Join the Howland Public Library, the Howland Cultural Center, and the Beacon Historical Society as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our City’s Library and Richard Morris Hunt's architectural gem: the Howland Cultural Center.

The history of these three cultural institutions are interconnected. On August 5th, 1872, the Howland Circulating Library opened in the Village of Matteawan, New York. The building, land, and books were donated to the village by philanthropists Joseph and Eliza Howland. The goal, as stated by the Honorable J.J. Monell at the opening ceremony was, "to enlighten and elevate the people and ... mark their onward progress in their career of improvement." General Howland commissioned his brother-in-law, famed architect Richard Morris Hunt, to design the library.

In 1976, needing more space to serve our growing community, the Howland Public Library moved to its current home at 313 Main Street. After the Library relocated, the original historic building was transformed into the Howland Cultural Center and has been serving as Beacon's center for the arts since 1979.

The Beacon Historical Society also shares its origin story with the Library. Established in 1976, the Historical Society began preserving Beacon's history at the Howland Public Library. They later set up office at the Howland Cultural Center from 1992 to 2018. Today, they have their own dedicated research and exhibition center located at 61 Leonard Street. 

The three organizations are collaborating to present a two-month-long celebration with exhibits, performances, and FREE programs for all ages. Please join us as we commemorate this milestone for the City of Beacon community. 

My Heart Towards Home,

Eliza Howland's Story

Tuesday, July 26th, 7pm

Howland Cultural Center

Join Beacon Historical Society Trustee Emily Murnane, as she portrays Eliza in a presentation that includes photographs, stories, and materials relating to Eliza's incredible life.

Reserve Seats for Eliza Howland Presentation

Mini Library Kit Contest

August 1st

Howland Public Library

Adults can stop by the Library on August 1st to pick up a mini library kit that will include everything you need to make your own bookshelf diorama! Return your library kit by August 19th to be entered in our Mini Library Kit Contest!

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Celebration Storytime

Friday, August 5th at 3pm

Howland Public Library

Join the Library in the Children's Room for this celebration-themed storytime!

Stories are geared toward children in PreK-2nd grade, but all are welcome.

Storytime Registration

150th Anniversary Celebration

Friday, August 5th, 5pm

Howland Cultural Center

Join us at the original site of the Howland Circulating Library, now the Howland Cultural Center, to celebrate 150 years of service to the community. Bells will ring just as they did in 1872. We invite the community to gather as we celebrate our shared history and look to the future.

People Make it Happen

Opening Reception

August 5th, 6pm

Howland Cultural Center

A visual arts exhibition celebrating 150 years of Literature Arts and Culture, featuring artists Donna Mikkelsen and Jean-Marc Superville Sovak. 

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The Legacy and Landmarks

of the Howlands

Opening August 6th

Beacon Historical Society

An exhibition featuring materials from the Beacon Historical Society archives related to the history of the library and the Howland Building.

Visitor Information

Beacon Tintype Studio Visit for Teens

Monday, August 8th, 3:30pm

Beacon Tintype, 149 Main Street

Teens are invited to join photographer Oren Cohen for a studio visit at Beacon Tintype to discover how photographs were made in the 19th century. Registration is required as space is limited

Beacon Tintype Visit Registration

Keeping the Books

Highlights from Librarian Scrapbooks

Opening Saturday, August 13th, 12-3pm

Howland Public Library

An exhibition of photographs and ephemera from Howland Library scrapbooks from 1872 through the 1970s.

Meet the Artist

Saturday, August 13th, 3-5pm

Howland Cultural Center

On Second Saturday, meet artist Donna Mikkelsen, who will be on hand to discuss her historical pictographs in the exhibit People Make it Happen.

Artist Talk, Jean-Marc Superville Sovak

Saturday, August 20th,1pm

Howland Cultural Center

Join artist Jean-Marc Superville Sovak and special guest, Dr. Myra Beth Young Armstead, author of "Freedom's Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America."

Call for Art, Words Unbound

Deadline to enter Monday, August 15th

Howland Public Library

A juried group exhibit of works of art inspired by libraries, literature, physical books and the printed word. Special guest co-juror local artist, Theresa Gooby. Deadline to submit art is August 15th. To submit work go to

Call for Art

Richard Morris Hunt in Beacon

Wednesday, September 21st

Howland Cultural Center

Architectural historian, Steven Baltsas, will present a slideshow on three buildings in Beacon designed by Richard Morris Hunt and commissioned by General Howland: the Howland Library, the Presbyterian Church, and the Tioronda Music Room.

Reserve Seats for Richard Morris Hunt Lecture

"People Make it Happen" is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council of the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson and the City of Beacon Community Funding Program.

Many thanks to Beacon Reads and the Friends of the Library for generously sponsoring anniversary programming at the Library.

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