Saturday, September 7, at 2 pm, the Annual Colonel George Watson Pratt Heritage Day
Grant & Twain: The Story of A Friendship That Changed America
Release Date: Immediate
Contact: Carolyn Bennett or John Quinn
On Saturday, September 7, at 2 pm, the Annual Colonel George Watson Pratt Heritage Day at the site of the Zadock Pratt Museum’s exhibit Kaaterskill Clove: Where Nature Met Art will host the program Grant & Twain: The Story of A Friendship That Changed America. Ulysses Simpson Grant, the noted Civil War General and 18th President of the United States enjoyed the outstanding view of Kaaterskill Clove and Mountain Range as a patron of the Kaaterskill Hotel in the late 1800s. Grant was one of three U.S. Presidents who visited the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Chester A. Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt spent time at the site of the Catskill Mountain House on the Escarpment Trail at North Lake. Mark Twain and his wife Livy stayed at the Bear and Fox Inn. Twain often entertained and exchanged amusing and rewarding conversation with the members of the Onteora Club, including Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s widow Elizabeth. Hannibal, Missouri’s favorite son expressed strong reactions to Western painting and sculpture. His opinions were often passionate, sometimes eccentric and always lively. In the spring of 1884 U.S. Grant heeded the advice of Mark Twain and finally agreed to write his memoirs. This seemingly straightforward decision would profoundly alter not only their lives but the course of American literature. Their story chronicles how they became close friends and how Grant raced against the spread of cancer to compose a triumphant account of his life and times while Twain struggled to complete and publish his greatest novel ---- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Join us on September 7th as these two icons of American history recollect and share their thoughts about Abraham Lincoln and how the Civil War altered the future course America. Mark Twain will be portrayed by Don Coons from Middleburgh, NY. U.S. Grant is portrayed by Walter Smythe of Catskill.
Heritage day opens at 10 am with a special children’s interactive program titled: The Lincolns: A Study in Tableau Vivant. Participants will learn about the basics of posing for a mid-19th century photographic portrait as Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, a Civil War soldier or a young lady decked out in the fashion of the day. Costumes will be provided and the portraits will be exhibited at the museum during 2014.
This year’s program also features updated exhibit displays that tell the story of a soldiers’ life on the march, field music by the fife and drum troupe Rural Felicity, an encampment program in front of the museum will be presented by mountaintop’s own Civil War Living History youth group. All activities are free and the entire family is invited to attend.
Colonel George W. Pratt Heritage Day pays tribute to Prattsville’s favorite son and a model of the “Citizen Soldier” who gave his life to preserve a more perfect Union. One of the exhibit highlights, “The Colonel’s Trunk” includes the types of equipage and personal items that would have been carried by a Union officer during the march and in battle. An exact replica of the type of uniform that was worn by Colonel Pratt is part of the updated exhibition. An original model 1842 smoothbore musket similar to the one that fired the .69 caliber buck and ball round that mortally wounded Colonel Pratt at the battle of 2nd Bull Run will be on display. The colonel’s wounding and evacuation from the battlefield will be discussed.
At 12 and 3 pm the sound of the fife and drum will echo throughout the museum grounds and on the village green. The Delmar, NY based Rural Felicity field music troupe will recreate the music that regulated the life of the common soldier. The roll of the drum and melodic strains of the fife woke the soldier up in the morning, formed up the ranks, called the troops to eat, determined the column’s pace on the march, lead the unit into battle and made the long march a bit more bearable. Rural Felicity is committed to helping to preserve this form of music history and is also dedicated to educating the public that military music was more than just entertainment. Some of the music selections will include Garry Owen, Governor Kings March, Yankee Doodle, Old Dan Tucker, Jefferson and Liberty, Village Quickstep, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Dixie’s Land and Battle Hymn of the Republic.
A free BBQ and ice cream social from 12-2 pm will highlight the encampment experience at a tent near the carriage house. The museum’s History Discovery Program for youth ages 8-13 will introduce youngsters to the life of the soldier including the recruitment process, training in the manual of arms, preparing a meal while on the march, standing sentry duty and other life of the soldier skills. Young ladies in period dress will create Carte de Visite albums as part of an “Instant Ancestors” project. Tours of the “Soldier’s Life on the March” exhibition and Civil War memorabilia including local artifacts will be conducted on the museum’s second floor during the afternoon by exhibit curator and museum board member John Quinn. Please visit the Pratt Museum’s website for program and schedule updates at prattmuseum.com.
Release Date: Immediate
Contact: Carolyn Bennett
On Saturday, June 1, at 1pm, Dr. Kevin Avery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will give a lecture at the Zadock Pratt Museum in Prattsville to kick off an exhibit of cultural significance to the region entitled Kaaterskill Clove: Where Nature Met Art. Dr. Avery’s talk will focus on original Hudson River School artists, such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Sanford Gifford, and Jervis McEntee. He will relate those artists’ renderings of Kaaterskill Clove to the literature of Washington Irving, James Fennimore Cooper, and William Cullen Bryant. He will also take the opportunity of being in Prattsville to highlight Sanford Gifford’s great interest in the Zadock Pratt Tannery.
Kaaterskill Clove: Where Nature Met Art will run through the summer until Columbus Day weekend and feature Clove artwork by contemporary painters Athena Billias, Patti Ferrara, and Carol Slutzky-Tenerowicz, alongside one of the late Thomas Locker's renderings of Kaaterskill Falls. The exhibit is intended to raise awareness about the importance of the Clove and the need for its preservation in the face of the environmental strain it has been under for the past several years as tourists flock to its swimming holes in the summer months, with many leaving garbage behind, polluting the creek, and even spray-painting graffiti across the cavernous rock walls.
Zadock Pratt Museum representatives have reached out to other cultural organizations in what they hope will become a unified effort to increase awareness about the artistic, cultural, environmental, and historic value of the Clove, with the ultimate goal being to submit an application to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to petition the federal government to designate Kaaterskill Clove a national landmark.
Dr. Avery’s talk will be followed in the exhibit by Greene County Historian David Dorpfeld, who will speak on Saturday, June 8, at 1pm, about the fascinating history of the Clove. Then, on Thursday, June 13, at 1pm, geologist Dr. Robert Titus will give a talk on the ice-age phenomena that gave rise to the amazing geological characteristics of the Clove.
The artists Billias, Ferrara, and Slutzky-Tenerowicz will speak about their experiences painting the Clove and about environmental impact issues of the 21st century. Billias and Slutzky-Tenerowicz will speak on Saturday, September 21, at 1pm, and Ferrara will speak on Saturday, October 12, at 1pm.
The Zadock Pratt Museum will be open to the public throughout the exhibit from Thursday through Monday, 10am to 5pm, with guided tours on the hour. The last tour of each day will commence at 4pm. Admission is $10. The summer of 2013 is a great time for all to venture out to Prattsville and pay a visit to this important artistic exhibit, while also patronizing the local businesses to support the rebuilding effort in the aftermath of the devastation they experienced from Hurricane Irene. They are back on their feet now and Prattsville is open for business.
It is essential that those who care about preserving Kaaterskill Clove educate themselves about why it is so important to American culture so we can all do our part to instill a reverence amongst tourists and locals alike for this treasured landmark of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River Valley. The presence of an esteemed scholar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great way to begin this movement. Let’s show Dr. Kevin Avery that there is still a great love for the landscape that gave birth to American art. And let’s support all the speakers and the artists at the heart of this exhibit for their efforts to preserve the Clove. June 1, at 1pm in Prattsville, is a great time to start.