Centennial Stories

Check back periodically to learn more about key moments from the Museum’s rich history. #HRM100

1932: The Homelands Exhibition Series: A Welcome to Immigrants

The Homelands exhibitions, which were presented throughout the 1930s and 40s, showcased the decorative arts and crafts of Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian, Assyrian, Armenian, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Scandinavian, and Chinese residents of Westchester County.

1929: The Elephant in the Room

1929, the year the stock market crashed, was also the year the American Museum of Natural History gave the Hudson River Museum the gift of a taxidermied elephant.

1929: Education Programs

William Berkeley, who served as Director of the Museum from 1926–37, moved swiftly to make education one of the institution’s top priorities, and the Museum went on to actively cultivate relationships with local schools.

William Berkeley, First Director of the HRM

During his 11-year tenure, Dr. Berkeley spearheaded many important initiatives and changes to the Museum, which included creating collection galleries devoted to fine arts, natural history, earth sciences, and local and world history.

William Hahn, Union Square, New York, 1878

James B. Colgate, who had an estate in Yonkers just south of Glenview and commuted to Wall Street, owned William Hahn’s Union Square. His daughter, Mary, who lived on Ravine Avenue when the Museum moved to Glenview, donated this painting in November 1925.

Mabel Donnelly, a Guiding Force at the Museum

Mabel Donnelly, a longtime school librarian and music teacher, was the Museum’s supervisor and first employee, whose wide-ranging roles included those of a curator, registrar, administrator, and educator all in one.

New Home, New Acquisitions

By the time the Museum moved to Glenview in April 1924, it owned some 2,500 minerals, fossils, and relics, as well as works of fine art—acquired through the leadership and, in many cases, the personal generosity of Edwin C. Mott. The Museum continued to acquire key pieces even before its doors opened in December of that year.

Isidore Konti, One of the Early Founders

From 1906 until his death in 1938, Isidore Konti lived in Yonkers, where he became a key member of the cultural scene. He co-founded the Yonkers Art Association and served as an early commissioner of the Yonkers Museum of Science and Arts.

Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., One of the Early Founders

A titan of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century photography and a lifelong resident of Yonkers, Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. (1862–1932) was a leading member of the Yonkers Art Association, a group of local artists dedicated to fostering art in the community, and one of the early advocates for the formation of the Museum.

The Trevor Family

A philanthropist, John Bond Trevor was deeply involved with the local community, helping to build the Warburton Avenue Baptist Church and to found what eventually became St. John’s Riverside Hospital.