Prolific. Brash. Strategically brilliant. One of the most controversial figures in Long Island history. Builder Robert Moses (1888-1981) helped determine the environments in which we continue to live. The Land of Moses: Robert Moses and Modern Long Island, will reappraise this American icon. More than any other 20th century figure, Moses redefined transportation infrastructure and the recreational and cultural possibilities for generations of Long Islanders. The Land of Moses focuses on Moses’s complex signature on bridges, parks, highways and more. Featuring objects from Moses’s personal life, architectural models, paintings, historical photographs, and film and audio clips, this exhibition will measure his legacies as an extraordinary builder and planner. From the creation of his Long Island State Parks Commission blueprint in 1924, to his late career disappointments that included the proposed (but not built) Rye-Oyster Bay Bridge in 1973, Moses’s remarkable efforts on Long Island cannot be overstated. His decisive and powerful embrace of the automobile – “we live in a motorized civilization,” he once wrote – nurtured the region’s rapid suburbanization, even as it introduced profound new challenges in modern life. Ultimately, the significance of Moses’ life continues to be debated nearly 40 years after his death.
The Land of Moses is on display in the Visitors Center from June 22 through October 28, 2018.