The exhibit includes hundreds of photographs displayed on 25 large panels, as well as original artwork by local artists and historical artifacts. It covers Woodhaven’s founding by John Updike, the Union Course Racetrack, the arrival of trains to the neighborhood, the deadly cyclone of 1895 and much more.
The exhibit was funded by the City Council and a grant from the Citizen’s Committee for New York City.
“We wanted to do something special for the neighborhood,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society. “The idea is to really bring people together, the history of the community is something they share. We’re really looking forward to seeing how people react to this.”
A launch party will be held on May 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Woodhaven Manor on Jamaica Avenue. The general public is invited to view the exhibit and local elected officials will make brief remarks. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.
Afterward, the exhibit will be available for loan to local schools, in pieces or in its entirety, and Wendell hopes to display it again when space becomes available, perhaps at a community street fair or in a local park. About 50 visitors came to a special preview at Emmanuel United Church of Christ in October.
Students at P.S. 60 and P.S. 97 are already taking advantage of the exhibit by creating artwork inspired by its content. Each school borrowed three panels and the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society donated art supplies for the project.
Some of the work will be displayed at the exhibit’s launch party.
Wendell also hopes the mobile museum will help generate an interest in Woodhaven’s history, among the young and the old.
“By looking back on our history you can learn a little bit about today,” he said. “A lot of the same issues that plague us today were big issues 100 years ago.”