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Woodhaven pop-up museum will launch in May

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A pop-up museum on the history of Woodhaven is set to launch in May.

The new mobile exhibit, The Museum of Woodhaven History, will detail the history of Woodhaven. The exhibit was created by the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society and will use hundreds of photos to tell the story of the dynamic neighborhood in central Queens.

The society will be hosting a launch party on Thursday, May 3, at the Woodhaven Manor, located at 96-01 Jamaica Ave., from 4 to 8 p.m.

The exhibit features 25 six-foot-tall panels.

The Museum of Woodhaven History was created using discretionary funding through the New York City Council and a grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City. The museum will be available for loans to local schools, either in pieces or the entire exhibit.

Ed Wendell, executive director at the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, said the idea behind the museum was providing Woodhaven residents with a comprehensive look at their neighborhood’s history.

“People in any community love looking at old pictures of where they live,” he said. “People like talking about the history of their community and how it’s different and has changed. It’s about sharing. We wanted the exhibit to be a shared experience for the people of Woodhaven, It’s an opportunity to learn about the local history.”

Some of the exhibits will pay homage to John Pitkin, the founder of Woodhaven and East New York, as well the cyclone of 1895 and famous locals like actor Adrien Brody and baseball pitcher Don Gordon.

He said the society plans on expanding the exhibit to feature different topics, There are currently three panels now on loan to PS 60 and PS 97.

Wendell said the historical society gave students at the school $200 worth of art supplies so they could create artwork that they plan on featuring at the launch party.

“I can’t wait to see what they come up with,” Wendell said. “That’s the idea of it — provide something to help generate kids’ interest in their community.”

He said the reaction from the community so far has been a lot of curiosity.

Wendell said the project began last June and is still ongoing because there are so many as-of-yet uncovered topics. He said the organizers plan on tackling schools and churches next. He wants the exhibit to be featured at street fairs and other community events.

“Hopefully, the exhibit can be on display a couple times a year,” he said. “This is a pop-up museum. I want people to be loud. It’s not a quiet museum. It’s about getting people talking and interacting.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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