While our Teen Leader group is curating our Civil War satellite exhibit, we are also creating tours for the Rubin Museum of Art teen interns to go on when they visit the New-York Historical Society! While these tours will cover some of the main attractions here, like the Armory Show, I have decided to pull together a slightly more off-beat tour that focuses on some of the many hidden treasures scattered throughout the Museum. Inspired by Museum Hack, a company that gives unconventional tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, here are some of my unexpected finds:
While you might think you need to travel to Mount Vernon to see where George Washington slept, you actually don’t need to go farther than 77th Street! This camp bed was used by George Washington at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. The blistering cold winter spent at Valley Forge in 1777 is pointed to as one of the lowest dips in morale for the Continental Army, and one of Washington’s most difficult situations in his military career as he struggled to obtain supplies for his battered army.
2. Keith Haring Adidas
In 2006, Jeremy Scott worked in conjunction with Adidas and the Keith Haring Foundation to design these special edition Adicolor Hi BK2 sneakers. Scott was able to use original Keith Haring artwork on the sneakers, along with his signature on the tops. These Adidas can be seen among other Keith Haring artwork in the rotating collection in the Luce Center.
This twenty dollar coin, minted in 1933, is one of the most valuable coins in the world. While originally worth $20, it was auctioned in 2002 for $7,590,020. Once the United States departed from the Gold Standard during the Great Depression, these coins became illegal to own. While most of the Double Eagles minted were later melted down, ten of these coins were stolen from the U.S. Mint in 1937. Nine coins were recovered, but the tenth was owned by King Farouk of Egypt. This coin made its way to auction in 2002, and remains the only Double Eagle that can be privately owned.
4. Tiffany Studios Mosaic
This fragment comes from the mosaic sign outside the Tiffany Studios Building located on Fourth Avenue and 25th Street. In 1905, Tiffany Studios moved from that location to Madison Avenue and 45th Street. This mosaic originally read 335·TIFFANY STUDIOS·347. The part of the mosaic displayed in the upper level of Luce has the remnants of the 335 building number. It is made out of favrile glass, stone, and concrete, and was mostly likely created by the Tiffany Studios’ Women’s Glasscutting Department. Many of the lamps on display below the mosaic in Luce were also created by this department.
This is just a small sample of the many often-overlooked objects on display at the New-York Historical Society. It isn’t possible to see every wonderful object in the Museum’s vast collection, so I hope this post gave you a taste of some of the less well-known ones. Each collection and every object at the Museum has a fascinating back story, so I hope you will keep a look out for the rest of the Teen Leaders’ posts throughout the year!