Ulster County Historical Society

Ulster County Historical Society We offer exhibitions and programs on Ulster County history
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Great outing yesterday to Kinderhook and the  Pop up at the
01/15/2023

Great outing yesterday to Kinderhook and the Pop up at the

A sneak peek of what we've been working on at the museum this winter - and a clue to the subject of our 2023 exhibition!...
01/14/2023

A sneak peek of what we've been working on at the museum this winter - and a clue to the subject of our 2023 exhibition! Can you guess?

Come back to the Roaring 20s with Needle and Roxie. Friday night was great fun. There are a few tickets left for Saturda...
05/14/2022

Come back to the Roaring 20s with Needle and Roxie. Friday night was great fun. There are a few tickets left for Saturday night. Come support a worthy institution, enjoy a mystery, sample excellent food, and taste some local brew under the stars.

Museum Monday!Have you ever longed to go behind the scenes at a museum? Have you wanted to look behind the closed doors ...
04/11/2022

Museum Monday!

Have you ever longed to go behind the scenes at a museum? Have you wanted to look behind the closed doors and see what isn’t on display? Most museums, ours included, have objects that are not constantly on display. These need to be carefully stored, with attention to humidity, temperature, and other environmental factors that could damage them. This week, we give you a peak into our textile/storage room. We have a large collection of textiles, both original articles of clothing from the 19th and early 20th centuries and reproductions that were made for various events. On the rack in this picture are the reproductions. Hidden away in acid-free paper and boxes are the real textiles. In a future Museum Monday we will publish some pictures of some of our textile collection. Because we are moving things around in the museum and painting walls, we have also put some objects that have been taken off the walls in this room. On the table you can see the pine cone and other natural objects picture frames that were made by Clarence Elting.

Museum Monday!The museum has two keyboards in its collection.  The first is an Organ-Harmonium.  Interestingly, this ins...
03/28/2022

Museum Monday!

The museum has two keyboards in its collection. The first is an Organ-Harmonium. Interestingly, this instrument is portable and could be carried to country churches or a neighbor's house for special occasions. Ours started its life in the Marbletown Reformed Church and was made in 1857. The instrument was made by A. Mason & Hamblin of Massachusetts three years after the firm was founded.

The other piano, called a square piano, was made in the 1840s. It was designed as a major piece of furniture to announce to visitors that this was a refined household. This piano was made by Glen, Rogers & Co of New York City.

(Dining room piano is first one described)

A message from our friends at the Rosendale Theatre about an upcoming program to celebrate Women’s History Month to be h...
03/17/2022

A message from our friends at the Rosendale Theatre about an upcoming program to celebrate Women’s History Month to be held at 7PM on March 30.

Dawn Scibilla, award-winning filmmaker, will be showing clips from her upcoming documentary based on the highly acclaimed book by Elisabeth Israels Perry, After the Vote: Feminist Politics in La Guardia’s New York. (Oxford University Press, 2019). Both book and film describe the early successes of NY feminists, in brining down the corrupt practices of Tammany Hall and enacting a reform agenda.

The book, lauded as a worthy capstone to Elisabeth’s Perry’s rich career as a feminist historian and biographer, was completed shorty before her death. It capitalizes on her many years of careful thinking and deep knowledge of of context. After the Vote was awarded the NY Historical Society’s Lehman Prize for Scholarship in 2019.

Scibilia’s debut documentary, HOME, won an Emmy Award for Best Writing and two Emmy Award nominations for Best Documentary and Best Photography. Scibilla, who assisted Perry with research and interviewed her as well as many other historians and activists for the film, will be at the Theatre to answer questions. Dawn is a native New Yorker and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Museum Monday!It always feels special when we can connect an object in our collection with its’ story—who did it belong ...
01/31/2022

Museum Monday!

It always feels special when we can connect an object in our collection with its’ story—who did it belong to, what is its connection to Ulster County. And sometimes there is an even more personal link! Here is the story of the sewing box in the picture.

The earliest sewing containers were simple boxes that kept all a seamstress’ supplies in one place. By the 18th century, craftspeople started making fancy boxes to hold the fine sewing tools of aristocrats and ladies of the courts. And by the 19th century there was a market for practical sewing boxes to hold the tools and notions a housewife would need. Steel needles, pins, scissors, buttons, hooks and eyes needed to be protected from rust. Delicate threads needed to be protected as well. Sewing boxes typically contained pincushions, bees wax, and a folding measure as well.

UCHS was gifted a beautifully preserved sewing box that belonged to the maternal great grandmother of Sarah Draney, a museum member, ex-trustee and long-time Ulster County resident. This box belonged to a Swedish immigrant, Henrietta Nelson, who settled in Poughkeepsie; she is pictured below. Sarah also shared with us a picture of her great grandmother’s family. In the picture you can see Henrietta, Henrietta’s daughter and granddaughter- Sarah’s mother. Also in the picture is her grandfather, a well-respected plumber in the Poughkeepsie area, and friend of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Nominate Us for Chronogram Magazine's 2022 Reader Choice Awards!We are thrilled to announce that we are in the running f...
01/27/2022

Nominate Us for Chronogram Magazine's 2022 Reader Choice Awards!

We are thrilled to announce that we are in the running for readers’ choice "Arts and Entertainment" in Chronogram magazine's 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards - The Chronogrammies.
Starting January 1 - Feb 15 you can nominate us in the category "Historical Site/Museum"

The more nominations we get, the better our chances are of moving in the voting round!
Click here to vote: https://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/Chronogrammies/Page #/gallery?group=403180

Those with the most nominations by February 15 will be eligible to move into the voting rounds from April 1-May 15!

From all of us at the Ulster County Historical Society, we thank you!

MUSEUM OPENING: Saturday, June 5, 2021. HOURS: Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 5pm, or by appointment. ADMISSION: Adults $10, Seniors & Students $5, Members FREE

Happy New Year!Museum MondayLe Depart and Le RetourYoung men going off to seek their fortunes, returning home as seasone...
01/03/2022

Happy New Year!

Museum Monday

Le Depart and Le Retour

Young men going off to seek their fortunes, returning home as seasoned veterans—an image that was powerful in the 1850s and today. Starting in 1858, the company of Cornelius and Baker, started making statues for middle class parlors. Advertised as “bronze ornaments” these pieces were actually made of inexpensive zinc finished to look like brass. Small parlor sculptures, often reproductions of larger, more expensive marbles and bronzes, were popular on parlor tables and shelves where they fit in with other “tasteful” decorations.

It's Throw Back Thursday! Before the advent of the Franklin stove and modern cooking ranges, homes had shallow, wide fir...
12/16/2021

It's Throw Back Thursday! Before the advent of the Franklin stove and modern cooking ranges, homes had shallow, wide fireplaces, for both heating and cooking. The Ulster County Historical Society's museum, housed in the historic Bevier House, is notable for its 18th century kitchen, which has a wonderful example of one of these fireplaces, and a lot of the items that would have been used to cook meals in it. Come see it next spring when we open for the 2022 season!

The times they are a changing…. At our annual members’ meeting we announced that we will be transitioning from a “house ...
12/06/2021

The times they are a changing…. At our annual members’ meeting we announced that we will be transitioning from a “house museum” to a museum that features annual exhibits spread across the first floor. Critical to that change is moving some of our period furniture and other objects from the parlor to storage. Your hard-working board started that process this week by checking over the inventory and then packing up china, books, and other small objects for the journey to the attic. A few items will travel to the second floor as part of a vignette we are setting up in the Civil War Room. We thought you might enjoy seeing a few pictures of this process as our early December Museum Monday offering.

Calling all railroad fans! We have a new video on our YouTube channel! Tobe Carey, a documentary filmmaker with several ...
12/03/2021

Calling all railroad fans! We have a new video on our YouTube channel!
Tobe Carey, a documentary filmmaker with several documentaries which highlight Hudson Valley history to his credit, focused on a history of the making of Rails to the Catskills. He highlighted the following four chapters from the documentary with an introduction/explanation of each:

• For Love of Trains
• Before the railroads - Canals
• The Catskill Mountain Railway and the Otis Elevating 07:05 min.
• Ulster & Delaware (from the building of the Ashokan Reservoir until the last ride of the U&D)

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and be the first to know when we put up a new video! Watch here: https://youtu.be/7sMJbUy65Ek

Tobe Carey, a documentary filmmaker with several documentaries which highlight Hudson Valley history to his credit, focused on a history of the making of Rai...

Museum Monday!This week we would like to let you in on a little-known part of our collection.  Did you know we have the ...
11/15/2021

Museum Monday!

This week we would like to let you in on a little-known part of our collection. Did you know we have the largest collection of Civil War memorabilia in Ulster County? Included in this collection are rifles, cannon balls, dented canteens, belt buckles, cartridge pouches, even a pair of shackles. This collection was given to the museum in 1965 by Will Plank who divided his collection between the Ulster County Historical Society and West Point.

The featured picture for today is of two pairs of epaulets. These were worn on the shoulders and were found at the Seven Pines battlefield. The fancier version was worn with dress uniforms.

It's Throw Back Thursday! Shave horses were benches wood workers used to make shingles and barrel staves. You sit on it ...
11/04/2021

It's Throw Back Thursday! Shave horses were benches wood workers used to make shingles and barrel staves. You sit on it and the bench has a simple vice to hold the piece of wood that is being worked. Most are simple planks with four removable legs, usually made by the craftsperson. The one pictured here in the foreground of our historic tool room is unique- the maker used a "knee" limb from a tree to replace 2 of the legs, creating a bench that is a piece of sculpture as well as a tool!
(image descriptor- folk art shave horse in foreground with agricultural tools in the background.)

Museum Tuesday!Ah, I'm sure all our followers can identify these items.  One a rather simple box with a hole in it, chil...
11/02/2021

Museum Tuesday!

Ah, I'm sure all our followers can identify these items. One a rather simple box with a hole in it, child sized. The other a rather elegant spindle back chair, with beautiful painting on the back and an elegant wooden skirt covering up the space where a chamber pot would be placed. Think of what it must have been like to use these objects. On the one hand, how convenient to have your commode wherever you want it--close by or in another room. On the other hand, think of what was involved in emptying it each morning. Consider the ancient houses many of us live in--where would you carry it to empty the contents. It is the objects like these that we showcase in the Museum, the objects of everyday life, both simple and elaborate, that help connect us to our modern lives and those of the earlier residents of the area.

10/28/2021
Museum Monday!INLAID TABLE AND CHAIRThe image shows two 19th century laquered objects made out of paper-mache and with m...
10/18/2021

Museum Monday!

INLAID TABLE AND CHAIR

The image shows two 19th century laquered objects made out of paper-mache and with mother of pearl decoration--a flip top table (this one without a seat-see our posting on October 4) and a chair. The top tilts up so that it can be tucked away against a wall when not in use.

The image shows two 19th century lacquered objects made out of paper-mache and with mother of pearl decoration--a flip-top table (this one without a seat-see our posting on October 4) and a chair. The top tilts up so that it can be tucked away against a wall when not in use. shapers that are easier to create with paper than with wood. And the mother of pearl could be sliced very thinly and applied with glue and varnish to appear as if inlaid. Weight-bearing parts of these objects, such as the base of the table and legs of the chair, are made out of wood and decorated to match.

Papier-mache is paper pulp and/or paper strips mixed with glue to create a moldable, highly durable material. Machinery for molding and pressing furniture parts made out of papier-mache was developed in the 19th century. Most papier-mache furniture was imported from England. This furniture could be decorated to look like more expensive pieces and was often painted black to resemble ebony.

Fabulous workshop-coil baskets with pine needles- today. Watch for future listings of our 2022 workshops and lectures. T...
10/17/2021

Fabulous workshop-coil baskets with pine needles- today. Watch for future listings of our 2022 workshops and lectures. Thank you Katie Grove for patient instruction.

Museum Monday!We would like to do something different this year and invite you to help us with our research! This week’s...
09/20/2021

Museum Monday!

We would like to do something different this year and invite you to help us with our research! This week’s image is a chair in search of more information! We know it is a 19th century Shaker ladder back chair. But look at the legs! It has springs for rocking. What an interesting concept. The back legs are static, while you can rock yourself by means of the front legs. Anyone have more information about this unique object? Perhaps you would like to examine it in person? Come to the museum and visit us!

Curious about how wool goes from the sheep to a shawl?  Come watch the process (except for shearing!) at the museum toda...
09/18/2021

Curious about how wool goes from the sheep to a shawl? Come watch the process (except for shearing!) at the museum today and tomorrow as the Elmendorf Hand Spinners Guild demonstrate carding, spinning, and weaving.

Curious how yarn is created?  Watch the Elmendorf Hand Spinners Guild card yarn, spin, and weave. Today and tomorrow at ...
09/18/2021

Curious how yarn is created? Watch the Elmendorf Hand Spinners Guild card yarn, spin, and weave. Today and tomorrow at the museum

Antique appraisal day from 10-2.  Come early to avoid the rush. Bring your jewels, objects, furniture and paintings (pic...
09/12/2021

Antique appraisal day from 10-2. Come early to avoid the rush. Bring your jewels, objects, furniture and paintings (pictures work). It’s a gorgeous day to get appraised!!

Throw-back Thursday!Spinning wheels were ubiquitous in Ulster County homes through the 19th century. Men raised the flax...
09/09/2021

Throw-back Thursday!
Spinning wheels were ubiquitous in Ulster County homes through the 19th century. Men raised the flax for linen and the sheep for wool, but women spun the fiber to make cloth and made everyone's clothes, so just about everyone had to have a spinning wheel. The Ulster County Historical Society has a great collection of vernacular textile implements currently featured in our museum. Perhaps you have something you want appraised- come to our appraisal day this Sunday and experts will tell you what you have and what it is worth!
(Image descriptor- a wooden spinning wheel on display.)

Museum Monday!POTTERY TO STORE FOOD AND DRINK The abundant clay in Ulster County gave rise to a local pottery industry. ...
09/06/2021

Museum Monday!

POTTERY TO STORE FOOD AND DRINK

The abundant clay in Ulster County gave rise to a local pottery industry. The cabinet to the right of the fireplace houses two types of traditional pottery: stoneware and slipware.

Merchants used the high-fired, extremely durable stoneware to store preserved food stuffs such as sauerkraut and pickles (popular German and Dutch offerings), as well as salted meats and fish. Beer and ciders were sold or dispensed from stoneware bottles and jugs.

The cupboards also display pewter and copper wares, along with a selection of glassware and liquor bottles. There is also an interesting collection of slipware, glazed earthenware decorated with red and yellow slip (liquid clay) decoration. Slipware was popular during the early colonial period and sometimes was made to commemorate landmark events, such as a birth or marriage. Notice the names and lettering on some of these plates.

Curious what the labels say? Visit the Museum on Saturday or Sunday to see these incredible items in person!

Eager to know how much Grandma’s quilt is worth? Wondering if that wavy mirror in the hall really has any value, or if M...
09/04/2021

Eager to know how much Grandma’s quilt is worth? Wondering if that wavy mirror in the hall really has any value, or if Mom’s locket is truly special?

Now, you can find out! Join us for some serious fun at the Ulster County Historical Society’s Antiques Appraisal Day on Sunday, September 12 with Sanford Levy of Jenkinstown Antiques, Charlie Kavanagh of Schneider’s Jewelers, Jean Papin, and Bill Merchant, four local specialists, who will examine paintings, vintage tools, furniture, decorative objects, jewelry, and ephemera for you and offer a fair estimate of their current value. Larger items are welcome but may also be shown in photographs.

The cost per item is $10, or 3 items for $25, with a limit of 3 items per person, unless availability permits otherwise.

We look forward to seeing you at The Bevier House with all of your treasures!

Throw back Thursday! Before the invention of the Franklin stove, fireplaces were the only way people had to heat their h...
08/26/2021

Throw back Thursday! Before the invention of the Franklin stove, fireplaces were the only way people had to heat their houses and cook their food. The Ulster County Historical Society's museum is located in an historic home with parts that date to the 1680's! This fireplace, located in the oldest section of the house, is full of various historic items used to prepare meals in a fireplace. Come by and get a look- we are open weekends through October. (image descriptor- an early fireplace full of period cooking elements with pewter ware on the mantel and a flintlock hanging over it.)

Museum Monday!The most prominent of the Society’s early furniture pieces is the large cabinet with overhanging cornice t...
08/16/2021

Museum Monday!

The most prominent of the Society’s early furniture pieces is the large cabinet with overhanging cornice that is displayed in the first-floor hallway. It is a rare example of a German-American Schrank, meant to hold precious household textiles and clothing. It dates back to between 1715 and 1740. It is a variation of the more common Dutch-style kas. But unlike the Dutch kas, the Schrank’s interior provides space for heavier outdoor garments, which are hung on pegs.

This Schrank is a domestic tradition brought to New York by German immigrants who came from the Palentine Region along the Rhine River, or Die Platz. This is the same region as the Huguenots who settled nearby New Paltz. The Palentines settled among the Dutch in the Hudson Valley in the first decades of the 18th century.

Like the Dutch-style kas, the Schrank can be disassembled for easy transportation. The separate pieces are all held in place by the ball-footed base and heavy cornice.

Tickets available until Friday the 13th. Bring along some friends to solve the mystery together.
08/07/2021

Tickets available until Friday the 13th. Bring along some friends to solve the mystery together.

MUSEUM OPENING: Saturday, June 5, 2021. HOURS: Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 5pm, or by appointment. ADMISSION: Adults $10, Seniors & Students $5, Members FREE

Museum Monday! We don’t often think of mass-produced art for the middle classes as something that existed in the late 19...
08/02/2021

Museum Monday!
We don’t often think of mass-produced art for the middle classes as something that existed in the late 19th century—but there were sculptures that were created just for this audience. In the Museum Parlor is a sculpture titled ‘Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations’. Here, a Confederate war widow stands with her young son. He is clutching her legs. In her hand is a Bible. The woman is taking an oath of allegiance to the Union. This was the only way she could receive rations, including food. A freed enslaved boy looks on.

This sculpture was one of 80 extremely popular designs that John Rogers created. They were collectively called “Rogers Groups.” The sculptures were made of cast plaster and were marketed to middle-class households in the late 19th century. Because of its subject matter, the same statue is in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

Do you like mysteries, suspense, and solving puzzles? Then our next event is for you! Come and join us for a murder myst...
07/28/2021

Do you like mysteries, suspense, and solving puzzles? Then our next event is for you! Come and join us for a murder mystery party! There are only a few weeks left to purchase tickets, so follow the link to claim yours: https://ulstercountyhs.org/event/murder-at-the-bevier-house/

MUSEUM OPENING: Saturday, June 5, 2021. HOURS: Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 5pm, or by appointment. ADMISSION: Adults $10, Seniors & Students $5, Members FREE

07/24/2021

This week’s Shawangunk Journal featured the Spinning and Stitching exhibit with a full page article. Get a sense of the exhibit and visit us! Open today and tomorrow 11-4.

Last weekend was our incredibly successful Dye Workshop! Here are some photos from this fantastic event!
07/24/2021

Last weekend was our incredibly successful Dye Workshop! Here are some photos from this fantastic event!

It's throwback Thursday! Before factories were established, most common items were made by hand, often by skilled local ...
07/22/2021

It's throwback Thursday! Before factories were established, most common items were made by hand, often by skilled local or itinerant craftspeople. The wonderful shave horse in the center of this picture of the UCHS tool room is a work of art. Most shave horses were benches with 4 removable feet, but the artist who made this unique piece used the "knee" of a tree to fashion this shaving horse. These were used to hold the raw material for shaving barrel staves and shingles. Come to the UCHS Museum and see this engaging piece of history!
(image descriptor- unique wooden shave horse with agricultural tools in the background)

Museum Monday!We think of so many things as modern inventions.  How many of us imagined that there was a colonial versio...
07/19/2021

Museum Monday!

We think of so many things as modern inventions. How many of us imagined that there was a colonial version of a Murphy bed or convertible couch! In colonial times, beds were placed where they were needed--you could even find a folding bed in a kitchen. Why? This bed was probably used by a person assigned to keep the coals alive in the hearth. This necessitated sleeping overnight in the kitchen. Beds of this period were far more pragmatic than comfortable--the mattress is stuffed with straw. In homes where space was limited, folding beds were an important invention. Like Murphy beds of the 20th century, these could be folded up fully made.

Dyeing workshop. Spinning and Stitching exhibit. Great weekend to visit the museum. Check out our website for more inter...
07/17/2021

Dyeing workshop. Spinning and Stitching exhibit. Great weekend to visit the museum. Check out our website for more interesting events related to textiles.

Address

2682 State Route 209
Kingston, NY
12401

Opening Hours

Saturday 11am - 4pm
Sunday 11am - 4pm

Telephone

(845) 377-1040

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