Contributed Story, Edited by Rob Potter
GOSHEN January 2, 2007 The nationally acclaimed traveling exhibit “The Story of Harness Racing by Currier & Ives” introduces America’s first pastime, harness racing, or trotting as it was originally called, to those unfamiliar with its culture, historical significance and economic impact.
The lithographs illustrate, in an artful way, the birth of the sport and its early accomplishments. Prints depicting great trotting horses, bucolic mid-19th century scenes and comedic adventures convey a picturesque view of Americana prior to the advent and development of photography.
The traveling exhibit was launched four years ago and since then has been enjoyed by more than 330,000 people in Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin. Last year, it went to Maine, Maryland and Ohio, as well as two locations in the maritime provinces of Canada.
In April, it appeared in the Russell Rotunda of the Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. for an unprecedented two-week stay. Its appearance was sponsored by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).
Also this year, a module went to Lawrence, Kan., and in August two modules were installed at the Ross Museum of Ohio-Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in conjunction with The Little Brown Jug Week.
Next year’s calendar will see modules traveling to the Dublin Heritage Center in California (February 28 through April 8, 2007), the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park (June 1 through October 25, 2007), and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio (May 15 through July 31, 2007).
Bookings are now being taken for 2008 on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications should be sent to The Director, Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, P. O. Box 590, Goshen, NY 10924 or can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no charge to host this exhibition and annual operating funding is provided by the CTW Foundation and Robert Tucker of Stonegate Standardbred Farms of Glen Gardner, NJ.
The complimentary exhibit package includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• All shipping fees
• Custom designed shipping crates
• Fine arts insurance coverage
•Approximately 33 framed original Currier & Ives lithographs ready to hang
• Introductory panels on Currier & Ives and their process
• Six storyboards on American harness racing
• Narrative exhibit identification labels
• Gallery installation plan
• Curatorial and registrarial information
• Teacher and docent guides
• Educational lesson plans
• (Upon Request) Tack Box/Trunk complete with labeled harness racing equipment and general equine care tools, driver’s colors, books and brochures
• Full-color promotional exhibit rack cards and gallery guides
• Publicity and educational programming kits
It is a fun show that, using the Currier & Ives prints, tells the story of how harness racing began in the United States, even beginning with “once upon a time” and ending with “and they lived happily ever after!”
The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November through March and between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from April through October.
For general information on the museum, or the special events and other educational programs the museum offers, please call 294-6330 or visit the Web site www.harnessmuseum.com.