Preservation Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor.
Good News

Smithsonian exhibit coming to Preservation Long Island Gallery

A traveling exhibit presented by the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street is coming to the Preservation Long Island Gallery in Cold Spring Harbor.

The exhibit, “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” opens on Friday, March 22 and examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people,” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.”

The regional nonprofit Preservation Long Island, headquartered at 161 Main St. in Cold Spring Harbor, was chosen by the Museum Association of New York to be the first venue in New York State to host the “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” exhibition.

“Preservation Long Island is excited to serve as the inaugural site for ‘Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,'” Alexandra Wolfe, Preservation Long Island’s executive director, said in a written statement. “The exhibition’s focus on freedom, civic participation, and political engagement resonates strongly with our commitment to making the past relevant to the present.” 

The “Voices and Votes” exhibit explores the action, reaction, vision, and revision democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape American values. It explores the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. “Voices and Votes” engages multimedia interactives with short games; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest material.

1014 Manner In Which They Declared 0

The exhibition will include a section that incorporates art and artifacts drawn from Preservation Long Island and other local collections. “The objects we chose connect the broader historical narratives of Voices and Votes with Long Island people and stories—addressing themes such as the ways people make their voices heard, who is left out of the conversation, and the roles and responsibilities of citizens,” Lauren Brincat, Preservation Long Island curator, said in the statement.

Among the local highlights in the exhibition is an original essay by Jupiter Hammon (1711–ca. 1806), America’s first published African American poet, written while he was enslaved at Joseph Lloyd Manor in Lloyd Harbor shortly after the American Revolution, advocating for the citizenship of Black New Yorkers in the new nation. Other items include a bracelet and ring made from scrap sheet metal by women aircraft factory workers on Long Island as the United States fought to preserve democracy abroad during World War II, and the drawings and models for the national monument to African American civil rights leader and women’s rights activist, Mary MacLeod Bethune (1875–1855), created by Long Island artist Robert Berks in 1974. 

“‘Voices and Votes’ allows us to reflect on Cold Spring Harbor and the surrounding community history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” Andrew Tharler, Preservation Long Island Education and Engagement director, said in the statement.

The series of local exhibition-related programming and free events include a community quilt project, curator-led exhibition and walking tours, lectures, community conversations and an oral history series. Click here to preview the full schedule. “Voices and Votes” in Cold Spring Harbor runs until Friday, May 3.

Share this: