Almost exactly 9 years ago we were driving Matthew to West Point to report for R(eception) Day and start his Beast Barracks training. On the drive over from Keuka Lake we stopped at The Museum at Bethel Woods. Julie and I are driving to visit Matthew and Lauren in NJ and decided to make a weekend of it and revisit the museum.

Opening sign in the museum Opening sign in the museum

Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet: this is the Woodstock museum. Woodstock wasn’t named Woodstock, and it wasn’t held in Woodstock, but will forever be associated with the town where the promoters originally planned to hold the event.

I was just 1.5 years old when this was held, and I’m sure my parents had zero interest in driving to the event from Dallas TX. They were as counter-counter-culture as you could get.

It is clear to me that the museum is a side project for the overall facility; they routinely host events and big-name concerts on the grounds. The museum opened in 2006 and, like many museums without the financial support for ongoing updates and curation, feels like a time capsule of Woodstock history from a 2006 perspective. The talking heads in the films include Vernon Reid (does anyone under the age of 50 even know who he is?) and a lot of the tech is dated and not even working.

Faux Merry Pranksters bus Faux Merry Pranksters bus

Still, the exhibits that focus on evergreen content such as artifacts and photos from the event are very good. And even though the big screen movies (one focused on the human side of overall event, the other on the music) are dated, they are well produced and enjoyable.

This review probably sounds too negative – we did enjoy visiting again! Maybe about every 10 years is the right frequency. I should mention that the downstairs exhibit with framed bios of each band along with their detailed event setlists was very good and worth a visit. Julie and I found it very surprising that it was only recently that agreement was found on the sequencing of the artists and exactly what they played.