Baby boomers and Woodstockers ... you're wanted by the Museum at Bethel Woods.

If you attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival or came of age during the 1960s, you can help the museum tell even more of the story about the legendary event and a turbulent decade.

Located where Woodstock happened - in rural Sullivan County, N.Y. - the museum is making several new attempts to draw attention to its collection and get "veterans" of the '60s to add more to it.

A recently opened exhibition, "Collecting Woodstock: Recent Museum Acquisitions," will run through Jan. 2, 2011. It contains festival artifacts, images from five photographers and a new video compilation of rare Woodstock footage.

Anyone who attended Woodstock (or tried to attend) as well as volunteers and other people who participated in some way are asked to join the Woodstock alumni registry.

Finally, 1960s enthusiasts who have artifacts from the festival of the decade are being asked to consider donating them to the museum.

The museum has attracted 60,000 visitors a year since opening in 2008. About 450,000 young people made their way to this same location for Woodstock, which was advertised as "three days of music and peace."

"We're pretty happy with our attendance, since we're in a pretty remote location," says Wade Lawrence, the museum's director.

"We not only want to have great exhibits. We also want to become a research center for those studying the '60s.

"Young people can get a sense of what their parents and grandparents went through and accomplished and realize they, too, should take part in the political process and debates rising from it."

Visiting the museum will give "boomers a chance to remember the days of their youth, recall the good times, and remind them that they have helped change the world," Lawrence says.

Some of the most exciting additions in the "Collecting Woodstock" exhibition? A 38-minute video that shows performances that weren't included in other Woodstock movies or documentaries, as well as a clip of a home movie featuring three young women attending the event.

"Before leaving home, they created a personal flag to fly over their campsite, so they could find it. We have the movie showing the flag flying over their campsite and their flag. It's a very personal story and it's one of my personal favorites," Lawrence says.

Another thrill for him is having the small notebook Kevin Marvell used for a journal. "Kevin sat 10 rows back from the stage and didn't miss a single performance. Every time a band came on, he recorded the name, the songs they sang and added his comments about their performance. It answers questions about the order of the performances that have been debated for 40 years."

Among other items in the exhibit: Woodstock festival photographs - including one of participants on the Watch Tower, taken by 18-year-old Doug Lenier, who had grabbed his girlfriend and his Nikon for the trip to Woodstock; a James Shelly photo showing an umbrella-holding Woodstocker; and another weather-related Woodstock photo by Richard Gordon showing his muddy feet.

Other items include armbands ("red rags") worn by members of the Hog Farm Commune who worked or volunteered at the festival; a security guard T-shirt; a rare and psychedelic Woodstock poster created by David Byrd; and a milk crate, creamery hat, bottle cap and syrup pitcher from the dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur, who rented his fields to Woodstock promoters after they decided to move the concert from its original location.

"We'd like all 450,000 attendees to go to our alumni register," Lawrence says. His realistic goal is for 100,000 registrants who'll provide information about their ages, level of education, where they came from, what days and groups they saw, why they were there, their most memorable Woodstock experience, their favorite act and Woodstock's impact on their lives.

 

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