The Great Northern Catskills are the cradle of America's first artistic movement, the birthplace of ideas and cultural currents connecting the past to the present. Here, museums, galleries and historic sites celebrate, honor and commemorate the region's unique place in history. Mountains, river valleys and cloves echo with the ancient thunder of Henry Hudson's nine pins, the soft brush strokes of Thomas Cole's paintings and the musical notes of songs from foreign lands.
Visit Greene County's cultural centers and feel the pull of the past in a painting, listen to the stories that helped shape our nation's idea of wilderness and be inspired by the natural beauty of the Catskills.
Catskills' Museums and Hudson Valley History
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY is a must on any museum tour of the Catskills. As the former home of Thomas Cole, the painter who started the Hudson River Art School, guests are treated to a rich, multifaceted experience. Explore the Hudson River Art trail and gaze across the vistas immortalized by the movement's painters, or attend a special Sunday Salon lecture and dive deeper into arts in America. Tour through Cole's home and studio with a knowledgeable guide and attend special exhibitions of Hudson River School painters and their contemporaries.
The Bronck Museum in Coxsackie, NY is home to the oldest structure in the Hudson Valley. Guided tours offer insight into the 17th century way of life in the Catskills, and educational programs provide fun activities for children and adults. Don't miss the unique 13-sided barn, which houses a collection of horse-drawn wagons and carts.
Memorial in Stone – America's First Mount Rushmore
Pratt Rock and the Zadock Pratt Museum memorialize one of Greene County's most unique leading citizens. In the mid-1800s, Pratt, a Colonel in the New York State Infantry, a Congressman and successful businessman, commissioned a stone carver to fashion his life's achievements into the sheer cliff face overlooking his farm.
From his successes, to his personal philosophies, his sorrows and his joys, Pratt's life is etched like hieroglyphics into the hills above Route 23 just a few miles south of Prattsville, a must see attraction offering a short hike and an enduring history lesson.
Learn more about Pratt, the man who helped shape Greene County, and the rocks that tell his story at The Zadock Pratt Museum on Main Street in Prattsville.
Musical Traditions in the Catskills
The Catskills are home to musical traditions that celebrate the songs of cultures from around the world. Explore the history of pianos with Steven E. Greenstein's collection of rare, vintage instruments, some of which date back to Mozart's days as a composer, at the Doctorow Center for the Arts in Hunter, NY.
From Hudson River history to cultural attractions with a global relevance, museums in the Catskills offer diversity and discovery.