March 26, 2009
The Museum at Bethel Woods, which explores and celebrates the
Woodstock concert held in 1969, as well as the societal context of
the 1960s, will host two new exhibits starting Saturday.
The Journal today got a sneak peek at the exhibits, "Rock Heroes:
Woodstock-Inspired Selections from the Hard Rock International Music
Memorabilia Collection" and "Old School: The Museum at Bethel Woods
Custom Chopper Built by Orange County Choppers." Hard Rock
International operates Hard Rock Cafes around the world.
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts includes the museum and a performing
arts center on the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which
was held in Bethel, Sullivan County, in Aug. 1969. This year marks
the 40th anniversary of that historic concert.
"Rock Heroes" features very eclectic pieces, including the Gibson SG
electric guitar that Pete Townshend of The Who played at Woodstock,
and smashed on the stage; a 1969 Woodstock concert designed for when
the concert going to be held in the Town of Wallkill, N.Y.; and a
two-piece snow-suit that Sears is believed to have sold in the 1970s,
which featured a print of a photograph of the crowd at Woodstock on material.
The chopper is a dazzling, sparking machine that Bethel Woods
commissioned for the museum, by the very famous Orange County
Choppers in Newburgh. This motorcycle has a leather fringe seat and
is a cross between the film "Easy Rider" and the Summer of Love.
The "Rock Heroes" exhibit also features pieces that add to the lore
These include an "official" Woodstock t-shirt that rocker Graham
Nash, of Crosby, Stills & Nash, allegedly purchased at the Woodstock
Music and Art Fair. However, there were no "official" t-shirts sold
at Woodstock, said Wade Lawrence, museum director.
Another item is a long-sleeve collar shirt, with a Woodstock logo,
that was allegedly worn by "personal assistants" working backstage at
the famous concert. Again, Lawrence said the Woodstock logo on the
shirt was used to market the movie made about Woodstock, which did
not come out until 1970.
Lawrence said that these exhibit pieces, regardless of the stories
behind them, fit into the larger story behind Woodstock, the telling
of which is the core of the mission undertaken by the Museum of Bethel Woods.
"This isn't about 'you're wrong, I'm right,'" Lawrence said Thursday.
"It's about adding to the story. It's about building the story."
In this same spirit, the "Rock Heroes" exhibit features items
associated with Woodstock, but not directly linked to the festival,
like clothing owned by Sly Stone, Joe Cocker and Keith Moon, drummer
for The Who. Moon's dress shirt features a large, embroidered,
dragon/butterfly/fairy in psychedelic colors.
Townshend's guitar, according to Lawrence, ended up in the "pit" at
the foot of the stage after The Who played Woodstock. The pit is
where the media and people with special access were situated. The
guitar appears to be in good shape, and is in one piece, although you
can see where it broke when Townshend famously smashed it on the stage.
The snow-suit, which is as eye-catching as the motorcycle, looks like
it could have been designed by Andy Warhol and stands out simply as a
unique piece of clothing. Its association with Woodstock just adds to
These two exhibits open at 10 a.m. Saturday in the special
exhibitions gallery, on the lower level of the museum. Admission to
these special exhibits is free with the purchase of a museum
admission ticket, which costs $13 for ages 18 and older; $11 for age
65 and older; and $9 for ages 8-17. Children age 3-7 cost $4 and
children age 2 and younger are free.
Click on the links to the right to watch a video interview with Alan
Gerry, who built Bethel Woods; and to see photos from today's sneak
peek of these exhibits.
Check back today for updates on this story and visit
www.bethelwoodscenter.org for information.