Posts Tagged ‘marty raskin’

The City Reliquary Proudly Presents: P.S. NYC: Artifacts from New York City Public Schools 1850-1970

As students and teachers return to their classrooms this fall, they follow a 215-year-old tradition of free public schools in New York City. Marty Raskin, lifelong New Yorker, proud alumnus of New York City’s public school system, and retired schoolteacher, has spent decades amassing a collection of NYC Board of Education materials reflecting a significant period of this history, now on view at the City Reliquary Museum. 

Mr. Raskin’s interest in collecting NYC public school memorabilia stems from his own fondly-remembered student experience. Attending P.S. 202 in East New York, he recalls, was deeply formative: “The teachers, principals, and youngsters I grew up with made school an essential part of my life, and helped make me who I am. There was an incredible loving, caring atmosphere there. I became friends with some of my teachers and remained friends with them my entire life.” Mr. Raskin began by collecting Parker Duofold fountain pens of the style used by one of his instructors, and his collection grew from there to include school records, class photos, clothing, building fixtures, furniture, and teaching equipment. A dunce chair, used in the 1850s when pupils were taught in one large schoolroom, and a mechanical eraser cleaner, used in the now-bygone days of chalkboards, are two highlights of the collection on display.

This exhibition illustrates the lived experience of generations of NYC public school students: their fashions, tokens of school spirit, classroom decorations and attendance records. It inevitably invites comparison to the visitor’s own school experience, whether in New York City or abroad. Mr. Raskin’s positive schooling experience inspired a devotion to preserving the history of NYC public education. In prompting visitors to reflect on the similarities and differences with their own education, the exhibition asks them also to consider how to provide to all students the supportive atmosphere experienced by Mr. Raskin, and what those students might achieve as a result.

Mr. Raskin gladly accepts donations of NYC public school memorabilia. He can be reached at memorabuti@gmail.com.