OHA & Onondaga Historical Museum - Temporary Exhibis, Customized Exhibits & Traveling Exhibits . . . History brought to life!

Onondaga Historical Museum Temporary Exhibits

Lodging Landmark, The Heritage of the Hotel Syracuse
December 11, 2014 through June 14, 2015 at Onondaga Historical Museum

The exhibit will feature twenty framed images along with a small selection of original archival items and artifacts.  Fourteen historic images will be drawn from the extensive photographic files on the hotel maintained in the OHA's permanent collection.  These range from a 1923 view of construction to the 1948 interior of the famous Rainbow Lounge, along with historic scenes of the Cavalier Room, the Persian Terrace and other locations from its heyday.  Additionally, there will be a half-dozen recent interior images taken this year by professional photographer Bruce Harvey.  These show that the hotel still maintains an irreplaceable majesty despite years of faded glory. The hotel, which opened in 1924, has been closed and dormant for several years but a new owner has begun a massive project to renovate it for the future while restoring its grand architecture. Free and open to the public. The exhibit is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the following firms: Holmes, King, Kallquist Architects, the Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt engineering firm, Hayner Hoyt Corporation and IPD Engineering, all of Central New York, plus MLG Architects of New York City.

Watercolor Memories:  The Artistic Legacy of Betty Munro
EXTENDED through February 8th at Onondaga Historical Museum
On July 16th, OHA will open an exhibit featuring the watercolors of the late Betty Munro, a local artist who could be seen painting in downtown Syracuse throughout the 1970’s to the early 1990’s.  Located in the first floor main gallery, the exhibit will focus on Betty’s artistic diversity through watercolor paints.  Betty is best known for her architectural scenes and cityscapes, and while guests will see some of those, they also will be treated to other, perhaps lesser-known, subjects such as human figures, swans, barns, the beach in Florida, and other colorful themes.  All paintings in the exhibit will be for sale.

It’s In Our Very Name:  The Italian Heritage of Syracuse
EXTENDED through May 3rd, at Onondaga Historical Museum
This exhibition will focus on the history and influence of Italian culture on our community.  This begins with the very name given to this village in 1825, when John Wilkinson was inspired by a poem about Siracusa, Sicily.  Later, there was an Italian influence in our architecture, and by the 1880’s, an increasing number of Italian immigrants began to arrive to help with construction of various infrastructures and buildings.  Individuals, such as Mario Galluzzo will be highlighted.  The exhibit will also show how paintings influenced one of Syracuse’s own artistic institutions.   Sponsored by M&T Bank.

Snowy Splendor: Winter Scenes of Onondaga County
Now through March 15, 2015 at Onondaga Historical Museum

This exhibitoon features oil, acrylic, & watercolor paintings, photographs, and drawings of winter scenes of Onondaga County from area artists and photographers.   The 30 scenes include downtown Syracuse, rural vistas, Oakwood & Rose Hill Cemeteries, and woodland settings.  The imagery also is varied; sometimes stark, sometimes colorful, yet all evocative of a season we love and hate. 

Thinkin' 'bout Lincoln
Now through April 2015, Onondaga Historical Museum Lobby

In conjunction with Onondaga Community College’s traveling exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, the OHA Museum has installed a small exhibit called, Thinkin’ ‘bout Lincoln: Lincoln Memorabilia at OHA.  This exhibit, which runs from October 22-December 14, 2014, features objects associated with Abraham Lincoln that are in the Onondaga HistoricalMuseum collection.  Some of the objects include: the hat that Lincoln reputedly wore on his secret journey from Springfield, Ill to Washington, DC in February 1861; a drinking cup that Lincoln actually used in 1863; campaign ribbons from the 1860 presidential campaign; a piece from the chair Lincoln reputedly sat in just prior to giving his Gettysburg Address; a hair picture that contains the actual hair of President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and William H. Seward; and other items of actual or anecdotal interest.  Tom Hunter, OHA’s Curator of Museum Objects, will discuss the objects in the exhibit on two dates: October 30th and December 8th from 4-5 pm. “Supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.”

OHA Collaborative Offsite Exhibitions

Landscape Painting Exhibition
At the North Hall, 2nd floor of the Capitol Building, Albany, NY.   
Exhibit of paintings that represent iconic scenes from CNY.

OHA Temporary Offsite Exhibitions

Onondaga County Courthouse, 4th Floor, Legislative chamber
A major highlight of the 2013 New York State Fair is this exhibition about Onondaga Lake past, present and future.  A cooperative effort between Onondaga Historical Association, Office of the Governor of New York State, SUNY ESF, Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program, Honeywell, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Audubon Society, COR Development, Destiny USA, SUNY Morrisville, O’Brien & Gere, and the New York State Fair.

TRANSFORMING SYRACUSE'S LAKEFRONT: The 25th Anniversary of a Bold Vision - 1987-2012
Two of the panels of the six panel exhibition explore the stunning changes that have occurred to the Syracuse Lakefront district since officials of the Pyramid Companies and the City of Syracuse first announced plans to begin a transformation of the city's waterfront.  The exhibit introduces the lakefront as an area with a long history, extending back to colonial times and once serving as the heart of Syracuse's great salt industry.  The exhibit then examines, often through dramatic before and after images, the changes that have occurred in the area with Carousel Center serving as the catalyst.  These transformations have taken place at the Inner Harbor, with the removal of dozens of oil tanks; along Onondaga Creek, with the creation of the Creekwalk; and within the abandoned early 20th century industrial district that is now the exciting historic Franklin Square neighborhood.

RENEWAL OF A COMMUNITY RESOURCE: Onondaga Lake’s Historic Role in Shaping Syracuse’s Identity exhibition
Syracuse City Hall Common Council Chamber

Center of Excellence
The exhibit begins with Onondaga Lake and the Native American philosophy of respect for the environment, then travels through time to examine early windmills and wind power, as well as the efficiency of the Syracuse-made Ner-A-Car, to the first centrifugal chiller made by Carrier Corp. and installed in the lithography department at Onondaga Pottery Co.  The exhibit also analyzes the Erie Canal, railroad travel through Syracuse, and the air-cooled Franklin automobile.

War Memorial
This exhibit displays our area’s rich and significant military history, from the American Revolution to the Iraq War.  There are fascinating displays with authentic artifacts from each conflict, all from the extensive collections of the Onondaga Historical Association Museum.  The exhibit includes a Civil War draft wheel, muskets, swords, flags, life-size figures in period uniforms… even a local World War II P.O.W.’s diary

These unique displays, beautiful Memorial Hall, and the Congressional Medal of Honor display (on the second floor) are all a permanent tribute to our Syracuse & Onondaga County veterans.

D. McCarthy, Sons & Co. Exhibit
This mini off-site exhibit features some objects and archival items associated with the 19th century department store D. McCarthy, Sons & Co.  The exhibit is located in the building’s lobby at the corner of E. Fayette and Salina Sts.  It consists of one exhibit case displaying some clothing and shoes once sold at D. McCarthy, Sons & Co. department store along with some beautiful trade cards.  The exhibit case also includes some store advertisements.  Also located on the lobby wall is a portrait of Dennis McCarthy, Sr. the second owner of the store.  Painted by George Kasson Knapp in 1897, the portrait of McCarthy looks down on the lobby making sure all is well with the lobby and exhibit.

OHA Exhibit at Century Club
At Century Club
The portrait of  Moses DeWitt Burnet, the original owner of the Clubhouse, painted by Charles Loring Elliott in 1841, is on long term loan from the Onondaga Historical Association and hangs just outside the Member’s Dining Room.  Beginning this month, OHA will expand its exhibit at the Club and will showcase some of its great Syracuse China Collection in the china cabinets within the Member’s Dining Room.  The first exhibit of 60-70 plates will be from the collection of plates of Native American images. Some of these plates are  "Approved Sample" plates which are one-of-a-kind plates. Many have the original paper stamp (which identifies them as "Approved Samples").  There was one "Approved Sample" made for every order of Syracuse China prior to full-scale production so these are unique plates.  There are also some plates that are part of the historical collection (including one that was designed by the famous painter, N.C. Wyeth, called "Return of the Hunter").  More information about the display will be a part of the exhibit.

OHA Customized Offsite Exhibitions

United Way of Central New York: A 90th Anniversary Exhibition
Opening at United Way headquarters in September, this panel exhibit will trace the growth and vital work carried on by one of the community’s most important charitable efforts.  Once known as the Community Chest, this local organization’s roots extends back to one of the first national campaigns carried on during World War I to provide relief to the sufferings of both the civilians and soldiers caught up in that catastrophic conflict.

OCC H-1 Hall Lobby
Permanent panel exhibit: "An Historic Location" tells the story of the RHEC site from its 15th century occupation by Native Americans, through its use in the 19th and 20th centuries as the Onondaga County Poor House and Home.  Call OCC for more information, 315.498.2622.

OHA Exhibit at Century Club
The portrait of Moses DeWitt Burnet, the original owner of the Clubhouse, painted by Charles Loring Elliott in 1841, is on long term loan from the Onondaga Historical Association.  Beginning this month, OHA expands its exhibit at the Club and showcases some of its great Syracuse China Collection in the china cabinets within the Member’s Dining Room.  The first exhibit of 60-70 plates from Native American images.  Some of these are "Approved Sample" plates which are one-of-a-kind.  Many have the original paper stamp (which identifies them as "Approved Samples"). There was one "Approved Sample" made for every order of Syracuse China prior to full-scale production.  There are also some that are part of the historical collection (including one that was designed by the famous painter, N.C. Wyeth, called "Return of the Hunter"). 

ARC of Onondaga
This panel exhibit in the Wilbur Avenue headquarters of Arc commemorates its 60th anniversary, as it revisits Arc's historic and inspirational story.


OHA’s Traveling Exhibitions at the Onondaga County Public Library. 
Displays that connect famous stage plays with local history.


OHA’s Traveling Exhibitions at Syracuse City Hall. 

Little Women
Local connections of the Alcott Family to Syracuse and how local families communicated with loved ones in the field, during the Civil War.  Sponsored by National Grid.

The Miracle Worker
History of Central New York facilities dealing with physically and developmentally disabled youth and the visit of Helen Keller to Syracuse in 1920.  Sponsored by Hancock—Estabrook, LLP.



Onondaga Historical Association
321 Montgomery St.,  Syracuse, NY. 13202
Phone 315-428-1864, Fax: 315-471-2133