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2019 Special Exhibit - We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future

The Museum at Bethel Woods presents We Are Golden, a very special exhibition that examines Woodstock and what the youth of 1969 wanted for the world, places the festival in the context of the positive societal changes it has spawned, and asks today’s youth what THEY are asking the world to do now. Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, Farm Aid, We Are the World, Earth Day, the Peace Movement, Women's Movement, LGBTQ Movement, #metoo, the Women's March and student gun control movement all have their roots in the 1960s. This exhibition uses the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair as a metaphor for the tumult and human response of the entire decade of the sixties in the hope that young people today may draw inspiration to articulate what it is that they want from their own world in their own time.

General support for The Museum at Bethel Woods is provided by members and donors and by Lazy Pond Bed and Breakfast and Rolling V Bus Corporation. 

Crossroads Gallery - We Are Stardust

We Are Stardust in the crossroads exhibit gallery will present objects and interpretation related to the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing, an event which took place in July of 1969, just weeks before the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The exhibit will interpret the objects and history surrounding the moon landing through the lens of American culture, examining the effect of the Cold War/Space Race, American space program, “moon mania,” and the eventual national success of putting the first man on the moon on the lives of everyday Americans at the end of the tumultuous 1960s.

Current & Upcoming Special Exhibitions

Corridor Gallery Exhibit

3 Days of Peace & Music: The Musicians of the Woodstock Festival

You asked, we answered!  Visit our new semi-permanent exhibit, which will feature vignettes on each of the 32 groups that performed at Woodstock!  From Richie Havens' opening performance to Jimi Hendrix's rousing closing performance, this exhibit will tell the story of each group pre- and post-Woodstock, and how each of the bands left a lasting impact on music and popular culture.


Election '68: The Whole World is Watching

The exhibit explores the tumultuous 1968 presidential election in its 50th anniversary year by looking at several different angles. Crucial contextual events and movements like the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy provide a background for the election. Profiles on each candidate illustrate the wide scope of political views and experience. Information on the election itself and its aftermath bring guests through the heated events of 1968 and beyond. The exhibit is supported by a collection of campaign memorabilia, including political buttons (a major inspiration for the design scheme of the exhibit), bumper stickers, pamphlets, and a few more unique items you might not find anywhere else!

Some of the exhibit objects come from our permanent collection, but also include loans from several volunteers.

We felt that it was important to highlight this election as there are many parallels that can be drawn between then and now, namely divisive political figures, strong social justice movements, and the polarization of political belief throughout the country. As we continue to navigate through choppy waters in our country today, perhaps we can look back on the events of the 1960s and ‘70s and see ourselves reflected there. What lessons can we take from our political past?

Past Special Exhibitions

Peter Max: Early Paintings
2018 Season

Selections from the Casterline Family Collection and the Fireman Family Collection

The art of Peter Max helped define the psychedelic 1960s, with its colorful imagery of gurus, sages, runners, flyers, Zen boats, snow-capped mountains, planets, stars, and sunbeams. His Cosmic posters were found in every college dorm room and in major museums across the globe. Peter Max has stayed in the public eye through five decades, but visitors to The Museum at Bethel Woods will have a rare opportunity to see inspiring artwork from a pivital moment in the artist's illustrious career: the period from 1967 through 1972 when his work moved from nostalgic collage-inspired realistic paintings to his visionary, imaginative Cosmic creations. Peter Max: Early Paintings brings together for the first time the collections of Robert Casterline and Shelly Fireman for a Peter Max experience that should not be missed.

Support for Peter Max: Early Paintings is provided by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts members and donors

LOVE FOR SALE: The Commercialization of the Counterculture
2017 Season

Drawn from the extensive popular culture collection of author and collector Michael Stern, LOVE FOR SALE examines the pervasive influence of the Counterculture on American popular culture and commerce.

Using a 1970 suburban home as a backdrop, the exhibition shows how “peace, love, and free expression” became commonplace in living rooms, dining rooms, and children’s rooms across America and how the Counterculture was trivialized and marginalized in the process. Special sections of the exhibition feature everyday objects and uncommon artifacts of the commercialization of The Beatles, the commercial rise of drug culture, and the retail displays that helped create the hard sell.

RIGHTS, RACE & REVOLUTIONS: A Portrait of LIFE in 1960s America by Grey Villet
2016 Season

The compelling photography exhibit of LIFE magazine photographer Grey Villet, who traveled America and the world for LIFE magazine like an observant explorer, mapping its emotional contours in the faces and lives of its people. His in-depth, personal studies of the American scene of the 1950s and ’60s illuminated the complex reality of those years with a truth that, in his own words, were "as real as real could get." His images of presidents and revolutionaries, sports heroes, and everyday people struggling for their rights tell an emotional and compelling story of an era that shaped the present.

Tonight on the Pavilion Stage: The First Ten Years
2016 Crossroads Gallery

It's hard to believe it has been ten years since Bethel Woods Center for the Arts opened its doors!  To celebrate our tenth anniversary, the NEW Crossroads Gallery will exhibit photographs of each performance on the Pavilion Stage along with a number of eye-catching Hatch Show Print posters.  Reminisce about the first ten years, while looking forward to what the next ten years will bring!

THREADS: Connecting '60s & Modern Rockwear
Fall 2015
THREADS is drawn from the personal collection of designer, musician, and vintage clothing collector, Andy Hilfiger. It will present over 40 vintage outfits showcasing 1960s clothing and its influence on modern styles.

Written In Stone: Sculpture by Harry Gordon
Outdoor Art Series
2015 Season
Four magnificent granite scupltures by renouned artist Harry Gordon. Much of his current work draws from his earlier classical, figurative work, and it is possible to find remnants of the figure in his art. The ideas behind Harry's work are tied very closely to the material from which it is constructed. Using traditional, ancient mediums, he tries not to manipulate his materials beyond their natural state, imbuing themwith an expression of dignity and grandeur to release their spirit.

Peace, Love, Unity, Respect:
The Rise of Electronic Music Culture in America
Spring 2015
Inspired by the new sounds and crowds Mysteryland has brought to Bethel Woods, the Museum with guest curator, Daphne Carr, will present an exhibit on the history, aesthetics, and communities that have fostered electronic dance music in America. With music, lights, interactive festival artworks, costumes, and artifacts from disco, rave, club, and EDM culture, the exhibit will be a trip through 30 years of a musical culture that lands right outside our doors this spring.

Speak Truth to Power
Fall/Winter 2014
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the museum will present these powerful, large-scale portraits of human rights activists around the world who have stood up to the powers to speak the truth. A project of Kerry Kennedy and photographer Eddie Adams, this exhibition is from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. More Info

Tom Gottsleben: What Goes Around Comes Around
2014 Season
View five sculptures by artist Tom Gottsleben.  Gottsleben’s stone and crystal sculptures are the engagingly accessible result of his intellectual, poetic, and metaphysical explorations. More Info

Remembering Woodstock: A Timeline of Reunions
2014 Season
Photos, clippings, and memorabilia telling the story of the official and unofficial celebrations of the Woodstock anniversaries and revivals through the past 45 years. More Info


America Meets The Beatles!
Spring/Summer 2014
A celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. in 1964, featuring photographs by LIFE magazine photographer Bill Eppridge and Beatles memorabilia from the Rod Mandeville collection. 


Keeping Time: The Photography of Don Hunstein-The Unseen Archive of Columbia Records 
Summer/Fall 2013
Spectacular photographs from Don Hunstein’s 30-year career as house photographer for Columbia Records from the 1950s through the 1980s. Includes intimate portraits of Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Leonard Bernstein, Aretha Franklin, and many more.


On the Cover of the Rolling Stone: The First 75 Covers
Summer/Fall 2013
The first seventy-five covers of the magazine that chronicled and helped define a generation.


On Assignment: Woodstock—Photos by Rolling Stone Photographer Baron Wolman
Spring/Summer 2013
One hundred of the images that helped spur public interest in the Woodstock festival. Includes the photos published in Rolling Stone immediately following the festival, as well as many never-before-seen images.


Shohola Bells: The Sound of Peace 


Across the Great Divide: Photographs by Roberta Price
Summer/Fall 2012
Life on a Colorado commune in the 1970s, as seen through the lens of Roberta Price, who initially documented the back-to-the-land lifestyle from the outside, then as a participant.


Byrd/Skolnick: A Tale of Two Posters
Spring/Summer 2012
The first-ever retrospective of David Edward Byrd and Arnold Skolnick, the artists who created the Woodstock posters. Exhibition examines a variety of original period Woodstock festival posters, the ongoing career of each artist, and an intriguing collection of posters inspired by the famous festival poster image.


Celebrating Woodstock: Photographs by Lisa Law
Summer/Fall 2012
Festival photographs by Hog Farm member Lisa Law.


Here Comes the Sun: Sculptures by Tom Holmes


Pig Light Show: The Music Visuals of Marc Rubinstein 
Fall 2011
A video exhibition of liquid light show artist Marc Rubinstein, whose “Pig Light Show” was a frequent added attraction at the Fillmore East.


Strange, Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix—The Art and Artifacts of the Icons Who Defined a Generation 
Summer 2011
Colorful exhibition from The Grammy Museum at LA LIVE, boasting stage costumes, stage instruments, and personal effects, as well as iconic photographs of rock royalty Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Doors.


Spaced Out! The Final Frontier in Album Covers 
Spring 2011
A whimsical look at album covers through the years that reflected the public’s infatuation with space exploration. From Experience Music Project.


Bob Dylan and The Band: From Woodstock to California, 1974–1976—Photographs by William G. Scheele
Fall 2011
Photographs of Bob Dylan and The Band’s triumphant return to touring in 1974 by their tour equipment manager, William Scheele.


Summer of Love: Peace-inspired Outdoor Sculptures by Janet Rutkowski and Walter Kenul


Collecting Woodstock: Recent Collections Acquisitions
Fall 2010
Engaging exhibition of some of the Museum’s Woodstock-related collection donations, with a focus on the donors.


The Wall That Heals: The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum
Summer 2010
A fitting accompaniment to the Eddie Adams: Vietnam photo exhibition and a tribute to all who served. More than anything else, this 4-day-and-night exhibit, displayed on the lawn adjacent to the Museum, brought people together and really did heal old wounds.


Eddie Adams: Vietnam—Photographs by Pulitzer Prize-winning Photojournalist Eddie Adams
Summer 2010
Eddie Adams photos of the war in Vietnam, shot for Associated Press, show the human side of the war, from the soldiers’ perspective.


Robert Altman’s Sixties: Portrait of a Generation 
Fall 2009
A colorful gallery-full of oversized photographs of the people and vibes of the 1960s, from the camera of Rolling Stone photographer, Robert Altman.


Give Peace A Chance: John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-in For Peace
Summer 2009
An intimate portrait of two very public people making a personal statement about Peace in a Montreal hotel room. The exhibition even included a recreation of the hotel room, where visitors would lie on the bed and listen to commentary on the bedside princess phone.


Old School: The Museum at Bethel Woods Custom Chopper
Spring 2009
From the popular television show, American Chopper, this Easy Rider-inspired chopper proclaimed the opening of the Museum at Bethel Woods to the world.


Rock Heroes: Woodstock-Inspired Selections from Hard Rock International’s Music Memorabilia Collection
Spring 2009
The Museum’s first special exhibition, Rock Heroes features guitars, costumes, and other memorabilia related to the Woodstock festival from the collection of Hard Rock International.

The Permanent Museum Collection

At the core of every great museum is a great collection. Even before The Museum at Bethel Woods opened its doors in 2008, it carefully began collecting authentic items to help it tell its story of the Woodstock festival and 1960s popular culture, politics, and societal change.

Through the generosity of our donors, the Museum has built an impressive collection of period photographs, film footage, newspapers, and ephemera, as well as clothing, jewelry, posters, and other artifacts to be used in exhibits and for scholarly research.

As is the case at other museums, there is more of the Bethel Woods Collection in secure storage than on display. This gives the Museum the flexibility to rotate sensitive items off display from time to time and to have significant items in reserve to enliven the Main Exhibit or to draw upon for Special Exhibits.

Museum guests can see a selection of recent acquisitions to the permanent collection on display in the museum lobby. These displays change frequently, so be sure to check out the lobby display each time you visit the museum.

To Donate…
If you have an item to donate to the Museum’s permanent collection, please contact Robin Green at [email protected]. If you can attach a photo of your item, that would be appreciated. Please NO NOT bring your item to the Museum without first contacting us.

Collections Wish List

Looking toward the future, the Museum would like for its permanent collection to be the definitive collection of 1960s and Woodstock-related artifacts and reference materials in the world. To reach that goal, there are some collecting areas that we need to concentrate on. We ask that collectors, Woodstock participants, and others consider The Museum at Bethel Woods as an appropriate home for the following:

  • Clothing, accessories, and costumes worn on-stage at the Woodstock festival.
  • Musical instruments and equipment used on-stage at the Woodstock festival.
  • Artwork displayed at the art fair portion of the Woodstock festival.
  • Original negatives, slides, or prints of photographs taken at the Woodstock festival.
  • Home movies shot at the Woodstock festival.
  • Woodstock staff shirts/jackets in each color (we already have red).
  • Original business papers, contracts, correspondence, etc. related to the festival.
  • Iconic artifacts of 1960s political or popular culture (for example: draft lottery numbers and cage; “I AM A MAN” placard from the Memphis sanitation workers strike).

What DON’T we want?
Because we already have several authenticated Woodstock tickets, and because there are so many fakes that are hard to detect, we do not accept Woodstock tickets. We also rarely accept autographed items unless the item itself (without the autograph) is needed for the collection.

To Donate…
If you have an item to donate to the Museum’s permanent collection, please contact Robin Green at [email protected]. If you can attach a photo of your item, that would be appreciated. Please NO NOT bring your item to the Museum without first contacting us.

Research & Photo Requests

The Museum cannot, at this time, accommodate public requests for collection access for research, staff-conducted research, or photo reproductions. It is hoped that these services will be available in the future.

Artifact Authentication & Appraisals

Museum staff may offer educated opinions about the authenticity of items brought in for examination, with prior arrangement. Museum staff may not, however, conduct appraisals or otherwise offer any opinions about the monetary value of any artifact or historical item. Anyone requiring such an appraisal is directed to one of the following professional organizations to locate a qualified appraiser in their area:

  • National Association of Professional Appraisers
    234 Lewis Wharf
    Boston, MA  02110
    (617) 720-0332
  • International Society of Appraisers
    1131 SW 7th Street, Suite 105
    Renton, WA  98055
    (206) 241-0359