Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Cross Roads and Cross Rivers: Diversity in Colonial New York by Kathleen Eagen Johnson (Philipsburg Manor Gallery)

Synopsis: This is the catalog from an exhibit at the Philipsburg Manor Gallery, part of the Historic Hudson Valley. It combines short narratives with pictures of art and artifacts from the exhibit. Specifically, this exhibit explored the diversity in Philipsburg in the 100 years before the Revolutionary War.

Review: I enjoy when museums and galleries published catalog books for exhibits. It gives the patron the ability to “take home” the exhibit – and to have the information long after the exhibit has been changed. However, if this exhibit was as jumbled as this book, the patrons probably left more confused than educated. This is sad. The information included is instructive and interesting. When they speak of diversity, they don’t mean only black or Native American – but they include anyone who settled in this area: Dutch, English, French, Scandinavian, Creole, and others. The pictures of art and artifacts included help liven up the narrative, and the case study of the Philips family helps add faces to the information. However the narrative is jumbled, disjointed, and awkward to follow. The poor organization detracts from what is otherwise a lovely exhibit catalog. 

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-912882-92-1
Date Finished: 10-25-2015
Pages: 38

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