Approach history differently at Hyde Hall with block party and drag show

Approach history differently
at Hyde Hall
with block
party and drag show

Hyde Hall, at Glimmerglass State Park, hits the ground running with the “Hyde Hall and Glimmerglass State Park Block Party and Opening Day” from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. The history-filled mansion invites the community for a day of crafts, food, animals and music to kick off an exciting 2022 season, and the park will have camp safety programs, a band on the beach, birdhouse building and a bird hike/tour.

“I think you’ll see a lot of changes at Hyde Hall this year,” said John Aborn, Marketing Manager. “We’ve got some really great, new innovative events planned throughout the year.”

The Hall’s board of directors adopted a new, condensed mission statement: Preserve and share Hyde Hall; promote research, and develop inclusive educational programs and events that help diverse audiences to explore, understand, and appreciate history.

“We’ve been able to introduce a number of programs this season that are going to allow us to keep to our new mission,” Mr. Aborn said.

Among the new events: a drag show! Mr. Aborn said “Hyde Hall in Drag,” set for August 6, will be a “new way to present history and how early agricultural development happened in our region, by using an entirely different artistic approach and scheme to present that story.”

“This evening will allow visitors to, through the art of drag, experience an evening of fun and artistic expression that follows the history of Hyde Hall,” he said. “It’s filled with laughter, tears, and oversized wigs.”

“We will no longer have any passive engagement experiences here; our programs will be full engagement in experiences that emulate, as close as possible, what history was actually like,” he said.

Hyde Hall’s fabulous “Get Lit” event, in July, is always a favorite amongst visitors.

“It’s basically a historic cocktail and lighting event,” Mr. Aborn said. “We could have done something as simple as a lecture on the evolution of lighting, but we wanted something more exciting!”

Hyde Hall will pair historic lighting devices on site with a historic cocktail or culinary treat that correlates to the lighting device.

“When we featured the argon lamp, which was developed by a Swiss/French chemist in the 1780s, we served a cocktail named Syllabub which is a whipped cream and wine dessert,” Mr. Aborn said. “It’s nice when you can listen to a lecture on lighting and enjoy a new food or drink.”

“We’re trying to change the visitor experience and the socio-cultural landscape of what this site can do. We want to make sure we’re presenting Hyde Hall in a very equitable, diverse, and interesting way so we get visitors to come in,” Mr. Aborn said.

Hyde Hall, in the past, had been hidebound with a reputation for being boring and dry. That’s about to change.

“We are bringing it into more of a modern landscape of what museums should be doing to make sure we have a diverse audience so they have an opportunity to approach history as they’ve never done before,” Mr. Aborn said.

“Our new menu of programming isn’t just something the audience will notice, it’s something Hyde Hall as an institution will see differently as well,” he said. “It opens up this entire new world with potential for us as a site. That way we can start thinking about transforming the site and how we present history to local audiences, audiences in central New York and beyond.”


4 thoughts on “Approach history differently at Hyde Hall with block party and drag show

  1. portia

    I guess that when you don’t know how to make history interesting you result to gimmicks like a drag show. This will probably attract the crowd that wants to show how “with it” they are, but will be looked back as a time of embarrassment, like the photo of your grandfather swallowing goldfish.

  2. Chip Northrup

    We are big fans of Hyde Hall. Drag queens pretending to be female historical figures sounds like a really foolish idea. There are other ways to enliven history than to mock it

  3. Local

    This all sounds very exciting. I hope you’ll still have the haunted ghost stories nights.

    Thank you for doing the work to be more inclusive and expand your events! I’m sure it will attract just the right type of people to our community. And maybe through your programming, we can learn what it means to honor and respect someone’s identity through history.

  4. Robert O'Con

    Drag Queens ??? You have got to be kidding. Yes, why not make Cooperstown another Cherry Grove (Fire Island) or Provincetown. Those who think of themselves as so “with it ” champions of diversity and inclusion are showing themselves to be the liberal leftwing morons they really are.

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