Tim Lamorte

Moon over the Mahicantuck

Tim Lamorte
Moon over the Mahicantuck

YONKERS, NY — In the fall of 2018, the Hudson River Museum rebranded itself with a new logo and a new slogan to coincide with the opening of a milestone exhibition by the artist Maya Lin. The slogan — Art, Science, History — reflects the museum’s unique combination of galleries, a planetarium, and a historic mansion. 

In 2019, the museum marks two more milestones — 100 years since it was founded and 50 years since its current planetarium opened. 2019 is also the half-century anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, during which the Eagle landed and “one giant leap for mankind” was made.

To kick off the new year, the museum opened two exhibitions about the Moon on Feb. 8. While one exhibition focuses on art, and the other on science, both incorporate history.

In the galleries, The Color of the Moon: Lunar Paintings in American Art, curated by Laura Vookles and Bartholomew Bland, consists of 64 paintings that will be on view until May 12.

The paintings were made between 1813 and 1969 by an assortment of artists, including well-known names such as Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, and Winslow Homer. There’s even a piece by the poet Edward Estlin Cummings (aka E.E.).

The Hudson River School is also well-represented. Six of the paintings were made by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and Jasper Cropsey who resided, respectively, in Catskill, Hudson, and Hastings-on-Hudson. Each of their homes is now a historic site open to the public.

Outside the planetarium, A Century of Lunar Photography and Beyond, curated by Marc Taylor, will be on view until Dec. 15.

That exhibition includes the first photo of the moon’s far side, which was made by the Russians, as well as photos from the Apollo 11 and 12 missions, which propelled the Americans into the lead in the space race.

Long before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, the father and son duo of John and Henry Draper photographed it from an observatory in Hastings-on-Hudson. The exhibition includes two photographic plates attributed to John Draper and made circa 1850.

In addition to the Draper observatory, which the Hastings Historical Society now occupies, a map in the exhibition highlights three other observatories built along the Hudson during the 19th century as well as a mathematical astronomer who resided in Nyack.

To compliment the exhibitions, the museum’s calendar includes a host of celestial events, such as Lunar New Year Festival on Feb. 24, HRM After Dark on March 9, and Steampunk Sunday on March 24. For more info, visit www.hrm.org.

Tim Lamorte is an award-winning journalist who has spent almost two decades documenting life along the Hudson River.