woodstock museum

Woodstock Museum of the Music and Art Fair

The Travel category of 60s Folks In Their 60s website opens with the repository of the remembrances of the three day rock concert which we all call Woodstock. The official name of the event that took place on August 15, 16, 17 in 1969 was the Woodstock Music and Art Fair Despite the name, it did not take place in the artsy community of Woodstock. It was on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York that 400,000 young people of our generation basked in the sun, endured the rain, and sloshed in the mud while listening to Jimi Hendrix, the Greatful Dead, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, CCR and virtually every top, rock act of the 60s. The museum strangely enough does not bare the Woodstock name, it is simply called the Museum at Bethel Woods.

The museum serves as a metaphor for the change that has taken place among us. Were the communal, pilgrim community of mostly gate crashers and their meager possessions once camped in chaos there stands a well synchronized, state-of-the-arts techno-experience. The 6,728 square-foot permanent exhibit gallery contains more than two thousand music, film, and photographic elements including twenty short films, panels and murals containing 330 photographs, and at least 300 artifacts.

The Buseum at Bethel Woods

For those who still have the “itching desire” to see the place that made history, the Museum at Bethel is the place to go. The Museum at Bethel Woods, which opened on June 2, 2008, is perched on the edge of the festival site and dedicated to telling the story of Woodstock and the entire 60s experience – the history of our formative years. It is ironic that such a counter culture event has come down to being commemorated with interactive kiosks, a replica hippie bus, and end with a shop that flogs all manner of memorabilia.

“It’s sort of a three-act play,” said Michael Egan, who is in charge of developing the museum for the not-for-profit Gerry Foundation. “We tell you the story of the ’60s, the story of Woodstock and the story of the legacy of Woodstock.”

The actual site of the big stage that the rockers of a generation performed on is long gone, but down the hill from the museum there is a marker where it stood.

The official website for the museum says, “The Museum at Bethel Woods is an immersive and captivating multi-media experience that combines film and interactive displays, text panels and artifacts to explore the unique experience of the Woodstock festival, its significance as a culminating event of a decade of radical cultural transformation, and the legacy of the Sixties and Woodstock today.”

The displays details the four days of music and the free spirited and sometimes shocking actions of those in attendance. It also includes a section of the chain link fence placed around the concert site in a futile bid to
keep out freeloaders and a plaque relating the story of Leni Binder, a local woman who made peanut butter sandwiches for the frolicking peace children.

Pay A Visit

If you visit the museum, there will be no gatecrashing allowed. For those of us over 65 it will cost $11, other
adults are $13, teens (8-17 yrs) $9, children (3-7) $4, and the little ones are free. Open seven days a week from May 23 thru Monday, September 7. The rest of the year the doors are only open Thursday through Sunday.

By Chowning

Richard Chowning was a teenager during the 60s. Being a Southern California resident during those years, he experienced many of the events and trends that distinguished those times.

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