Crowd sourcing has become trendy within the humanities as a means of opening academic projects to the public. In the museum world, community-curated exhibitions have offered a response to this movement, and a number of these exhibitions have recently occurred along the east coast. These special exhibitions grant the community increased access to museum collections and invite sustained conversations between the public and museum staff. They complicate curatorial authority and the spatial hierarchy accorded by privileged access to storage facilities, even though in most cases the public chooses artworks for these exhibitions from a digitized archive. In fact, allowing the community to use digital media to effectively call up works of art from storage to the exhibition space mirrors trends in the way that we (the public) relate to works of art, that is, through digital means. Platforms like Artsy, for example, allow the user to amass a personal, albeit digital, art collection culled from images of fine art physically held by collections around the world. The community-curated projects I discuss below unfold in various combinations of the digital and physical realms. Each offers its own take on the evolving relationship between the museum and public. Read more.
The bar at the Schneiders’ saloon. Visible on the bar is the 19th century version of a growler. Children living at 97 Orchard St. might have come down the stairs on the left to present their empty growler to John Schneider. Once he filled it, a child began the careful climb back home.
Photograph by Keiko Niwa, courtesy Lower East Side Tenement Museum
By Mandi Magnuson-Hung
Since opening in 1992 in what was previously a tenement building at 97 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum has interpreted the lives of the working-class immigrants who occupied the building during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Now, with it its first new permanent exhibit since 2008, Shop Life, the Tenement Museum is building on its past to move in new directions, opening up new stories and using new media to tell them. Read more.
The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is seeking proposals for articles to
include in the formal exhibit catalog for the exhibit “Ghosts,Ghouls and
Gravestones: The Trades of Burial” set to run September 2013 through
February 2014. All articles should relate in some way to the theme of the
exhibit and the state of New Jersey.
Abstract for the Exhibit:
The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.- Benjamin Franklin had it
right, death is one of the few guarantees in life and starting during the
colonial period the final phase of life helped to support numerous
tradesmen in the American colonies, later states. Among the several trades
involved were gravediggers, coffin-makers and gravestone carvers. Few
tradesmen could survive solely working these trades, unless they resided
in heavily populated areas during prosperous times, but they honed their
skills while producing similar products. While they may not have plied
their trades full-time these men helped their communities to mourn their
dead and continue with life. New Jersey tradesmen, notably John Frazee and
Uzal Ward, also made several major contributions to the mourning practices
and styles in the Mid-Atlantic region. Examples of these styles can be
found in Bottle Hill/Hillside Cemetery, which also has several prominent
graves. The exhibit will also explore some of the well known ghost stories
from the area that have influenced the way burial trades and mourning
practices are perceived.
Please submit a 150-200 word proposal and C.V, by January 9, 2013.
Notification of acceptance will be made by the end of January.
Articles will be due June 17, 2013.
All proposals and questions should be sent to:
By Linda Shopes
If buildings define a place, then the structures designed by Philadelphia architect Frank Furness (1839 – 1912) define the Philadelphia region as an industrial powerhouse of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ranging from the commercial to the residential, the industrial to the civic, Furness buildings in their form, materials, modes of construction, and aesthetic took inspiration from this “workshop of the world” and shaped notions of the modern. This is the animating vision of the Furness Festival, commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of Furness’s death, currently underway in Philadelphia; and one Festival organizer George E. Thomas hopes will move our understanding of Philadelphia away from the “ancestor worship of 1776” and towards an appreciation of the region as a center of an energetic creativity. Read more.
A series of exhibits, lectures and symposia hosted by Philadelphia area institutions including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and many more, are being held to celebrate architect Frank Furness’s career, his designs and his influence on modern architecture.
In 1873, the young Louis Sullivan was drawn to the office because he saw Furness designing buildings “out of his head” instead of out of books, an idea that Sullivan transmitted to his pupil Frank Lloyd Wright and that remains the core of modern design. In 1000 projects Furness used the new materials and forms of the industrial age to re-imagine the art school as a factory for art, the library as a machine for learning, and the bank as an engine of commerce. (frankfurness.org)
His work can be seen at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the University of Pennsylvania Library, and the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. Unfortunately as tastes changed, a number of his buildings fell into neglect and were demolished.
Most of the exhibits open in mid-September to November and run for a short time; often closing in December or January. The list after the break includes many, but not all of the events and exhibits scheduled during the Frank Furness Festival. More information on upcoming exhibits, lectures and symposia will be made available at frankfurness.org.
Cliveden in historic Germantown has undertaken a monumental overhaul of its site interpretation. Beginning in 1994, staff members and volunteers researched over 230,000 Chew family documents related to enslaved Africans and servants at Cliveden and Chew family plantations throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Researchers at Cliveden believe the project rewrites the history of Historic Germantown
The Emancipating Cliveden project has resulted in a new interpretive website, a multimedia presentation and an orientation exhibit entitled Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness? The new website explores and presents the expanded history of Cliveden, includes previously unseen historical images, and an interactive map of Cliveden. The site urges visitors to Know It (the architecture of Cliveden), Feel It (the people of Cliveden), and Share It (a blog on recent discoveries).
It is hoped that the new features will combine historical facts and modern perspectives with “American stories of privilege, oppression, independence, slavery, race, the struggle for freedom and the tensions between democratic ideals and capitalist principles.” In staging the Emancipating Cliveden Project, Cliveden strives to tell a more complete story while allowing visitors to examine and question many of the contradictions in American history.
Emancipating Cliveden will be unveiled on Independence Day at Cliveden. The festivities for the day will include Reenactment and Griot storytelling by Denise Valentine, free tours of the Chew Mansion, the premiere of the Emancipating Cliveden film and the Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness? exhibit. The celebration begins on Wednesday, July 4th at 12:00 noon and continues until 4:00 pm.
2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. In honor of this event, we offer a list of War of 1812 events, exhibits, and news items. This list is by no means complete, but will hopefully offer a number of entry points into the bicentennial celebrations.
Running now until April 13, 2012 is the War of 1812 Portrait Exhibit at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis, Maryland. The exhibit features portraits rendered by Ann Monro Wood.
The Maryland Historical Society’s ongoing exhibit, With Broad Stripes and Bright Stars includes the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner, which has been incorporated into a new exhibit on Baltimore’s role in the War of 1812. Another exhibit, In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812, opens June 10, 2012.
On April 15th, the Maryland Historical Society presents Silver & Gold for War of 1812 Officers, an installment of the Francis Scott Key Lecture Series (PDF). Ann Wagner, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts at Winterthur Museum will speak at 6:00 p.m at the Society.
Other upcoming speakers in the Francis Scott Key series include, Edward C. Papenfuse, Ph.D., Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents at the Maryland State Archives, and Carol Stoltis, Project Associate Curator, Center for American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dr. Papenfuse, Ph.D., will present his lecture Mapping Baltimore During the Era of the War of 1812 begins at 6:00 p.m. on October 4, 2012. Stoltis’ lecture, A Pacifist and the Defenders: Rembrandt Peale and His Portraits of Baltimore’s Heroes of the War of 1812, will be held November 1A, at 6:00 p.m.
From June 13-19, 2012, Baltimore will host The Star-Spangled Sailabration. An international parade of ships will sail into the Inner Harbor to launch the U.S. Bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812. The ships will start passing by Fort McHenry on June 12.
Currently on view at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum is Home of the Brave: The War of 1812 in Art, Story & Song. The exhibit runs through December 31, 2012:
Comprised of objects from the collection of Independence Seaport Museum, as well as loans from the Dietrich American Foundation and other private collectors, the exhibition explores the naval aspect of the War of 1812 through the lenses of art, material and popular culture, as well as first-hand accounts of participants and on-lookers.
New York Humanities Council Events:
On April 14, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. Tom Shanahan will present a lecture, 1812: Uncle Sam’s First War at the New York State Library in Albany, New York.
Raya Lee offers a lecture, War of 1812: Fury, Frenzy and Honor at the Wood Library in Canadaigua, New York on April 18, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
On April 19th, Dave Ruch offers a lecture/concert entitled The War of 1812: Songs and Stories from New York and Beyond. The event will be held at the Sardinia Meeting House in Sardinia, New York, starting at 7:00 p.m.
On April 23rd, at 6:00 p.m., Alfred Ronzoni will present From Battleground to Empire State: New York and the War of 1812 at York College, the City University of New York.
Robert W. Arnold III will present 1812: New York’s War, New York’s Impetus on April 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Herkimer County Community College.
From July 20, 2012 – July 21, 2012, the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site will host President Monroe Looks Back on the War of 1812. First-person interpreter Dennis Bigelow will portray Mr. Monroe in this unique event. http://www.nyhumanities.org/events/event.php?event_id=5066
Please note that a number of the New York Humanities Council events will be held in multiple locations in the next six months. Please see their events calendar for details.
From June 15, 2012 – January 27, 2013, the Smithsonian will host 1812: A Nation Emerges in the Portrait Gallery:
This exhibition tells the story of the war that one historian called, “the second American Revolution.” Through portraits and objects, it explores key people who influenced the turn of events, including President James Madison and Dolley Madison, General Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and the powerful Indian leader Tecumseh. The exhibition also follows the stories of soldiers, slaves, financiers, industrialists, artists, architects, Native Americans, and women. The victory at New Orleans became a national holiday and added to a growing sense of American nationalism. The epic battles and the aftermath known as “the era of good feelings” are central elements of this story, linked by the biographies of the extraordinary and colorful leaders whose lives shaped its direction.
The New York Humanities Council is accepting War of 1812 Mini Grants from now until September 20, 2012. Grants of up to $3,000 are available to present humanities-based public programs exploring the legacy of the War of 1812 in New York State. Eligibility requirements and application procedures are available online.
Last summer, an archaeological dig at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base uncovered military artifacts which indicated that the site was a winter encampment for soldiers during the War of 1812. Uniform buttons bearing the number 15 were uncovered, indicating that the U.S. Army’s 15th Regiment had occupied the site. More excavations are planned at the site this summer.
The National Park Service at the National Heritage Area in Baltimore, Maryland has developed a War of 1812 traveling exhibit. The exhibit is free and available to museums, libraries, and historical sites.
On the web:
Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission
Maryland Humanities Council War of 1812 Bicentennial: For information on special events, organizations, and media and archives collections.
The Official War of 1812 Bicentennial: a binational site with an events calendar covering events in Canada and the United States.