Historic Signage Installed Along the Waterfront
In 2009, the Museum’s exhibition Up and Down the River explored the subject of Hoboken’s relationship with the Hudson River, on the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage in 1609. The exhibition launched the “Open River Program,” which uses the river as the focal point of a series of talks, activities and educational tools to interpret Hoboken’s history and the ways the river has shaped the city. The exhibition and Open River series were supported in part by a generous grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. A portion of the grant was used to design and produce five new historical information signs.
This spring, with the support of the City of Hoboken, the new signs were installed in the five frames spaced at one-block intervals along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway from Newark St. to 4th St. The signs help orient visitors and residents with a map of the waterfront on one side; and on the other, historic images and text briefly describe:
• The nautical and other contributions of the Stevens family, Hoboken’s founders;
• The great passenger lines that brought immigrants and visitors from Europe;
• Hoboken’s role in WWI as a port of embarkation;
• The rise and fall of the cargo shipping industry, so graphically portrayed in the movie On the Waterfront, filmed on location here;
• The innovative integration of rail, ferries and commuter transit at the Erie-Lackawanna Terminal,
and much more.
For a deeper dive into the history of the waterfront, each sign offers a series of special codes to use to access a cell-phone tour with recorded messages about other points of interest. The signs were researched, written and designed by a team that included Director Bob Foster, Collections Manager David Webster, former Education Manager Sherrard Bostwick, and Research Associate Eileen Lynch, with graphic design by McKevin Shaughnessy.
The Open River program is an extension of the Museum’s mission of promoting, studying and preserving Hoboken heritage, and the Museum is grateful to the IMLS and the City of Hoboken for their support.