The Museum at Bethel Woods Is One of the Best in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

The Museum at Bethel Woods, which commemorates the Woodstock Music Festival, earned a spot on USA Today’s list of the 10 best music museums across the nation.

Music has long since been an integral aspect of the Hudson Valley’s culture. Most famously, the region came alive in the spirit of the ’60s with the unprecedented Woodstock Music Festival. Despite the name, that historic weekend took place not in the Ulster County town of Woodstock, but 90 or so minutes away in Sullivan County. There, on a farm in Bethel owned by Max Yasgur, some of the most important acts from the early days of rock-and-roll—Joplin, Hendrix, and Santana, to name a few—played to an estimated 500,000-person audience over the course of four days.

At the Museum at Bethel Woods, located on the very grounds where the 1969 festival took place, visitors can view a “permanent exhibit which includes 20 films, five interactive productions, 164 artifacts on display, [and] more than 300 photographic murals” related to the event. Given the robust mythology enshrouding Woodstock, the exhibitions are helpful in separating fact from fiction: Was anyone really born at Woodstock? (No.) Did the New York State Thruway really close? (No, Arlo, but the traffic was formidable.) Indelibly true, however, is the notion that Woodstock links music lovers across generations, from actual festival attendees to young listeners who feel as though they were born in the wrong decade.

Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that the Museum at Bethel Woods earned a spot on USA Today’s list of the 10 best music museums across the nation. The Hudson Valley museum—now in its 15th year of operation—comes in at number four, listed alongside such sites as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles. This recognition represents yet another milestone in the growth of Sullivan County as a tourism destination; earlier this year, the county earned praise from the James Beard Foundation for the outstanding hospitality of husband-and-wife team of Sims and Kirsten Harlow Foster (Foster Supply Hospitality).

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With all that said, are you ready to book your visit? The Museum at Bethel Woods will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. starting on April 1. Tickets are available online at a slight discount; adults pay $19, seniors pay $17, youths six to 18 pay $5, and children five or younger may enter free.

Related: The Horizon Stage at Bethel Woods Spotlights Emerging Artists

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