More river talk at Hoboken Museum


The Hoboken Historical Museum’s ongoing exhibit “Up and Down the River” continues, with several guest speakers over the next several months – including this Sunday!

the history of the hudson river - More river talk at Hoboken Museum

Quadricentennial celebration continues

With the double anniversary of the quadricentennial of Hudson’s voyage up the river and bicentennial of Robert Fulton’s launch of a steam-powered ferry this fall, the Hoboken Historical Museum is gearing up with a full schedule of related events. Our yearlong exhibition, Up and Down the River: A History of the Hudson, 1609 – 2009, offers four new free lectures, and we’re planning a Fall Family Fun Day and tugboat tours!

The exhibit recalls a two-week-long public celebration of the double anniversary hosted by New York in 1907. One of the largest public anniversaries in the country’s history, offices and factories closed and the number of commuter trains doubled to handle the crowds for the banquets, parades, historical floats, lectures, fireworks and an airplane flight by Wilbur Wright around the Statue of Liberty. The Museum adds a uniquely Hoboken flavor by highlighting the many contributions to maritime science by Colonel John Stevens and his sons, the founding family of Hoboken, and of the Stevens Institute of Technology, as well as the area’s original inhabitants, the Lenni Lenape Indians.


Speaker Series Continues with “Pioneering Research in Maritime Security”

Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4 pm

The Museum welcomes Dr. Julie Pullen, Director of the Maritime Security Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology, who will provide an overview of the lab’s research into detecting threats and reducing vulnerability in our ports. If you attended Dr. Alan Blumberg’s talk in April, you know that Stevens’ MSL conducts field experiments in the complex urban estuary of the Hudson River to measure how currents, salinity, temperature, water level, vessel traffic and acoustic properties fluctuate in both space and time.

Dr. Pullen will explain how MSL uses that research into the environmental complexities of the Hudson in developing and fielding technologies to address threat prediction and detection across multiple timescales, ranging from terrorist incidents to coastal hazards. MSL’s assets include sensors, vehicles and models focused on the surface, underwater, and urban realms. Dr. Pullen was a principal investigator on a Department of Homeland Security grant, a member of a scientific steering committee of the Office of Naval Research and is co-chair of the 2010 Ocean Sciences meeting.

Sunday, Sept. 20:

“Analyze This: Freud’s 1909 Visit to America through Hoboken’s Port”

A hundred years ago, one of the most important figures of the modern era passed through Hoboken on his way to a speaking engagement at Clark University. The iconic event, Sigmund Freud’s only trip to the United States in the fall of 1909, is often cited as a symbol of the great cultural changes that came in the early twentieth century. As did so many Europeans, Freud began and ended this momentous trip in Hoboken.

Dr. John Burnham, Research Professor of History at Ohio State University, will visit the Museum on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m., to commemorate the anniversary of this visit. He will read passages from one of Freud’s previously untranslated letters describing his arrival in the New World. On Monday, Sept. 21, the anniversary of Freud’s arrival in Hoboken will be commemorated with a brief event in Pier A Park at 11 a.m.

Sunday, Oct. 11:

On the Waterfront: 1989 – 2009: Paving the Way for a Public Park

In the first half of the 19th century, before Central Park was completed, Hoboken was popular with New Yorkers for its recreational waterfront, which included such attractions as a River Walk, Elysian Fields and Sybil’s Cave. But by the late 1800s, Hoboken’s waterfront was transformed into a bustling maritime port, serving passenger ships and, later, cargo vessels, which dominated the water’s edge for most of the 20th century. By 1990, these waterfront industries had virtually disappeared, creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to reclaim the Hudson River waterfront for public recreation.

In a referendum in July 1990, the voters of Hoboken rejected a massive development proposal for Hoboken’s south waterfront, opening the way for the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) to propose a new vision, which called for a continuous public park from the Hoboken Train Terminal to the Weehawken Cove, clearly delineated from the upland private development on new, Hoboken-sized blocks. Today, much of this plan has been realized after many successful legal battles to preserve the water’s edge for the public. On Sunday, Oct. 11, at 4 p.m., come hear Ron Hine, Executive Director of FBW, relate this history and the tantalizing opportunity to finish the missing links.

Sunday, Nov. 1:

“On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York”

As one of the world’s busiest harbors in the first half of the 20th century, the Port of New York, including Hoboken’s waterfront, attracted gangsters, politicians and union leaders, each fighting for a piece of the huge economic pie, as depicted in the movie “On the Waterfront.” A key character in the movie, a crusading priest who risked his own career to help improve conditions for the dockworkers and their families, was based in large part on a real historic figure, John M. “Pete” Corridan.

Historian and Fordham University professor James Terence Fisher visits the Museum on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m., to talk about his latest book, On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York, which tells the story of Corridan’s ferocious advocacy and his role working with screenwriter Budd Schulberg in shaping the film. A Jesuit labor school instructor, not a parish priest, Corridan was resisted by the very men he sought to rescue from the violence and criminality that ruled the waterfront.

The Museum’s exhibit, made possible through a special project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, extends through the end of the year to accommodate a full agenda of talks, events, educational programs and art celebrating our city’s relationship with the river that shaped its fortunes. More details on the Fall Family Fun Day and tugboat tours, both scheduled for Oct. 3, will be announced soon.

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