Pride and joy

Marjorie Block at the Saugerties Historical Society and Chamber  of Commerce booth at the Garlic Festival (photo by Robert Ford)

Marjorie Block at the Saugerties Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce booth at the Garlic Festival (photo by Robert Ford)

The Saugerties Historical Society received a Pride of Ulster County award on Sept. 25.

“It’s all about the recognition, and of course, the money,” said Marjorie Block, president of the Historical Society, adding that the group was up against cultural organizations like Byrdcliffe. “It was a nice recognition for what we do,” Block said. She said the county recognized the historical society’s combination of arts and history programming.


In addition to receiving the award, the society also received a $4,000 check for the continuing Dutch Barn project. The money will be used for lighting and a movable art display on the barn’s walls. When completed, the Dutch Barn Art and Heritage Gallery will be used to present community-wide programs and local art exhibits, Block said.

Once the barn is finished Block hopes to turn it into a space that can bring in revenue. “And once we start to make some money from events at the barn, then maybe we can hire a part-time paid staff to help out,” Block said.

Block said the Historical Society’s strength is its partnerships with other organizations. Last year, the society partnered with the USDA for a grant to put a roof on the barn. “It was a Community Facilities grant, and we were able to show the Department of Agriculture that the barn will be serving the whole community,” Block said.

The society has also teamed with the Boys and Girls Club and the American Legion Post 72 for grants.

The society relies on donations and grants to continue its operations at the Kiersted House. “In the last seven years, we have managed to bring in about $250,000 in grants and donations, but lately it’s been tough,” Block said. “The poor economy has forced organizations, companies, the state and federal governments to cut back on the money they are making available to art and historic sites.” She said the county award might help the society obtain more grants.

The 17th-century Kiersted House, the society’s headquarters on Main St., is a popular destination. During last year’s Holiday in the Village more than 1,700 visited. Block credits “the help of a lot of good people who donate their time, their efforts, their money, and sweat to help make us what we are.”

This Saturday, Oct. 5, The History of Folk Music in the Hudson Valley in conjunction with Heritage Folk Music and the Saugerties Historical Society will present an exhibit of panels on shape note singing, bluegrass, fiddle traditions, sea chanteys, Camp Woodland, ballads from the Shawangunks and Civil War songs, including artifacts of instruments and sheet music at the Kiersted House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.