Display panels relating to Putnam County’s history have been developed by the Putnam County Historian’s Office since 1991. They may be borrowed by schools, historical societies, museums, and civic groups. Each panel is 40″ X 30″ and mounted vertically. They are framed and under Plexiglas. Most have wires for hanging them (or you may attach wires) or they may be propped against a wall or a chalkboard. It is sometimes possible to borrow the bases on which you may mount four panels at a time, “kiosk” style. The exhibits may be inspected at the Historian’s Office to see if they suit your purposes. Please call ahead if you want to see them.

There is no charge for borrowing the panels. The borrower is responsible for transporting the panels to the exhibit site and for returning them to the Historian’s Office in good condition by the promised return date. Persons wishing to borrow the panels should schedule their use with the County Historian’s Office at (845) 808-1420 or at historian@putnamcountyny.com.


Rivers, Roads and Rails: Movin’ Through Putnam: The exhibit deals with early transportation in Putnam County: Hudson River commerce, the coming of the railroads, and the old roads and turnpikes. (16 panels)

Cars in the County. A sequel to “Rivers, Roads and Rails”, this exhibit shows the impact of the automobile on the suburbanization of Putnam County. (11 panels)

Cabins to Castles. The exhibit shows the changes in Putnam County architecture from the days of the log cabin to the present. (14 panels)

Putnam Preserves its Past. The exhibit examines the state of historic preservation in Putnam County, successes as well as failures. (8 panels)

The Restoration of the Courthouse. This small exhibit was created for the reopening of the newly-restored historic courthouse in 1996. (4 panels)

Nimham and the Native Americans. This exhibit tells the story of the first people in Putnam County, the development of Lenape culture, and the story of the Wappingers and their unhappy fate. (8 panels) Traveling cases displaying a collection of local Native American artifacts have been deposited by the Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry School Museum and may be loaned in conjunction with the panels.

The Control of the Highlands. Putnam County in the American Revolution. The exhibit focuses on the pivotal importance of the Hudson Highlands in the winning of the War of Independence and on the career of Gen. Israel Putnam, for whom the County is named. (8 panels)

Putnam County during the Civil War. The exhibit tells of the County’s role in the Civil War, especially as the war affected the people and industries at home. (8 panels)

Seeking a Better Life: Three Centuries of Ethnic Change in Putnam County. The exhibit traces the changing population groups in Putnam County. (8 panels) An additional panel is available depicting recent Central American immigrants.

Putnam County in the World Wars. The exhibit tells the story of the Putnam County homefront during World War I and World War II. (8 panels)

The Putnam County Origins of the American Circus. Wild animal menageries, equestrian shows and acrobatic displays preceded the circus that we know today. Men from eastern Putnam and northern Westchester pioneered in these enterprises. Seth B. Howes of Brewster was the greatest showman of his day. (4 panels)

The Mills of Putnam County. Panels depicting the various kinds of mills in each of Putnam County’s six towns (two panels for the Town of Carmel) (7 panels)

The New York City Reservoirs in Putnam County. Panels depicting construction of the reservoirs, contamination problems, security issues, and the relocation and displacement of structures and cemeteries, and a watershed map with descriptions of each reservoir. (5 panels)

What Killed the “Old Put”? The story of the tribulations and decline of the railroad that brought rail travel to the interior of Putnam County. (2 panels)