Coney Island Exhibit

Saturday, June 17, 2017

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2017

For more information contact:
Julianne Smith, Assistant Director
Ypsilanti District Library

Coney Island Exhibit Visits Ypsilanti

Library exhibit explores the cultural impact of the iconic amusement park

A traveling exhibit celebrating the Coney Island amusement park will arrive at the Ypsilanti District Library this summer. Known as America’s playground, Coney Island is a world-famous amusement resort and a national cultural symbol, and was the world’s largest amusement park between the 1880s and WWII.

From an attraction that once envisioned the future to one that now honors its past, the history of Coney Island reflects Americans’ changing ideas about leisure. It has inspired artists, musicians, novelists, poets, and filmmakers, who perceived this iconic place as a prism through which to view the American experience. The park’s immense popularity transcended social boundaries, becoming one of the few places where people of different races, ethnicities, and classes spent time together.

Coney Island’s widespread influence on American culture can still be seen today in the Detroit area. John Connaghan, who manages exhibits at the Ypsilanti District Library, noted, “The famous Detroit Coney dog was rumored to have first been served on Coney Island, and it inspired a whole chain of restaurants. Even hundreds of miles away, the idea of Coney Island really resonated with people.”

The NEH traveling exhibit, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, will be on display at the Ypsilanti District Library’s Whittaker Road branch from June 17-August 11, 2017. The 2,000 square foot exhibition brings to life the excitement of Coney Island, showing visitors how its magnetic array of attractions has become a touchstone for American mass culture and recreation. Artifacts, photographs, film clips, and hands-on interactives immerse visitors in the Coney Island experience. The exhibit is free and open to the public and is available whenever the library is open.

To welcome the new exhibit, all three Ypsilanti libraries will host Coney Day festivities on June 17 with carnival games, bounce houses, and classic Detroit-style Coney dogs. These simultaneous events will also kick off the new Summer Challenge a summer-long library program that challenges people of all ages to read books and try new learning experiences all summer long.

Information on the exhibit and related programs is available at or by calling 734-482-4110.

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Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland and related programming were made possible by NEH on the Road, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the Friends of YDL.

As a community resource, the Ypsilanti District Library's mission is to enrich life, stimulate intellectual curiosity, foster literacy, and encourage an informed citizenry.

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Coney Day

The Summer Challenge kicks off today! Visit the Coney Island exhibit, enjoy vintage music, get your thrill on with carnival games and bounce houses, and bedazzle a carousel horse to take home. Coney dogs will be for sale at YDL-Michigan and YDL-Whittaker. Coney Day also kicks off the Summer Challenge, an all-ages experience where you can win prizes for reading, learning, and exploring all summer long.

Saturday, June 17, noon-3pm
YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Road
YDL-Michigan, 229 W. Michigan Avenue
YDL-Superior, 8795 MacArthur Boulevard

Roller Coaster Engineering

Have you ever wondered how roller coasters work? What makes them go? And what keeps you safe? Teens and adults of all ages will enjoy learning about the technical dynamics of roller coaster design and safety in this informational session with representatives from American Coaster Enthusiasts and Irvine-Ondrey Engineering.

Saturday, August 5, 4pm
YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Road


What Happened to Boblo Island?

Boblo Island was once the ultimate summer playground for families from Detroit and beyond. The park was the perfect place for Detroiters to dance and play and simply escape the whirlwind of what was rapidly becoming an industrial and mechanized city. So what happened to Boblo? Historian and author Patrick Livingston will present an historical overview of this iconic Detroit destination, from its initial discovery by French explorers to its final closure in 1993. Book sale and signing to follow.

Monday, July 24, 7pm
YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Road

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October/November 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
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