Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, United States

The Hudson River Museum, located in Trevor Park in Yonkers, New York, is the largest museum in Westchester County. The Yonkers Museum, founded in 1919 at City Hall, became the Hudson River Museum in 1948. While often seen as an art museum due to the extensive collection of works from the Hudson River school, the museum also features exhibits on the history, science and heritage of the region.

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains; eventually works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.

Overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades, the Hudson River Museum is home to contemporary galleries, a planetarium, an environmental learning gallery, and the 1876 Victorian home “Glenview”, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1919, the museum is dedicated to broadening the cultural horizons of its visitors through exhibitions and educational programming with interests that connect art, history, and science. Representing art from the 19th century to the present, the Museum presents rotating exhibitions throughout the year.

Mission:
The Hudson River Museum is a multi-disciplinary cultural complex that draws its identity from its site on the banks of the Hudson River, actively reaching out to broaden the horizons of all of its visitors. We utilize the resources of our Museum of Art; Historical Collection; Glenview, our historic house; our environmental teaching gallery; and the Planetarium to create experiences for our visitors that are meaningful and enjoyable. We enhance people’s understanding of the art, history and science of our region.

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We engage in the presentation of exhibitions and programs, teaching initiatives, research, collecting, preservation and conservation — a wide range of activities that interpret our collections, our interests, and our communities.

We do this out of a commitment to lifelong learning for all of our audiences, from students and teachers, to families, to individuals, to seniors. We support our communities and provide a museum window on the world at large.

We serve our visitors well, so that they develop a sense of pride, allegiance and ownership

Red Grooms: The Bookstore
Red Grooms’ dazzling installation, was created as a working gift shop for the Hudson River Museum in 1979. After extensive conservation, this beloved Westchester landmark has been reinstalled in its own gallery. The Bookstore incorporates many of the themes that run through Grooms’ best work: the marriage of art and commerce, the clash of high and low, colorful New York characters, and an inviting three-dimensional space that envelops and transports the viewer. The Bookstore deftly joins two favorite haunts of New York City book loverinterior– the lively, oldest secondhand bookshop in NYC, the Isaac Mendoza Book Company, and the Pierpont Morgan Library – into a work of art. In terms of materials, The Bookstore was one of a limited number of pieces in which Grooms incorporated vinyl figures. The figures are painted from the inside, a technique inspired by medieval glass-painting techniques, and then are stuffed and sewn. Tens of thousands of visitors passed through The Bookstore, and, embraced by its environment, it inevitably began to suffer ravages caused by its popularity. Plans were developed to restore the work and Grooms enthusiastically approved the conservation efforts and changes, which include altering the position of the two entrances to fit new gallery space, the creation of a central island that incorporated the original vinyl patrons, and the design of a painted floor. Grooms remains cautious of making too many changes to a piece that reflects a vision of New York in the 1970s, already passing into history. “An artist can overwork a thing – you can ruin the delicacy of a past moment very easily …I think it’s better to keep it like it was – primitive in that way.”

The Holidays at Nybelwyck Hall
Darren Scala, owner of D. Thomas Fine Art Miniatures, has partnered with local professional artists to create miniature holiday decor in Nybelwyck Hall. His arrangement includes a della Robbia-inspired wreath, garland, and topiaries—created by Scala with Sharon Harbison and Donald Morcone—which surround the front door. There is also a holiday feast underway in the kitchen and dining room with a cheese board by Sharon Harbison, and holiday desserts—plum pudding by The Petite Provision Co., pumpkin pie by Sara Smilnak, and three gingerbread houses by May Burnett. Additional embellishments are provided by Tiny Dwellings, Manuela Michieli of Mini Made in Italy, Jen Rothstein of DogMa Creations, Debbie Wood of RibbonWood Cottage, and miniaturist Cassie Leigh.

Hudson River School
Hudson River School paintings reflect three themes of America in the 19th century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. The paintings also depict the American landscape as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully. Hudson River School landscapes are characterized by their realistic, detailed, and sometimes idealized portrayal of nature, often juxtaposing peaceful agriculture and the remaining wilderness, which was fast disappearing from the Hudson Valley just as it was coming to be appreciated for its qualities of ruggedness and sublimity. In general, Hudson River School artists believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was an ineffable manifestation of God, though the artists varied in the depth of their religious conviction. They took as their inspiration such European masters as Claude Lorrain, John Constable and J. M. W. Turner. Their reverence for America’s natural beauty was shared with contemporary American writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Several painters were members of the Düsseldorf school of painting, others were educated by the German Paul Weber.

While the elements of the paintings were rendered realistically, many of the scenes were composed as a synthesis of multiple scenes or natural images observed by the artists. In gathering the visual data for their paintings, the artists would travel to extraordinary and extreme environments, which generally had conditions that would not permit extended painting at the site. During these expeditions, the artists recorded sketches and memories, returning to their studios to paint the finished works later.

Funding:
The late 1980s was a difficult time for the Hudson River Museum when it faced a decrease in funding, uncertainties in future funding, and a high level of staff turnover. The museum was forced to reduce its operating hours and cut some programming, but was able to expand the planetarium. The facility experienced a resurgence in the 1990s, received a number of grants and awards, saw increased funding from Westchester County, and was able to expand in time for its 75th anniversary. The museum also saw its attendance almost double from 55,000 to 100,000 between 1990 and 1994. The late 1990s saw a downturn in funding and the museum was again forced to face significant cutbacks. In the wake of these cutbacks, the museum began to host private events and offer tours, particularly to groups of school children, as a means of increasing income.