Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection will exhibit Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion, September 10-January 5, 2020. The exhibition will be the first to exhibit close to 60 pieces from the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine textile collection. Individuals in medieval Egypt "went to their graves wrapped in brightly colored and sophisticated fabrics that preserved traces of their wearers in folds and stains." The installation “emphasizes the visual splendor of these 4th to 14th century CE textiles while examining their history as grave goods, modernist art objects, archaeological artifacts, and crucial tools for understanding long-lost lives.” Visitors to the museum can “travel back to life—and death—as they were experienced more than a millennium ago.” The dress textiles displayed reveal a 1,000 years of life across a broad swath of society: from childhood to adulthood, paganism to Christianity to Islam, the everyday to the elite. Glittering examples of Byzantine jewelry intended to accessorize garments are also on exhibit, as well as several complete tunics for adults and a child. The exhibition offers viewers a rare opportunity to see stunning examples of ancient and medieval fashion, since textiles are highly perishable and can be displayed only for limited periods. Elizabeth Dospěl Williams, Assistant Curator of the Byzantine Collection, and Gudrun Bühl, Director of the Museum für Lackkunst, Münster, curated the exhibition. They also curated the concurrent Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (together with that museum’s Senior Curator Sumru Belger Krody), which displays loans from other prominent museums. Please see the Agenda News "Museums: National" column for more information about the Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egyptexhibition.
To read more about Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion, visit www.doaks.org/
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection is exhibiting A Nobility of Matter: Asian Art from the Bliss Collection thru June 2020.Beginning in 1912, Mildred Barnes Bliss and her family, guided by art advisor Royall Tyler, built an extensive collection of ancient Chinese art. Most of that collection was later sold to fund the Byzantine collection endowment, but certain pieces remain in the House Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. The exhibition encompasses two successive installations of those pieces. The first focuses on Song dynasty vessels while the second explores a broader range of luxury domestic objects.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection is exhibiting Piety and Pleasure: Western Travel to the Holy Land thru October 2019 in theRare Book and Orientation Galleries.The exhibition explores how interest in the Holy Land was connected to a longer history of travel to the western Mediterranean and coincided with and contributed to the development of Western tourism as we know it today. The exhibition highlights this history through a collection of objects including travelogues, maps, postcards, and photographs.
The Folger Shakespeare Library is exhibiting A Monument to Shakespeare, thru January 5, 2020.The exhibition tells how Henry Clay Folger and his wife Emily created a monument to Shakespeare in the U.S. Capitol as a gift to the American people.
The Folger Shakespeare Library building, which dates back to 1932, will undergo a major renovation beginning on March 1, 2020 to expand public space, improve accessibility, and enhance the experience for all who visit the Folger. Construction will conclude in 2022, and the building will reopen. During the multi-year renovation, public access to the building will be restricted, but Folger programs and events will continue at other locations in DC, and around the country. Image below: A rendering of the building after renovation.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is exhibiting Mid-Century Master: The Photography of Alfred Eisenstaedt thru January 12, 2020. When he photographed her for the November 5, 1965 issue of LIFE Magazine, Eisenstaedt "cemented Marjorie Merriweather Post’s place among the most notable people of the twentieth century. She was featured in a thirty-page spread that showcased her generous spirit and gracious way of life."
Born in present-day Tczew, Poland, Eisenstaedt (1898—1995), was a photojournalist at LIFE from its inception under Henry Luce in 1936 until 1972, its final year of weekly publication. The special exhibition features nearly fifty Eisenstaedt photographs & ephemera from his career in photojournalism.
Images below by Alfred Eisenstaedt: At left, Einstein & Oppenheimer & at right "Waiter on Skates."
The Society of the Cincinnati is exhibiting Revolutionary Reflections: French Memories of the War for America, thru October 27.“The American Revolution marked the beginning of an age of democratic revolutions that swept over France and challenged the old order throughout the Atlantic world. French officers who served in the American War of Independence, whether as idealistic volunteers or resolute soldiers of their king, were caught up in the turmoil of their generation. Their journals, memoirs, and portraits, brought together in an exhibition drawn largely from the collections of the Society, reflect their impressions of Revolutionary America and their memories of service to king and country and to the cause of American independence.”
Planet Word -a language arts museum- is scheduled to open in the historic Franklin School building on Franklin Square at 13th & K in D.C. in Spring 2020. The red brick building was designed by Adolf Cluss in 1869, and has been used for many purposes, including as a public school, a homeless shelter, a place for Alexander Graham Bell to test out his inventions, a teacher’s college and more. Cluss also designed other historic red brick buildings, including the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building and the Eastern Market.The Franklin School was one of the first public school buildings in the city, and became a model for age-graded classrooms and curricula.Both the interior and the exterior of the building have historic preservation status. CEO and founder Ann B. Friedman, a philanthropist and former reading teacher who is married to New York Times opinion columnist Tom Friedman, is creating the new museum.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser selected a firm to spearhead the project in 2015. Planet Word will not have a collection – rather its exhibits will all be experiential or technology-based.Friedman has commented that “Instead of artwork or historic objects, the exhibits will center around “nouns, verbs, adjectives, puns, questions and quotations.” There will be no charge for admission to the $50 million museum.
The Museum of the Bible opened two blocks from the National Mall in Southwest DC in November, 2017. The eight-story museum provides guests with “an immersive and personalized experience as they explore the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible.” The museum's cutting-edge technology is designed to bring the Bible to life. The museum “spans time, space, and cultures, inviting everyone to engage with the Bible. With three permanent sections and space for temporary exhibits, there will always be something new to explore.” The Museum Theatre opened with a production of Amazing Grace: The Musical. Please see the “Theatre in DC” column of this edition for more information about the theatre.
Image below: The entrance to the Museum of the Bible