BEHOLD! New Lebanon Museum Announces 2016 Season, Comprising 100+ Programs from June 4 Through Mid-October

Columbia County Townfolk Open their Doors to Become The First
Living Museum of Contemporary Rural American Life

New Lebanon
, the nation’s first living museum of contemporary rural
American life, today announced the details of its 2016 season, which
kicks off on Saturday, June 4. BEHOLD! New Lebanon [BNL] is a
museum-without-walls, unlike any other, offering a variety of guided
tours by locals who introduce visitors to today’s rural America.

With more than 100 different programs over the course of the summer,
these Rural Guides welcome visitors into their farms, studios and
workspaces, where they practice cooking, farming, cattle raising,
automobile racing and mechanics, wood-working, foraging and much more.
These presenters are not costumed actors or docents recalling old-world
skills; they are the real townspeople of today, whose lives and work
challenge the quaint myths about country life

“I am grateful for BEHOLD! New Lebanon, for its efforts to highlight the
importance of our rural communities,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY). The living museum gives visitors “a unique opportunity to
experience contemporary rural life in upstate New York,” she said,
calling on BEHOLD! New Lebanon to “continue the important work of
preserving and educating our communities on current rural culture and
practices in America.”

Located in this rural Columbia County community in upstate New York, the
museum was founded by social activist and historian Ruth J. Abram. A
resident of New Lebanon, who was also the founding president of the
Lower East Side Tenement Museum in Manhattan, Abram brought the idea of
a contemporary museum without walls to regional residents and town
planners. The community responded enthusiastically with an outpouring of

“As we enter our second season, we find that we are no longer considered
just a handful of people with an interesting, if quirky, idea,” said
Abram. “We are becoming a model and a movement for the revitalization of
rural American towns. The creativity and energy embodied in small-town
living is a well-kept secret, and we are taking the wraps off.”

On opening day, June 4, the programs will feature: a walk along Wyomanoc
Creek and the Corkscrew Rail Trail; gemstone identification and repairs;
hops farming (they’re not just for beer); seed saving tips and insights;
how water powered the Shakers’ world (and tools); and border collie
training and demonstration.

The second week’s programs, June 11, comprise: a nature walk at Hand
Hollow; Auctioneering 101; historic –but still working—letterpress
printing; foraging for lunch; rescuing and restoring an old home; and
stuffing sausage.

BNL received its provisional charter in 2014 from the New York Board of
Regents, which is responsible for the general supervision of all
educational activities within the State. It has been recognized by
several grants and awards, the latest being the Herbert H. Lehman Prize
for Distinguished Service to New York History. Abram received the Lehman
award earlier this month from the New York Academy of History.

Tour shuttles depart from the new Behold! Station and Store, which
serves as a visitors center, gateway and launch spot for museum
activities. Made available through the generosity of Meissner’s
Auction Service
, the Behold! Station is in a picturesque Victorian
house located at 438 State Rte. 20, New Lebanon, and serves multiple

  • rendezvous point for all BEHOLD! programs
  • on-site ticket sales
  • depot for information on Columbia County attractions
  • BEHOLD! Store, a shop featuring local merchandise and Columbia County
    goods; and
  • a new BEHOLD! Gallery of local arts and crafts

Tours are subject to change depending on weather and other variables;
current schedules are posted at

More information and the online box office can be found at


BEHOLD! New Lebanon
Edward Bride, 413-442-7718