We're thrilled that selections from the Coney Island History Project's Oral History Archive have been touring America since 2017 with NEH on the Road's Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland exhibit! The exhibition is now at Louisiana's Old State Capitol Museum in Baton Rouge thru October 20. The next stops are Hoyt Art Center in Pennsylvania and Manitowoc Public Library in Wisconsin before the tour concludes in March 2022 after having traveled to 18 communities in 14 states.
The NEH-funded exhibit, which first opened at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum and San Diego Museum of Art, was adapted from its original format to make it available to smaller venues in communities large and small across the country. The traveling exhibition from NEH on the Road explores America's playground as a place and as an idea, examining its persistent presence in the American imagination.
Among the Coney Island History Project interviews featured in the exhibit are Beth Allen, who was an incubator baby in Dr. Martin Couney's sideshow in Luna Park; Joseph Albanese, who recalls a time when police didn't allow bathing suits on the boardwalk even though bathing suits were very modest; and Ron Rossi and Ronald Ruiz, who talk about their experiences riding the Parachute Jump, the Cyclone and Steeplechase Horse Race at Steeplechase Park. Clips from these interviews and several others are running on a loop at one of the listening stations in the exhibition.
NEH on the Road is a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities designed to create wider national access to the ideas, themes, and stories explored in major grant-funded NEH exhibitions. The program is funded by the NEH and run by Mid-America Arts Alliance, a non-profit regional arts organization located in Kansas City.