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2022 in Review

(& what we'll see in '23)

The Roeliff Jansen Historical Society and Museum is on the rise, and thanks to the continuing support of our loyal members, we’ve just capped, what has, in many ways,  been our most successful year ever! In this year’s annual appeal, we are excited to review the many activities and events your renewals and donations have made possible during the past twelve months. In addition to the continued cataloging of our growing collection and monthly online newsletters, below is a partial list of what we’ve accomplished in 2022. 

A New Sign on Miles Road.

On April 13th a new and elegant sign was installed on the front of the historical society’s building, formerly The Old Copake Falls Church (built 1892). The sign was created by Ilona Klimek of IMK Signs and Designs located in Chatham, NY. The installation was documented by several members of the RJHS board of directors against the backdrop of a dramatic early morning sky. The Historical Society’s new sign was inspired by and matches the black and gold sign that adorns the Copake Falls Post Office just across Miles Road.

We are grateful for assistance of Ilona's colleague, Matt Kusewich, of Mathew Signs in Columbiaville, NY, who provided the all-important bucket truck enabling them to reach the otherwise inaccessible location where the sign was placed.

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(L TO R) Matt Kusewich, of Mathew Signs Ilona Klimek

of IMK Signs and Designs 

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Summer Exhibit: From the Home Front to the Front Lines

told the personal stories of individuals who served at home and overseas during the Second World War and was heralded as the finest exhibit ever on view at the Historical Society Museum. Virtually all the WWII items were generously loaned from families

and individuals from the Roe Jan area and beyond and this deeply personal installation examined a global conflict through the prism of local residents’ own experiences. Visitors to the exhibit called it “A great achievement” and “A real lesson in history.” Seen by over 500 visitors between July and mid-October, the exhibit broke all previous attendance records. A series of gallery talks provided fascinating insights into many aspects of the Second World War, and a WWII veteran celebrated his 100th birthday at the Museum! Be sure to visit the section of our website for much more about the 2022 summer exhibit!   


Publications Video documentaries: In 2022, two feature articles appeared in both the June and October issues of Main Street Magazine. Adding to our growing cache of videos available on the website and our dedicated RJHS YouTube channel, we produced three


short new documentaries have been added, produced by RJHS: entitled Dorothy Baker: Copake’s British War Bride; The Diaries of Erika Lobel; and Cliff Paino - a Gallery Talk (about his parents in WWII).  

(Note: Sadly, Copake's 'British War Bride', Ms. Dorothy Baker passed away in mid-October at the age of 97)

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"The Village Cidiot "   by Lauren Letellier    

On October 23rd, we did something completely new!  We staged a sold out performance of the author and Hillsdale historian Lauren Letellier's autobiographical, one-woman show, 'THE VILLAGE CIDIOT", as a Benefit for  the RJHS. The performance was held at the Ancram Opera House: and raised significant funds for the Historical Society. The RJHS is very grateful to Lauren Letellier for sharing her talents, and to Paul Ricciardi and Jeffrey Mousseau Co-Artistic Directors, for allowing us to use their wonderful performance space in the historic former Grange building In the Hamlet of Ancram and thanks also to our volunteers who helped facilitate this stellar theatrical production!

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        A Sold Out Benefit Performance!

Pictured Above - Lauren  Letellier performing her work  "the Village Cidiot"at the Ancram Opera House and with RJHS President, Lesley Doyel, 

Photos by Nora Fritsch.

Winter Walk

and Special Holiday Decorations: Dec. 4th, 12 to 4 pm

On December 4th, RJHS  as part of the annual Winter Walk,  displayed vintage Christmas tems, two raffles, and handcrafted wreathes werev available for sale. In addition to serving baked goods and hot cider, children and their families  visited Santa Claus.

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...and in 2023

Enhanced and expanded social media presence: In addition to our RJHS Facebook page, this past spring we’ve achieved a substantial and growing presence on Instagram, with our numerous regular postings about RJHS events, exhibitions, and fascinating aspects of Roe Jan area history. On Instagram we are rjhscopakefalls.

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Special Initiatives: In 2023, RJHS will continue several initiatives, including the expansion of our climate-controlled storage space, increasing outreach, and developing educational programming for all ages. We are proud have co-sponsored a book talk by local author Joe Gosler held at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library, to be active members of the Columbia County History Group and participants in the Bicentennial Committee planning the celebration of the founding of Copake in 1824.


Important Anniversary: Next June marks the 40th Anniversary of the dedication of the restored and repurposed Copake Falls Church as the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society. Our 2023 exhibit, celebrating this important anniversary, will highlight many rare and never-before-seen objects from the collection.  Your support ensures that RJHS will be able to maintain the high quality of research, exhibition, design, education, and programming for the present and in the future

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