New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World Exhibit


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Another exhibit will mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York harbor, this one running September 13, 2009 – January 3, 2010. This exhibit, however, is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Many, if not most, of the documents included in the exhibition have never been shown publicly in this country. Some have never been exhibited at all. At the close of the exhibition, most will be returned to archival storage and will not be seen again.

South Street Seaport Museum will be partnering with the Dutch National Archives to present a remarkable exhibition, New Amsterdam: The Island At The Center Of The World. It will contain extraordinary early maps, as well as the oldest documentary ‘evidence’ on the early history of the settlement New York; the period of Dutch New Amsterdam (1609-1664).

The exhibition is divided into three sections: The World, The Island and The Origins, each with a different focus.

The World will feature approximately 20 watercolors by 17′h century cartographer Johannes Vingboons, illustrating trading posts from around the world.

The Island will contain extraordinary rare documents, maps and books about New Amsterdam, many of which have never before been exhibited in the United States. The centerpiece is the Schagen letter (1626), which is the oldest surviving evidence of the purchase of ‘manhattes’ from the Indians for goods worth 60 guilders. Many of the pieces belong to the National Archives of the Netherlands; other important loan items will come from the Royal Library in the Netherlands, the U.S. Library of Congress, the New York Historical Society and the Ostereichische National Bibliothek in Vienna.

The third section, The Origins, will include first-person stories of some of the Native Americans, the first foreign settlers from Santo Domingo, Brazilian Jews, pioneers from Europe and the first free Afro-American population.

The exhibition will be curated by Dutch historian and author Martine Gosselink and co curated by Russell Shorto. Ms. Gosselink curated the 2008 show At Home in the Golden Age: Masterpieces from the S0R Rusche collection at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. She is also editor of the publication Iran and the Netherlands: Interwoven Through the Ages, to be published in September 2009.

On September 12, 2009 South Street Seaport Museum is having a reception for the opening of a new exhibition to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of New Amsterdam by the Dutch. Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands will be attending the reception as well as other dignitaries from the Netherlands and the United States.

 

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  1. Pingback: Capitalizing On Our Dutch Heritage | The New York History Blog

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