Tag Archives: Columbia County

Olana to Host Irish History Themed Tours


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Events such as the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and 1850s led to a major influx of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Like many other families in this area, the Churches hired numerous Irish immigrants for their staff at Olana during the years Frederic Church lived on this property (1860-1900).

Two of the longest-serving employees were the Churches’ coachman and head cook, Michael and Jane McKenna – a brother and sister – both of whom were employed here for over a quarter-century. Olana will present special Irish-themed tours Friday-Sunday, March 11-13 & 18-20, at 10 and 11AM, 12, 1, 2 & 3PM.


Photo: Frederic Church’s coachman Michael McKenna is shown here with one of the Church’s horses. Collection Olana State Historic Site, NYS OPRHP.

Olana Partnership Elects New Chair, Board Members


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The Olana Partnership has elected Richard Sharp as Chair of the Board of Trustees at its annual meeting in New York City on January 29, 2011.

Mr. Sharp has been an active member of the Board since 2005, and was a driving force behind the creation of the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery which opened two years ago at Olana. He is an avid collector of nineteenth century American art and has frequently donated and loaned works in his collection to public museums. Mr. Sharp is a senior partner in the litigation department of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, a leading international law firm. He received his B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Brown University in 1970. He studied at Oxford University and the Hague Academy of International Law in 1970-1971, and received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979.

Mr. Sharp stated, “Olana is unique in combining extraordinary landscape design, architecture and collections. One of my top priorities is to renew our ties to the local community, while increasing our visibility nationally and internationally.” Mr. Sharp also seeks to foster close collaboration among the many Hudson Valley historic sites.

The Partnership also welcomed three new board members at the annual meeting: Stephen Clearman, Rebecca Desman, and Stephanie Zhang.

Stephen Clearman bought Kinderhook Farm in 2003 in Columbia County where he and his partner have established themselves as leading local producers of sustainably-raised beef cattle and sheep. Mr. Clearman started Geocapital Partners in 1984, where he managed a series of institutional venture capital partnerships. In 2002, he started Kinderhook Partners, which invests in small and little unknown publicly traded companies. His interest in Olana coincides with his interest in art and collecting, including Hudson River School paintings.

Mr. Clearman received an M.S. from Columbia University in 1974 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978.

Rebecca Desman is director at Deutsche Bank (DB) and has been an integral part of the growth of DB’s U.S. sales platform in flow credit and derivatives. Rebecca graduated from Princeton University in 2001, where she received her B.A. in Political Science. She plays an active role in undergraduate and diversity recruiting at DB and sits on the Global Markets Women’s Network Advisory Committee. While working at DB, Ms. Desman earned her M.S. in Non-Profit and Fundraising Management at Columbia University. After completing her masters, she joined two major clients of DB and helped set up The Darfur Project, which provided relief supplies for refugees. She is particularly involved in and motivated by global women’s issues and is active in several global charities. She is an avid appreciator and collector of art.

Stephanie Zhang is executive director in the Technology Division of Morgan Stanley and has 19 years of experience working in the financial services industry in New York and Asia. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Ms. Zhang worked in EJV Partners to help build out their data center operations. Since 2001, she has focused on building a set of technical solutions and processes in the area of Identity and Access Management for the global Morgan Stanley enterprise.

Ms. Zhang has travelled extensively in Asia, Europe and the Americas. She enjoys the diversity of New York City and takes advantage of its many cultural opportunities; her hobbies include jewelry-making, painting, photography, modern dance, and performance art. She holds a B.A in Computer Science and Statistics from the University of Wisconsin/Madison.

Call for Artists to Olana Plein Air Event


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Pre-register by September 18th for Paint Out Olana. Artists of all ages, mediums and experience levels are invited to showcase the Olana landscape on Sunday, October 3rd, from 12-4 p.m. Be inspired by the spectacular views and creative atmosphere of Olana State Historic Site.

Participation in the event is included in the site’s $5 vehicle use fee. A listing of artists pre-registered by September 18th will be available in the Visitor Center. Call 518-828-01356, x305 to pre-register.

House tours will be available on a first come, first served basis starting at 10 a.m., with the final tour of the day beginning promptly at 4 p.m. Come early to ensure tour availability and shorter wait times. House tour tickets are $12/adult, $10/student or senior, and free for children under 12 years of age.

Olana, the home and studio of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church, is a New York State Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. Olana is one of six historic sites and 15 parks administered by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. The Olana Partnership is a private, not-for-profit organization, which works cooperatively with New York State to support the preservation, restoration, development, and improvement of Olana State Historic Site. Call 518-828-0135, visit www.nysparks.com or www.olana.org for more information.

Olana State Historic Site to Open, Events Announced


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Olana State Historic Site will return to a summer schedule this Friday, April 2, 2010. As always, the Olana landscape remains open daily from 8 am until sunset for hiking, dog-walking, picnicking or just enjoying the view. All pets must be on leashes. The spring tour season kicks off with April Fools Olana! tours available Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3 at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Objects that just don’t belong are scattered throughout the house. See how many you can find! Standard tour fees apply.

Here is an list of upcoming events at Olana State Historic Site:

April Fools Olana!
Friday, April 2 – Saturday, April 3
Tours at 11AM, 1PM and 3PM daily

Olana’s been pranked! Objects that just don’t fit in are scattered throughout the house, some better hidden than others. Bring the family and see who has the sharpest eye. Admission is free for members of The Olana Partnership. $9/adult; $8/students and seniors, free for children under 12. Standard tours available on the hour and half hour except for the times listed above. Call (518) 828-0135 for information.

FIRST FRIDAYS SERIES: April 2 (Also May 7, June 4)

Easy Tai chi (10:00 AM – 12 PM)

Tap into the spirituality of nature (like a Hudson River School artist but without the paint)! Tai chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art. The body moves slowly and gently, while breathing deeply and meditating. Many practitioners believe that Tai chi helps the flow throughout the body of a proposed vital energy called qi, increasing our wellness. Join John Middlebrooks (Omega Institute) as he guides you in this intro class. Classes will meet at the education center; if weather permits we will practice out in the landscape that day. Please attend all three classes as they go in sequence and allow time for practice. Space is limited; register by the preceding Thursday: codonnell@olana.org; (518)828- 1872×110. Wagon House Education Center/Farm Complex. Adults. Free.

Visual Arts Workshop (1-3 PM)

Retired? Ready to finally explore your love of art? It is never too late! Adults with little or no formal art training will realize that creating art can be accomplished through a variety of materials and techniques. Create a work of art in a safe setting with new friends, providing a personal sense of accomplishment and ownership. Wagon House Education Center/Farm Complex. Adults (50+). Free. Register: codonnell@olana.org or (518) 828-1872 x110.

MyStory in History: Contemporary Art in a Historical World (4-5 PM)

Use the life of Frederic Church and his home, Olana, as inspiration, to take a new look at the world. In this mixed media after school drop-off art class lead by local art teacher Claudia Brehse, you will begin to think about the importance of art as a form of communication, about the “message of the medium” and why people collect and create art. Students will work in the studio to create the newest history- the history of you. Great for homeschoolers or teen art club members. Register: codonnell@olana.org or (518) 828-1872 x110.

Landscape Yoga (5:30-6:30 PM)

This gentle yoga class will bring the inspiring picturesque landscape views inside. Celebrate the spirituality of nature with yoga instructor Ed Sisk from the Yoga With Ed studio in Hudson, NY. Mats and modification tools will be provided; you are welcome to bring your own. Space is limited. Free. Register: codonnell@olana.org or (518).828.1872×110.

Educator Tour
Tuesday, April 6, 10am

Join area educators for a tour with Olana’s Director of Education. Discussion will include history as well as practical application, and participants are invited to sit down together after the tour to discuss content and classroom applications. Educator resources will be available. Reservations are required by 4pm Monday, April 5th. Regular tour rates apply, $9/adult, $8 student/senior. Call 518.828.0135 to reserve a space.

Family Tour at Olana
Saturday, April 10, 11:30 AM

Explore the house, its paintings and treasures from a child’s perspective. Take the family tour then stop by the Wagon House Education Center for Art in the Barn, or borrow a backpack full of activities to do on the grounds – a family day at Olana couldn’t be more perfect! Tours are geared for families with 6-12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are required by 4PM the preceding Friday. Call (518) 828-0135 for information. $9/adult; $8/students and seniors, free for children under 12 and members of The Olana Partnership.

An Historian’s Look at Victorian Flower Arranging: Lecture and Demonstration
Sunday, April 11, 1-3PM

Floral Decorations played an important role in 19th century interiors and entertaining. As one looks at the second half of the 19th century, each decade is distinguished by the type of flowers used and the style of floral arrangement — it is not all baby’s breath and lace! An illustrated lecture will show how flowers were used in arrangements, how flowers looked in the early 19th century, and how their appearance has changed through years of hybridizing and selection. Ellen McClelland Lesser’s demonstration will show how to create authentic arrangements using correct plant materials and containers. Ellen has done arrangements in the main house at Olana including the dining table arrangement for the annual holiday reception in the past. Ellen holds a Certificate in Commercial Floral Design from the New York Botanical Garden and a First Level Certificate from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana (Japanese floral design). Seating is limited; register by the preceding Friday: codonnell@olana.org; (518) 828.1872×110.

Rensselaerswijck Seminar Scheduled For Oct 1-3


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The Rensselaerswijck Seminar, this year themed “Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s Colonie: The Beginning of European Settlement of the Upper Hudson,” will be held in the New York State Museum’s Carole Huxley Theatre October 2nd and 3rd. Scholars and historians from this country and the Netherlands will present seminar topics over the two days, giving current information about the origins and history of Rensselaerwijck, a million acres that encompassed what is now Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia counties. Admission to the seminar is $75 for both days, $50 for one day, and $25 for students.

Noted author Russell Shorto will speak on “Oh, Henry: What Has the Hudson Year Wrought?” at the opening reception of the 32nd Annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar, Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the NYS Museum, Albany. Admission to Shorto’s talk is free.

The New Netherland Institute’s conference theme is a return to its roots as a platform for local historians to present their latest research on the only successful patroonship in New Netherland.

The members of the New Netherland Project staff will all take part. Charles T. Gehring, Ph.D., director of the project, Janny Venema, Ph.D., assistant director, and Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will present new information from their research specialty areas.

Shorto will also take part on a panel of authors Friday at 10:30 a.m., with other contributors to the institute’s recent publication, “Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland.” Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will be moderator.

More detailed information and registration forms are available at the New Netherland Institute website at www.nnp.org.

Barnabas McHenry’s Greater Hudson Heritage Award


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The Board of Trustees of Greater Hudson Heritage Network (GHHN) will confer special regional recognition to Barnabas (Barney) McHenry through presentation of the Greater Hudson Cultural Heritage Award on October 2, preceding a Historic Site Futures Forum at Bear Mountain, New York.

For 40 years Barney McHenry has worked to protect the Hudson River Valley, its heritage, culture and landscapes. As counsel to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest, he was the principal architect of the Wallace Funds, which have contributed to the arts, education, humanities and the environment throughout the Hudson River Valley.

Barney McHenry demonstrates his commitment to the region as Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Co-Chair of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, while offering valued trustee-leadership to regional historic sites through his service on the boards of Friends of the Hudson Valley and the Open Space Institute, and as Chairman of Boscobel.

A long time patron of museums throughout the Greater Hudson Heritage Network, Mr. McHenry has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Commission on the Restoration of the Capital and the Empire State Plaza Art Commission.

“Greater Hudson’s vision of ‘communities that value the exploration and preservation of their heritage and cultures, and are empowered to save and interpret them to future generations,’ has been furthered by the work of Barney McHenry,” affirmed Dr. Jacquetta Haley, President of the GHHN Board.

Greater Hudson Heritage Network (formerly Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums), is a museum service organization that has grown over 30 years to encompass an area and cultural constituency from the Battery to Albany- engaging and informing staff, consultants and trustees of cultural heritage organizations as a catalyst to strengthen professional capacity, define and meet mission, and connect them through best practices in stewardship.

Greater Hudson’s Annual Meeting and Historic Site Futures Forum will take place on Friday, October 2, 2009 at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, NY from 10am – 3pm.

The Hon. Richard Brodsky, NYS Assemblyman, 92nd District (Westchester) will address an audience of museum and historic site professionals on issues of “Smart Stewardship,” as he introduces the morning Historic Site Futures Forum and panel speakers.

The Cultural Heritage Award presentation and Futures Forum will be followed by a buffet luncheon, election of GHHN trustees, and the afternoon presentation of 14 Awards Towards Excellence for organizations and projects selected from submitted nominations by a peer jury, chaired by Greater Hudson trustee Jennifer Plick.

The Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s Awards Towards Excellence program seeks to recognize and commend exceptional efforts among GHHN members. Awards are made to projects and organizations that exemplify creativity and professional vision resulting in a contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the historic scene, material culture and diversity of the Greater Hudson region- from the Battery to Albany.

2009 Awards Towards Excellence are presented to:

BOSCOBEL HOUSE & GARDENS, Garrison, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition, Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes, 1825-1875. This award is in recognition of the continued effort to explore the works of Hudson River School painters particularly those done by women artists and for incorporating the research of doctoral students in the exhibit catalog.

CLARKSTOWN TOWN CLERK, DAVID CARLUCCI, New City, NY (Rockland) for the preservation of the Town of Clarkstown’s historical records. This award is in recognition of the Town Clerk’s program to preserve, digitize and make accessible over 250 years of town records that, in many cases, are too fragile to be handled.

CONSTITUTION ISLAND ASSOCIATION, INC., West Point, NY (Orange) for the film, “Constitution Island: American Landmark.” This award is in recognition of the endeavor to raise awareness of the historic and cultural significance of the site and its use as an educational tool.

SAMUEL DORSKY MUSEUM OF ART, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) and NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY, New York (NY) for the exhibition and publication, The Hudson River to Niagara Falls: 19th Century American Landscape Paintings from the New-York Historical Society. This award is in recognition of a collaboration that re-interprets the landscape collections of the New-York Historical Society by exploring the importance of the region as a cultural site in the 19th century through the works of Hudson River School artists.

HISTORIC HUGUENOT STREET, New Paltz, NY (Ulster) for the exhibition Before Hudson: 8,000 Years of Native American History and Culture. This award is in recognition of the exhibit and public programming that advances regional history by exploring the history of the native inhabitants of the area using archaeological findings.

KATHLEEN EAGAN JOHNSON, Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the publication, The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: New York’s River Festival and the Making of a Metropolis, co-published by Fordham University Press and Historic Hudson Valley. This award is in recognition of the extensive research and in-depth study of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909 and its impact on New York City.

LYNDHURST and WESTCHESTER COUNTY, Tarrytown, NY (Westchester) for the public program and community collaboration, Hudson River Fest: A Search for the Past, Present, and Future. This award is in recognition of a collaborative program that celebrated Westchester’s historic ties to the river and land, and explored the respectful stewardship of these important but fragile resources.

MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE – A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST, New York (NY) for the creation of an on-line collection resource. This award is in recognition of an innovative program that invites the public to browse artifacts in a dynamic and user-friendly environment. The online Collection offers information unavailable in the Museum.

NEVERSINK VALLEY AREA MUSUEM, Cuddebackville, NY (Orange) for the exhibit, “The Star is Born: A History of the Movie Star in America from Florence Lawrence and Valentino to Heath Ledger” and a program on women in early films. This award is in recognition of new audience-driven local history programming.

NEW CASTLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY and EAGLE SCOUT MICHAEL MARTINEZ, New Castle, NY (Westchester) for documentation of the Chappaqua Friends’ Graveyard. This award is in recognition of the extensive research, detailed documentation and creation of a searchable database for over 1,000 markers in the local graveyard dating back to 1745.

THE OLANA PARTNERSHIP and NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECREATION, AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, Hudson, NY (Columbia) for a new gallery, inaugural exhibit, “Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church’s Views from Olana” and its exhibition catalog. This award is in recognition of a public-private effort to broaden the scope of the historic house museum, and a valuable collaborative marketing concept.

THE KNICKERBOCKER ICE FESTIVAL OF 2009: TIMOTHY ENGLERT, CO-FOUNDER & PROJECT DIRECTOR, ROBERT PATALANO, CO-FOUNDER & ICE SCULPTOR, CHRISTIAN NIELSEN, ROCKLAND LAKE STATE PARK SUPERINTENDENT, MARIA RODD, 2009 EVENT PLANNER, ROSEMARIE MONACO, 2009 PR/MARKETING DIRECTOR, GRETCHEN WEERHEIM, 2009 HISTORIC EDUCATION DIRECTOR & HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, HEATHER DUKE, ROCKLAND COUNTY DIRECTOR OF TOURISM This award recognizes the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of professionals to create and excite the public about local history.

LAKEVILLE-IRONWORKS EDUCATIONAL TRAIL and MATTHEW SHOOK, Sterling Forest, Tuxedo, NY (Orange) This award is in recognition Matthew Shook’s dedication, leadership and collaborative skills in bringing together the PIPC, State Historic Preservation Office, NY/NJ Trail Conference, and Rutgers University to preserve, interpret and make accessible to the public a neglected historical resource.

PUTNAM COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & FOUNDRY SCHOOL MUSEUM, DR. TRUDIE GRACE and DAVID DEARINGER, Cold Spring, NY (Putnam) for the exhibition catalog accompanying the exhibition, George Pope Morris: Defining American Culture. This award is in recognition of the extensive, scholarly research undertaken into the life of George Pope Morris of Cold Spring, and his contribution to 19th century American publishing, music and poetry.

For registration information about Greater Hudson Heritage Network’s October 2, 2009
Annual Meeting, Futures Forum, and Awards presentations at Overlook Lodge, Bear Mountain, please see: www.greaterhudson.org, or contact GHHN: 914.592.6726; info@greaterhudson.org.