portrayed the artist among family members in his Rondout neighborhood, where he lived his entire life, and also among the circle of artists with whom he painted on sketching trips in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills and Adirondacks, and in New York City. It will feature never-before-seen works from the McEntee family and local collectors and works from museums as diverse as the Adirondack Museum, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont, and the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston.
The guest curator of “Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School” is Lowell Thing, Kingston resident and former Friends Board Chair. Mr. Thing is also contributing an essay, along with Dr. William B. Rhoads, to a full-color catalogue of the McEntee exhibition, co-published with Black Dome Press. Lowell Thing is also the author of the forthcoming book, The Street that Built a City, a history of Rondout’s Chestnut Street, also published by Black Dome Press.
Jervis McEntee was the son of the Resident Engineer of the Delaware & Hudson Canal, which brought coal to Kingston’s Rondout port from the Pennsylvania coalfields. James McEntee, Jervis’s father, bought land on a hill overlooking the Rondout Creek and Hudson River and built his family’s homestead, which eventually included an art studio for his son, Jervis. The studio was designed by the celebrated architect, Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park in New York City, who married McEntee’s sister while the studio was being built.
Like many American painters of his day, McEntee chose landscapes as the subjects of his paintings. He briefly received instruction from painter Frederic Edwin Church, the builder of Olana, and almost immediately began selling paintings. McEntee’s preference for the landscape was also closely tied to his enjoyment of the outdoors. In his journal, he frequently mentions taking long walks from the family homestead in all directions. On these walks, he noticed views that he would return to and draw or paint. Surviving works show views across the Hudson River from Rondout; Hussey Hill, across the Rondout Creek to the south; and scenes in fall and winter along the Rondout and Esopus Creeks, including locations close to uptown Kingston and nearby Hurley.
In addition to paintings, other works on view in “Jervis McEntee: Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School” include drawings by the artist; vintage photographs of McEntee family members and close friends, including Edwin Booth, the famous 19th century actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln’s assassin; and illustrated books by the artist.
2014: Kingston—The IBM Years
This exhibit spotlighted some of IBM’s signature achievements during its 40-year stay in Ulster County, including the SAGE air defense system and System/360 mainframe, but with an equal focus on the people who worked for the computer giant and the lives and neighborhoods they created for themselves locally.
Under the direction of Prof. Roger Panetta of Fordham University, Friends volunteers recorded more than 50 oral histories of people in the community, including “IBMers” themselves and others who did business with IBM.
The exhibit included one of the earliest electric typewriters produced in Kingston, and rare vintage photographs of the SAGE project, the testing floor for the System/360 mainframe and the typewriter assembly line. IBMers have lent their employee badges and scrapbooks filled with memories of promotions, work dinners and off-site training.
An illustrated book, co-published with Black Dome Press, accompanies the exhibition. It includes a preface by Ward Mintz, the project director, and essays by some of the Hudson Valley’s most illustrious scholars, including Panetta, Harvey Flad, co-author of Main Street to Mainframes: Landscape and Social Change in Poughkeepsie; and William B. Rhoads, author of Ulster County, New York, The Architectural History and Guide.
The book, with 150 illustrations, many in color, retails for $25.95.
Visit the online exhibition by clicking here.
The website was created by Jennifer Palmentiero, Digital Services Librarian at SENYLRC, with assistance from Ward Mintz, exhibition curator and board member of Friends of Historic Kingston. Kingston—The IBM Years received initial funding from the Architecture + Design Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Services & Promotion Fund administered by Arts Mid-Hudson, the Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, the New York Council for the Humanities, and three anonymous donors.
2013: Greetings From Kingston: A Story in Postcards
This exhibit featured 100 vintage postcards showcasing the rich historic and architectural heritage of our city. The postcards visually reconstruct the remarkable story of our community, our energy and what we value. They serve to remind viewers of what has been lost, but at the same time, how much more has been saved.
2012: Saving the Best to Last
The story of Fred J. Johnston, Kingston’s noted Early American Antiques dealer and Preservationist, was the featured exhibit, which included photographs of the buildings which have received Preservation Awards from the Friends of Historic Kingston. Curator was artist and Board member Ken Gray.
2011: Anton Otto Fischer
Eighteen marine paintings of this noted Woodstock and Kingston artist and illustrator were on display in the Museum Gallery. The paintings were from the collection of the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Show curators were Allynne and Russell Lange.
2010: Street Whys
This exhibit featured Kingston City Historian Ed Ford greeting museum visitors and signing his popular book “Street Whys” which told the history and anecdotes of each street in Kingston.
2009: Hudson Fulton: Take Two
As part of New York State’s Quadricentennial celebration, 10 artists were invited to create contemporary responses to memorabilia from the 1909 Hudson-Fulton observance. The mixed media exhibit was curated by FHK Board Member and artist Ken Gray.
2008: Joseph Tubby, Artist, Rondout N.Y.
A retrospective of Joseph Tubby (1821-1896), a nineteenth century Kingston artist noted for his paintings of local landscapes was featured in the Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery for the 2008 season. The exhibit featured some of Tubby’s finest landscapes that depict scenes of Kingston, Esopus and the Rondout Creek, and include streets, churches and buildings that can still be seen today.
2007: Mom and Pop Stores of Kingston, NY
The 2007 exhibit featured a collection of photographs by Santino Rovereto taken of “Mom and Pop” stores throughout Kingston in the early 1980′s. It also included 60 photographs of “Mom and Pop” stores reproduced from real estate listings of the 1950′s, photos of stores slated to be demolished by urban renewal in the 1970′s, and information on store owners as far back as the 1930′s compiled by City of Kingston Historian and FHK Board Member Edwin M. Ford.
2006: Kingston’s Greatest Generation
Photo and film footage feature local troops departing for World War II and the homefront heroes. The core of the exhibit featured three scrapbooks compiled by Kingston resident Anna Norton Dederick (deceased) and containing more than 5,000 photos and articles from the Daily Freeman about local servicemen. The contents were preserved by FHK on microfilm and presented to the Kingston Area Library so the public can search for information.
Please enjoy a video that was featured in the “Kingston’s Greatest Generation” exhibit. On the same page, you will find additional videos from other past exhibits.
2005: Julia McEntee Dillon: A Retrospective
The retrospective featured more than 20 works by Kingston artist Julia Dillon (1834-1918), noted for her floral paintings. The exhibit brought to fruition an aspiration of many years to show the work of this remarkable woman whose intellect and courage took her far beyond the constraints of the time and society into which she was born.