Historic Huguenot Street is hosting a two-day living history event on Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15 that will transport visitors back in time to an American Colonial Era marketplace. New Netherland Marketplace, 1645, predates the French Protestant occupation of the region that would become known as New Paltz. Though such a setting never actually existed in this exact location, the fictional market aims to immerse visitors in a mid-17th-century New Netherland, where they will discover, perhaps, a surprisingly diverse and culturally rich population comprised of Indigenous representatives, free and enslaved Africans and Dutch artisans and merchants.
Living historians portraying Dutch merchants, traders and craftspeople will be offering demonstrations on leather- and woodworking, hearth cooking, tailoring, timber-framing, wampum-making and more. The marketplace will also include displays of camp gear and furs, clothing, wooden bowls and spoons for sale. Demonstrations of cannon- and musket-firing will be taking place at approximately 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on both days. Saturday’s demonstrations will include 17th-century martial arts presentations at noon and 2 p.m.
African folktales, storytelling and music performances will be presented by April Armstrong and Salieu Suso at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Armstrong, who has become known for her dramatic performances of folktales from Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas, will be accompanied by Suso on the 21-stringed kora. The kora, which originates from the Gambia in West Africa, is constructed of calabash, rosewood, cowhide and fishing lines as strings and most closely resembles the Western harp.
Finally, Delaware and Lenape representatives will be returning to their ancestral homelands to portray the life of their ancestors and their economic relationship with the Dutch. Their camp will have ongoing open-fire cooking, cordage-making, bow-shooting, flintknapping, arrowmaking and hide-tanning demonstrations throughout the weekend. Enrolled members of the Delaware Tribe of Indians (Bartlesville, Oklahoma), the Delaware Nation (Anadarko, Oklahoma) and the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown (Thamesville, Ontario) will be present, representing their people and culture and speaking about their communities today.
This event is free and open to the public. Visitors are not required to wear a face-covering while in attendance, nor are they required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Appropriate face-covering is neither required in the Visitor Center nor while on tours of the historic structures, though it is encouraged in order to protect our staff and community, as well as immunocompromised and unvaccinated individuals.
On view in the Visitor Center is an exhibit of authentic artifacts associated with the Esopus Munsee people. Additionally on display is an exhibit focusing on Jane Deyo Wynkoop, featuring replica archival documents that shed light on the life of one of the first African Americans to buy land in New Paltz, as well as “We wish to live with you in peace,” Hendrick Aupaumut’s Letter to the New York State Legislature.
Guided tours of the historic houses will begin at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center and be available starting at 11 a.m. Individuals may register in advance or upon arrival. Tours last approximately one hour and guide visitors to the Esopus Munsee wigwam, the European community’s original burying ground, into the reproduction 1717 French Church and through the Jean Hasbrouck House. General admission for tours is $12.
For a full list of scheduled events, visit www.huguenotstreet.org/new-netherland-marketplace-1645.