News and Event Updates from the Office of the Orange County Historian

A talking horse, and more at the  
 Harness Racing Museum
In the center of Goshen, in Orange County, NY, sits a rather imposing two-story Tutor building with massive wooden doors, and a walkway of inscribed paving stones. It's the perfect home for centuries of artifacts which chronicles the prestigious history of America's first organized sport, and national pastime. No, not baseball. Actually, it's horseracing. And this is the world renowned Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame with its extensive collection of harness racing items from jockey silks to 19 th century Currier & Ives lithographs. The museum not only champions the rise of harness racing, but of the amazing horse, and its place in building a nation, and Orange County for that matter. One exhibit illustrates how harness racing advanced the invention of the motion picture, but we'll get to that later.

The museum's education coordinator, Kristin Roberts, is the perfect tour guide. She worked at an Orange County horse farm which bred and trained racehorses which gives her a keen understanding of the horseracing world and its history. She knows how they trot, how they canter, and whether a horse is a good choice to bid on at the yearly auctions. Roberts has also created new programs for senior citizen groups, and adults, and children with special needs which combines a lesson, a lunch, and a craft and that has proven to be a real first place winner.
Everyone can get something from a visit to the Harness Racing museum, she says. "I've done a program for children where they learn about perspective, and then will practice drawing horses running off into the distance, and so must be drawn smaller," says Roberts. Or seniors will have a discussion about the Currier & Ives trotting prints, which were a popular form of artwork in the 19th century, and then color their own take-home picture. For those with special needs, she will lead a discussion about how a horse is prepared in the morning, and then quiz the visitors on their morning routine. With all that the museum encompasses, there's virtually no limit to what a visitor can experience.
Among the highlights is the interactive computer touch screens that provide additional information about a particular horse or trainer; having a picture taken adorned with racing gear while sitting aboard a race sulky behind a life-size trotter. There's a timeline of harness racing set up in a renovated turn-of-the-century stable, and of course, a talking horse. After a meandering tour, guests are now ready to enter the world's only 3D harness Racing simulator theatre for the eight-minute movie that puts the theatre-goer into the sulky to see and feel what a harness racing driver experiences during a race. Guests sit in seats that rumble and gently tilt, and feel the wind in their hair as their horse races to the finish. It's just a hoot.
There was a real "a-ha" moment during the tour when Roberts explained how a horse race was instrumental in the advancement of Hollywood and the moving picture. In order to settle a $25,000 bet about whether a horse had all four hooves off the ground as it trotted, world famous photographer Eaweard Muybridge spent years using his skills to create a series of photos that caught a horse in motion. Through his "zoopraxiscope," it was proven that all four hooves do leave the ground at one time and a model is on display so guests can see a copy of the footage that won the bet. So, even though Thomas Edison is credited with creating the first movie, it was the invention of Muybridge that pioneered the flicks we view today.
As you can see, a visit to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is, like that phrase from a movie classic, "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."


M.J. Goff
Assistant to the County Historian
Upcoming events include:
July 3 -Annual Hall of Fame induction dinner
Call (845) 294-6330 for more information, or visit
The museum is open 7 days a week from 10am - 5pm*. Admission is free, thanks to the support of the  U.S. Trotting Association.
(*closed on Christmas, New Years' Day, Easter and Thanksgiving.)
Grant Calendar for Museums and Historical Institutions
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
New York State

Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS)
            Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries
Greater Hudson Heritage Network
            Conservation Treatment Grant Program
New York State Archives
            Documentary Heritage Program Grant
Preservation League of New York State
            Preserve New York
National Endowment for the Humanities

Hudson River Valley Greenway
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
National Endowment for the Humanities
            Common Heritage
William G. Pomeroy Foundation

National Endowment for the Humanities
Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS)
Hudson River Valley Greenway
National Endowment for the Humanities
            Digital Humanities Start Up Grants
Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS)
National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)
National Endowment for the Humanities

Hudson River Valley Greenway

Most of the information listed here is from the Greater Hudson Heritage Network website. They maintain a comprehensive list of grant offerings year to year. Visit their website to stay up to date with information regarding grants, professional workshops, their annual conference and networking opportunities. 
Upcoming Events
Hudson Valley History Fair

Sunday, May 1st from Noon to 4pm

Come explore all the region has to offer at the 2nd Annual Hudson Valley Heritage Fair! With table displays from the top historical destinations in the region, living history presentations, and so much more! Don't miss out on this chance to experience
our region's historic sites - all in one place!

Locust Grove
2683 South Rd, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601

The Great Guys Event

Thursday, May 5 at 5 PM

PAY IT FORWARD in 2016 by purchasing a ticket for a GREAT GUY to the most anticipated event of the year! This event will be like nothing you have ever experienced in the Hudson Valley. It will be an event exclusively for men, more specifically, GREAT GUYS, although there are plenty of ways for women to help out! (YES, there is an event exclusive for women in the future).

The 1st Annual Great Guys event will take place at Washington's Headquarters, Liberty Street, Newburgh. The event will include: 

- Live Music from the Dan Brother Band
- Very Manly & Outstanding Silent Auction Prizes
- Local Craft Beer & Spirits from HV Breweries & Distilleries
- Gourmet Food Stations with Raw Bar, Brisket & More!!!
- Tons of  Activities for GREAT GUYS to enjoy

This event benefits the Hudson Valley Cancer Resource Center whose mission is to be the voice of advocacy and support for the Hudson Valley community of people affected by cancer. For more information about HVCRC, please visit:

What do we mean by PAY IT FORWARD?!?!

This event is unique in substance but it is also unique in its process. We are asking individuals to purchase a ticket for a GREAT GUY they know. This GREAY GUY will then receive a ticket in the mail with an acknowledgement that someone they know bought a ticket for them and thought they were a GREAT GUY. Anyone who receives a ticket in the mail is then asked to PAY IT FORWARD by purchasing a ticket for another GREAT GUY they know!

Over 200 tickets have already been sold through this process and we expect this event to SELL OUT SOON!!! Purchase a ticket for a GREAT GUY Today! 

WOMEN are encouraged to purchase a ticket for their husband, partner, friend, or co-worker.

To purchase a ticket online RIGHT NOW please click the link below. It only take a few moments:

This year's Honorees include four truly GREAT GUYS:

Ed Devitt, Devitt Management
Jimmy Smith, Advance Testing
Joe Belsito, Belsito Communications
Pete Mathieu, Mathieu & Associates

Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
84 Liberty St, Newburgh, New York 12550

Preservation Conference

Thursday, May 5 to Saturday, May 7

The 2016 Statewide Preservation Conference will take place May 5-7th in Albany and Troy. We're moving east to the Capital Region to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This year's Conference theme is Preservation50: NYS. Preservation50 is a nationwide effort to celebrate, learn from, and leverage the NHPA's first five decades to assure historic preservation's vibrant future in America.The 2016 Statewide Preservation Conference will be all about celebrating our past achievements and planning for the future of historic preservation in New York State.

The 2016 NY Statewide Preservation Conference is presented by The Landmark Society of Western New York, in collaboration with Historic Albany Foundation, the Preservation League of New York State, and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Visit  for complete details!

Noah Webster Weekend

Friday, May 6 & Saturday, May 7

Come join us for a weekend celebration of literature, literacy, and Noah Webster! 


6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : First Friday Art and Literature Walk

Goshen's First Friday Art Walk returns from the winter break! Walk from business to business viewing artwork and meeting local authors! Authors will be stationed in various locations to showcase their work and sign and sell books. At the  Goshen Art Walk  hub in the Goshen Music Hall there will be an art exhibition of pieces based on works of literature and literary characters. Sponsored by the  Goshen Art League


8:30 am - 1:00 pm : Spelling Bee in the Grandstands at the  Goshen Historic Track , sponsored by  Literacy Orange  and  Baby Step Inc .

10:00 am - 3:00 pm : Used book sale on the Goshen Public Library and Historical Society's library lawn, sponsored by Friends of the Goshen Library

10:00 am - 11:00 am : "but alas! our Country calls: The Formation of the 124th New York State Volunteers," by Charles LaRocca, sponsored byPrinteks Reprographics (Goshen Town Hall)

11:00 am - noon : "Triumph Over Tragedy," a presentation by Barbara Allen, author of "Front Toward Enemy: A Slain Soldier's Widow Details Her Husband's Murder and How Military Courts Allowed the Killer to Escape Justice." Sponsored by ROCCOROMA FOOD PRODUCTS (Goshen Town Hall)

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm : "Harness racing and views of Goshen" by Village Historian Ed Connor. Sponsored by LAN Associates, Engineering, Planning, Architecture, Surveying, Inc. (Goshen Town Hall)

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm : "Noah Webster in Orange County," by Dr. Richard Hull, sponsored by Anderson Design Group (Goshen Town Hall)

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm : *Keynote speaker* Joshua C. Kendall presents "Noah Webster's Legacy." Sponsored by the Anthony Dobbins Stagecoach Inn(Goshen Town Hall)

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm : Poetry and Prose: Readings by William Seaton andOliver Mackson (Craft 47)

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm : Webster's Picturenary: The Goshen Art League will be exhibiting artwork inspired by works of literature at the Goshen Music Hall.

7:00 pm : Cornerstone Theatre Arts presents "Noah Webster Father of American Scholarship," a play about the life of Webster starring B.J. Boothe, written by Ken Tschan (Goshen Music Hall, 223 Main St, Goshen)

Historic District Yard Sale

Saturday, May 7 from 9am to 4pm

The 2016 Yard Sale is here!! Several neighbors on the north side of Newburgh's Historic District started the Grand St. yard sale many years ago. Now with so many wonderful friends moving to the city, we are adding more neighbors to the group. Please join us. Drop by our homes on May 5 to check out what goods are for sale.

Model 'A' Day

Saturday, May 14 11am to 4pm

The Hudson Valley Region Model 'A' Restorers Club holds as its aims the encouragement of members to acquire, restore, preserve and exhibit the Model "A" Ford. And most importantly, to enjoy the fellowship of other Model "A" Ford owners around the world. Join us at the museum for a great time sharing stories and making memories.

Adults: $12.00; Seniors: $10.00; Children 4 - 12: $8.00

Rain date - Sunday, May 15.

Museum Village
1010 Route 17M, Monroe, New York 10950

Antiques Appraisal Fair

Saturday, May 14 1pm to 5pm

Featuring renowed Ceritified Appriaser Jon Felz from PBS "Antiques Roadshow" 

--$10 for 2 items Proceeds are going to the Cornwall Historical -- Society Scholarship Fund and Future Home Fund

--Don't forget to bring your lawn chairs!

Black Rock Fish and Game Pavillion is located at 5 Pleasant Hill Road, Mountainville, NY (off Route 32

Beekeeping 101 Workshop & Learn Woodworking in a Day Workshop

Sunday, May 15 10am to 12pm

So you think you want to keep bees?  Learn about the challenges and rewards of successful beekeeping and the supplies that are needed to get started.

With an easily mastered system of essential techniques and a few methods of joining wood, you will learn to make anything you want to copy and that you can dream up.

Workshops are Free, donations are accepted.
Workshops fill up quickly, please pre-register

On The Scene
The Historic Tavern Trail event at the North Plank Road Tavern in Newburgh drew a crowd of 100 people to learn the history of the location, toast to Orange County with the "Apple Jack Downing" and meet others with an interest in local history on April 29th.
Extended hours during Passover at Museum Village in Monroe. Photo Credit Dawn Elliott
Roger Dowd of the Seward & Mapes Restoration in Florida toured William Seward descendants through the two properties on April 27th.
The 6th Annual Volunteer Fair and the Newburgh Urban Farming Fair took place at Washington's Headquarters and along Liberty Street in the historic district of Newburgh on April 30th. Photo Credit Bill Fioravanti
The Brigade of the American Revolution swearing in new board members at Knox's headquarters in New Windsor last weekend.
Civil War reenactors perform a wreath laying ceremony during a tour of Civil War graves at Washingtonville's "All Faith's Cemetery."  Donations from the tour, and living history encampment will go towards the upkeep of this historic cemetery. Photo Credit Matt Thorenz
Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  jyaun