Arkell Museum exhibits set

Shown is “Erie Canal, 1856,” by S. George, 1856. It’s part of the “Mingling the Waters: 200 Years on the Erie Canal” exhibit scheduled to open June 24 at the Arkell Museum. (Photo submitted)

CANAJOHARIE — The Arkell Museum will open two summer exhibitions, “Mingling the Waters: 200 Years on the Erie Canal,” and “Truth is the Only Safe Ground to Stand Upon,” portraits of New York state suffragists by Christine Heller, on June 24, according to a news release.

Both exhibitions celebrate significant New York anniversaries: the 200th Anniversary of groundbreaking for the Erie Canal, and the 100th Anniversary of New York state women’s suffrage. These exhibitions will be on display through Sept. 3.

“Mingling the Waters: 200 Years on the Erie Canal” features artwork and artifacts from the Arkell Museum’s permanent collection. Scenes depicting life on and along the canal from its construction through the early 20th century are included, as well as many views of Canajoharie and the surrounding area.

“Truth is the Only Safe Ground to Stand Upon”  features portraits of New York state suffragists by Christine Heller, created in celebration of the centennial of New York state women achieving the right to vote.

Visitors will recognize prominent suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony, who taught school in Canajoharie, and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman. Portraits of additional suffragists include Matilda Joselyn Gage, who advocated for the Mohawks and received voting rights in their council, and Harriet May Mills, who ran for secretary of state in 1920, the first year she was able to vote in a federal election. 

Heller’s artwork reflects her concern for human suffering and social inequality, a news release said. As a committed feminist, Heller was inspired by the 2016 presidential campaign to create this series of suffragist portraits in order to honor the women who fought for women’s rights, the news release said.

Inspired by an early interest in dance, Heller’s murals, installations and paintings often focus on the human figure and its placement within space and society, the news release said. Since 2012, Heller has been a scholar-in-residence at Roanoke College in Salem, W.Va. She has completed murals for the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute in Utica and the State University of New York at Oneonta. 

The Arkell Museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors, and free for members. The Arkell Museum and the Canajoharie Library are located at 2 Erie Blvd. The building has off-street parking and is wheelchair-accessible.

Bartlett Arkell, the founder and first president of the Beech-Nut Packing Co., created the original art gallery for the residents of Canajoharie in 1927.  The American painting collection now includes seven oil paintings by Winslow Homer, all currently on display, and paintings by artists such as Thomas Benton, William M. Chase, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt and Gilbert Stuart. Permanent and changing exhibitions also feature selections from the museum’s Mohawk Valley history collection as well as the Beech-Nut archives of early 20th-century advertising material.