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Preserving South Street SeaportThe Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal District$
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James M. Lindgren

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479822577

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479822577.001.0001

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“It’s Tough When You Have a Museum in a Mall”

“It’s Tough When You Have a Museum in a Mall”

How the Seaport (Almost) Succeeded

Chapter:
(p.201) 9 “It’s Tough When You Have a Museum in a Mall”
Source:
Preserving South Street Seaport
Author(s):

James M. Lindgren

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479822577.003.0009

This chapter examines whether the South Street Seaport realized its vision under Robert “Peter” Neill III's leadership. The Seaport was conceived as pure Sixties and its district as a “museum without walls” that would offer an open-ended, personal experience. Whitney North Seymour Jr. had wanted a building with conventional exhibits, but by 1984, the Seaport had been reduced to one gallery and a borrowed exhibit. This chapter considers how Neill redefined the Seaport, first by creating a 25,000-square-foot exhibition space, and how his exhibits and collections increasingly became the test of the Seaport's quality. It also discusses the Statue of Liberty centennial in 1986, Neill's plans for “World Port New York,” the public indifference to historic preservation, and the Seaport's partnership with Liverpool's Merseyside Maritime Museum to establish the National Maritime Museum. Finally, the chapter explores the South Street Seaport Museum's publishing of the Seaport: New York's History Magazine.

Keywords:   historic preservation, South Street Seaport, Robert Peter Neill III, exhibits, Statue of Liberty, World Port New York, Merseyside Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, magazine

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