1917 was a year that changed the world, and the New York Historical Society is celebrating it with a summer-long series of events commemorating World War I, the birth of John F. Kennedy and year women won the right to vote.
Centennial Summer is a series of FREE family-friendly events in conjunction with current exhibitions that explore the war, the life of JFK and the sufragette movement, which began in New York State, with film screenings, illustrated talks, historical reenactments and more, all commemorating 1917, a year of enormous change and upheaval in New York and throughout the world.
There’s also a special pop-up installation on Governors Island illustrating the fight for women’s suffrage in New York State. And the NY Historical Society recently opened an entire floor dedicated to the role of women in US and New York State, including the women who designed and created Tiffany lamps, First Lady Dolley Madison, who saved the White House in the War of 1812, and sports pioneer Billie Jean King.
Centennial Summer free program includes programming on Pay-as-you-wish Friday evenings and on select Tuesdays.
Film screenings throughout the summer all explore World War I wartime experiences from different perspectives, including All Quiet on the Western Front (July 7), Lawrence of Arabia (August 11), The Fighting 69th (August 18), and Yankee Doodle Dandy (August 25).
On July 14, performers Peter Dugan and John Brancy recreate the music of composers who lived through the Great War. Also on July 14, a Watson Adventure scavenger hunt takes visitors through the Museum, including World War I Beyond the Trenches, to uncover clues using artifacts on view. The scavenger hunt takes place again on August 11.
On July 21 author Edward Maeder explores how 1910s fashion reflected major changes in American culture, from gender roles to industrialization. On July 28 author Kevin Fitzpatrick looks at New York’s role in WWI and the memorials created in the years that followed through an illustrated talk.
On August 4 Professor Jeffrey Sammons explores the struggles of New York’s black citizens during the World War I era through the stories of three of the most famous members of the Harlem Hellfighters.
Select Tuesday programs mark other important milestones of 1917. John F. Kennedy―born that year on May 29―and his heroic actions in WWII are depicted in a special screening of the film PT 109, introduced by Stephen Kennedy Smith on July 18.
The captivating documentary One Woman, One Vote, which charts the 70-year fight for women’s suffrage, is screened on August 15.
Young visitors experience 1917 brought to life on Centennial Saturdays with the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Families can stop by every Saturday to meet different personalities from the home front and the battlefield. See soldiers’ uniforms and tools, meet historical figures, listen to patriotic music, and march with suffragists. Pick up a free family guide to explore World War I Beyond the Trenches with sketching activities.
See next page for details on current exhibits on WWI, JFK and Women’s Suffrage