After a lengthy application process, Behold! New Lebanon has been named one of the inaugural winners of the J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize. The prize, a new initiative of the New York-based family foundation, was created as a means of sponsoring organizations across the country that address social sector innovation. Behold! is one of ten shining examples of non-profit organizations that will be receiving a total award of up to $175,000 during three years. The Innovation Prize continues the legacy of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, which has “[provided] funding to visionary social entrepreneurs throughout the United States who are championing emerging social sector innovations.” This is an exciting opportunity for Behold! New Lebanon, as well as the entire Hudson Valley region, as the social and historical teaching potential of the area is recognized by the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
Behold! is a recent development in the Columbia County community, but it was inspired by over 250 years of heritage and rural life in Upstate New York. Rather than go the route of similar museums that hire actors to portray colonial life, Behold! is the nation’s first living museum of contemporary rural life in America. The people you meet, talk to, and learn from are truly living the lives they demonstrate. Behold! offers visitors the chance to meet real florists, beekeepers, cattle breeders, hunters, and the like through a series of summer events listed on their website. Be it a tour, workshop, or chance meeting with one of the many rural guides, Behold! is certainly an experience to bookmark for summer 2016.
The funding that Behold! will be receiving over the next three years from the J.M. Kaplan Fund allows the museum to expand its operations and continue to provide its already successful tours and workshops in the coming seasons. 2015 saw more than 60 rural guide tours, with seasonal passes available to singles, couples, and families. Whether history, food, arts, farming, or all of the above be your passion, Behold! offers the chance to learn about any and all from the people who know the skill best: farmers, artists, and more of New Lebanon. Read more about the history of New Lebanon on Behold!’s website, and be sure to “like” the museum on Facebook to stay up-to-date on future events.
We here at Upstater, as self-proclaimed gurus of what the Hudson Valley has to offer, extend our congratulations to all those involved with Behold! New Lebanon, especially President Ruth J. Abram. May many more successful, educational years be ahead!
SUNY New Paltz