A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery commemorates the 175th anniversary of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Predating both Central Park and Prospect Park, the national historic landmark was one of the most important landscapes of the 19th Century, ultimately influencing the rise of public parks and green space in the U.S.
The exhibition design creates a continuous environmental surface from historic maps of the cemetery. Museum visitors navigate the exhibition encountering objects and stories of Green-Wood’s most famous “residents” that are positioned according to their location within the landscape. A series of maps that document the distinctive, twisting paths and roads of the park are spliced together on the floor, creating a miniaturized landscape. Significant burial plots and the artifacts and images associated with them are arranged according to their position on the map. The artifacts are gathered within a range of lantern-like vitrines, conjuring an impression of the park at twilight. The story of the cemetery itself is told through historic documents, sculptures, drawings, paintings, and photographs. Vintage guidebooks, prints, and souvenirs capture Green-Wood’s days as a tourist attraction.
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This 175th anniversary exhibition of the historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn offers a positive expression of lives well lived. Death is an unsettling topic but from the very title of the exhibition, ‘A Beautiful Way to Go,’ the curators and designers give visitors a sensitive and subject-appropriate way to learn about this landmark and its ‘residents.’ I appreciated the deliberate light touch that keeps the content and artifacts engaging. There is a dignity about the entire mood that is extremely well done.”
Abbott Miller (art director, designer); Jesse Kidwell, Chris Adamick (designers)
Museum of the City of New York: Donald Albrecht (curator), Susan Gail Johnson (curatorial associate), Kassy Wilson (exhibition coordinator)
South Side Design & Building (primary fabricator), Apple Digital Graphics (floor and wall graphics, Full Point Graphics (CAD-cut vinyl graphics and case labels), Ken Allen Studios (object labels)