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New Yager Exhibition Highlights Native Americans, Upper Susquehanna

September 12, 2016

Hartwick College’s Yager Museum of Art & Culture will return to its roots when it opens a new exhibition on Thursday, September 22, celebrating the lengthy history of life in the Upper Susquehanna River region. The exhibition, Of Time and the River: 12,000 Years in the Upper Susquehanna Region, curated by Dr. David Anthony of the College’s Anthropology Department, draws on the extensive collection gathered by the museum’s namesake, Willard Yager, from 1890-1929.

The exhibition explores the culture of the Iroquois and Algonquian peoples and those who came before them, using the objects collected and documented by Yager a century ago. Among the artifacts on display will be hunting and war weapons and tools crafted for working wood. Tobacco pipes illustrate trade routes with far-flung partners. Ceramics demonstrate the transition to an increasingly agricultural culture over centuries. The period after the arrival of settlers from Europe features artifacts from Onaquaga, the most important Native American town in the region in the century before the American Revolution.

“This exhibition gives the Museum a chance to revisit Yager’s collection through the lens of modern scholarship,” according to Museum Coordinator Dr. Doug Kendall. “Professor of Anthropology and Curator David Anthony has curated an exhibition based on the original core of the Museum’s collection in a way that illuminates thousands of years of human habitation in our area. It’s great to have this important collection back on view.”

“This will be the best the Yager collection has looked in 50 years,” Anthony promised. “Yager’s collection is a lot bigger than what we can show, but it was fun choosing these visually striking artifacts – many of them thousands of years old – to connect visitors with the Native American people who lived in the upper Susquehanna Valley from the first explorers 12,000 years ago until the Revolutionary War. The exhibition includes both ends of that spectrum, and a skilled designer and Museum staff make it really pop.” 

In addition to Of Time and the River, the Yager has refreshed the ongoing exhibition Andy Warhol: Photographs in the Yager Museum Collection, adding images of celebrities as well as lesser-known clients and friends of the Pop Art icon, all exhibited for the first time in Oneonta.  Also continuing on view are Rapture and Havoc: Kurtz, Malanga, and Warhol at Hartwick College, Paleolithic Peoples: Old Digs, New Discoveries?, and the permanent exhibition Masterpieces of European and American Art: The Hartwick College Art Treasure Room.

All exhibitions will be open throughout the 2016-2017 Hartwick College academic year. The Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. when the College is in session. The Museum is closed Sundays, Mondays, College holidays, and when the College is not in session.

For more information on Yager Museum and these exhibitions, visit the museum’s website, Facebook page, call 607-431-4480, or e-mail Kendall at kendalld@hartwick.edu.