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Floating Hospital Exhibit Curated by Queens Memory/Queens Library Fellows

This past semester, three graduate library students participating in our joint fellowship with the Citi Center for Culture worked on a project to help preserve and organize the archives of New York City's Floating Hospital. The fruits of their labor are on display (through June 16) in the display cases of the Citigroup building in Long Island City. 

An opening reception for the exhibit, featuring items such as a ship's bell, child-size life jacket and logbooks, in adition to photographs and documents, was held April 27 and featured in a New York Times article the following day. The Floating Hospital was founded in 1866 primarily to provide free healthcare to impoverished children and families aboard a series of vessels. It now offers health services for families in homeless and domestic violence centers around the city.

Photo courtesy of Citi Center for Culture

50 Years of Integration Programming Wraps Up


"I Live Here" Celebration at Queens Museum

On April 23, the Queens Memory team welcomed Queens Museum visitors for "I Live Here: Celebrating 50 Years of Integration in Queens," an afternoon of hands-on activities exploring the themes of migration and diversity in Queens.

Participants could find their communities on our giant puzzle map of Queens, write love letters to their neighborhoods, and have free portraits taken. Our activities were led by Bridget Bartolini of the Five Boro Story Project, Fernanda Espinosa of People’s Collective Arts/Colectivo de Arte Popular, and Annabel Short, creator of the 30th Ave: A Year in the Life of a Street blog. There was also a display of archival photos relating to the history of diversity in Queens.

This was the culminating event of "50 Years of Integration: Personal Impacts of Demographic Changes on Shifting Neighborhoods," a programming series that ran from November 2016 to April 2017, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library. The series, funded by a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, focused on six neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, and asked residents both old and new to share personal histories, photos, memorabilia and artifacts through digitization events and community history programs. Earlier programs in the Queens series featured speakers and engaged more deeply in the specific histories of Astoria, Corona and Flushing. The celebration at the Queens Museum was for all of Queens and attracted about 100 visitors!

Event participants hang colorful "love letters" to their neighborhoods in the windows of the Queens Museum.
Two Flushing residents pose for photographer Aneeta Mitha with their piece of the Queens puzzle map.

Upcoming Events

June 3 – Queens Memory, together with the website Bliss Street Sunnyside, will host a retelling of stories from people who lived in Sunnyside as children during the 1940s and 1950s. This event will be held at the Queen of Angels Church Parish Center on the corner of 44th Street and Skillman Avenue. Contributors to Bliss Street Sunnyside will discuss that time with guests -- including the people, the politics and the ambiance of Sunnsyide of old. The Queens Memory team will be on hand to digitize any historic photographs of Sunnyside that people bring to the event. (2 - 4 pm)

July 12 – Come to our next Volunteers in the Vaults gathering at Central Library in Jamaica. Every other month, current and potential Queens Memory volunteers meet to share information and get ideas about the projects they’re doing or planning to do. We will also take a trip down to the archives reading room, where one of our archivists will show some cool items from our extensive collection! Light refreshments will be served. (6 to 8 pm; please RSVP to Richard Lee).
August 24 – We will be conducting a public oral history workshop at the Douglaston/Little Neck Library, led by Queens Memory Director Natalie Milbrodt. Attendees will learn about best practices, be trained in effective interview methods, and gain some experience performing mock interviews with other attendees. Great for beginners as well as the experienced! (2 - 4 pm)

Calling all story-quilters! Queens Memory is planning a series of workshops at the Fresh Meadows Library this fall that will combine recorded oral histories and quilting in a unique project. Check our website for more details in the coming weeks!
At our May 16 Volunteers in the Vaults event, Queens Library Archives Manager Judith Todman helps an attendee find his address on a historic Belcher Hyde map of Queens. The Archives owns a complete collection of the maps, which detail all structures in the borough.

Queens Memory Addresses Professional Community

QM staff are frequently invited to discuss our innovative programs with our colleagues in the library and archives communities. We had several such opportunities in the past several weeks: On April 28, our director, Natalie Milbrodt, spoke at a panel discussion, "Collecting Together: NYC Public Library Approaches to Community Oral History," at the Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) annual conference, held at Columbia University.

On May 2, Milbrodt, along with outreach coordinator Lori Wallach and community activist Robbie Garrison, spoke about our Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground project at "Meant to Be Heard: Voices From the Community," a panel discussion sponsored by the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York at the NYPL for the Performing Arts. 

And most recently, Milbrodt represented Queens Memory and the Queens Library at the TEH Conference: Culture and Sharing Communities in Pula, Croatia (May 25-28). She was the only American presenter at the international conference!

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