Hoboken Historical Museum and Hurricane Sandy

Hoboken: One Year After Sandy, Lessons Learned About Preparedness, Resiliency and Community is being exhibited at the Hoboken Historical Museum until July 6. The exhibit examines the past, present and future of Hoboken's relationship with water as well as offers interactive media, oral histories and lecture series' to compliment it.

"My favorite part of this particular exhibit is that it looks at the past, the present and the future," said Melissa Abernathy, Communications Manager for the museum. "People can also share all different types of accounts, good, bad, ugly, funny..."

Notebooks are laid out to allow residents a chance to record a sentence or two about their experience during Hurricane Sandy; an invaluable piece of history in people's own handwriting like "I saw two rubber row boats coming down 4th St. and Clinton" or "I thought I was back in the Atlantic."

Visitors are not only encouraged to document their experience during Hurricane Sandy, but also understand the ramifications of the storm, review proposals from graduate students to mitigate Hoboken's flooding and even look at 1874 letters from the mayor regarding Hoboken's flood plans.

The historical element piques your interest as soon as you walk through the door. It was actually hard to pry away from this exhibit once you started learning just how long Hoboken has dealt with flooding and were able to review old maps of the city grid and wetlands.

Mayor Peter McGavisk said here, "I found the greater portion of them [the Meadows] completely submerged, they were then and are now in a most deplorable condition, caused chiefly from the immense overflow form the Hill which swept across First Street with force sufficient to wash away a portion of the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street."

The past mayor also said that any competent engineer could impart the necessary information to see what could feasibly done and how much it would cost to do so. The cost of flood pump plans are also displayed in cases, and they were just a wee bit cheaper than they are today, by the millions.


The exhibit also offers stations like "How Deep Was the Water," a light-up flooding animation provided by Stevens and a "Comfort Zone." The Comfort Zone asks visitors to take two pieces of yarn and a tag and share what "comfort means to them." This is often done during natural disasters and tragedies, as a therapeutic resolve by reading others' kind words.

Many pieces of the exhibit were done with Stevens Institute of Technology. The museum also offers some guest lectures from students at other schools like Rutgers and NJIT until February. There will also be a Sandy Community Outreach Program through the auspices of the United Way of Hudson County. For more info or date, time and speaker specifics visit www.hobokenmuseum.org.

Upstairs from the exhibit was a truly talented young man and his many paper airplanes. The upper gallery is buzzing with Let it Fly: Model Airplanes by Peter Gutierrez.. Peter Gutierrez is a 9th grade student at Hoboken High School and a model airplane making prodigy. Peter plans to study aerospace engineering in college and even his most complex looking planes actually fly! Peter's proud mom greeted visitors with homemade empanadas, snacks and desserts on opening day of the upper gallery while Peter talked planes with onlookers. 

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