Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Hail Columbia!

Although not a familiar figure today, Columbia became a popular symbol as the United States emerged as a nation. To separate the new nation from England and her symbol, Britannia, American artists created a new visual expression, or national sym­bol, in the late eighteenth century, which was referred to as America or Columbia. Ini­tially, the new nation was personified in the arts by the figure of an Indian, a vestige of a Native American princess. America was usually accompa­nied by other popular sym­bols, such as the liberty pole and cap, flag, shield or laurel wreath.

Throughout the years, Columbia has worn a variety of costumes – from classically draped robes to the flag’s stars and stripes. From the Age of Enlightenment, when Columbia was portrayed as heroic virtue, to the nineteenth century’s Age of Imperialism, when it represented military might, the symbol has become deeply embedded in American history.

Patriotism and commerce seemed to go hand-in-hand and, during the nineteenth century, the figure of Columbia began to become standardized. Fine and decora­tive arts, clothing, currency, even utilitarian objects, were adorned with the symbolic figure. Visions of Columbia urged consumers to purchase a broad array of products, while it was employed in car­toons to symbolize the strength and power of the United States. Its popularity as a national symbol waned near the end of the nineteenth century and was eventually replaced by the Statue of Liberty.

As part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission’s five hundredth anni­versary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World, a major exhibit entitled “Columbia the Symbol” will remain on view at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, through October 29 [1989]. “Columbia the Symbol” features engravings, sculpture, paintings and mem­orabilia illustrating the emer­gence and widespread use of Columbia through the years.

“Columbia the Symbol” is the first in a series of exhibi­tions by The State Museum to commemorate the five hun­dredth anniversary of the Columbus discoveries. The second exhibition, “Pennsylvania at the Columbian Exposi­tion,” features objects and images that were exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1892-1893. Opening in 1991, a major exhibit entitled “The Peopling of Pennsylvania,” cosponsored by The State Museum and the Balch Insti­tute for Ethnic Studies, Phila­delphia, will offer a look at the diverse origins of the ethnic groups which settled and inhabit the Commonwealth.

The State Museum is lo­cated at Third and North streets in center-city Harris­burg. Visiting hours are Tues­day through Saturday, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Sunday, Noon to 5 P.M. Admission is free.

For additional information, write: The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, P.O. Box 1026, Harris­burg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 787-4980 or 783-9882.


American Jewish Experience

A monumental exhibition documenting more than three centuries of Jewish participa­tion in American life will open Sunday, November 19 [1989], as the new, permanent installation at the National Museum of American Jewish History, located in Philadelphia’s his­toric Independence Mall East.

The first exhibition to bring together in one setting the finest selection of art, artifacts and archival materials ever assembled to portray the story of Jewish achievement in the context of a free society, “The American Jewish Experience” showcases more than three hundred and fifty objects from the museum’s extensive collec­tions, as well as from individ­uals and institutions throughout the country.

“The American Jewish Experience” will feature fine, decorative and functional arts, including paintings by Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Charles Peale Polk, Solomon Nunes Carvalho, Abraham Walkowitz and Ben-Zion; ceremonial silver dating to the colonial period; nineteenth century Philadelphia furniture from the home of philanthropist Rebecca Gratz; and carved wooden animals in the style of carousel figures from an early twentieth century Torah ark.

Among the priceless papers to be included in “The Ameri­can Jewish Experience” are an autograph letter from George Washington to the Jews of Philadelphia, and minutes of Congregation Dur Israel in Recife, ending abruptly in 1654 when the Jews of Brazil were forced to flee. A remnant of that congregation, set ashore in New Amsterdam by French pirates, became the first Jewish settlers in North America.

A diverse selection of mate­rials highlights the varied roles that Jews have played in the pageant of American history. Featured are advertisements by Haym Salomon, Broker to the Office of Finance for the Continental Congress; the epaulets of Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, who helped abolish the practice of flogging by the United States Navy; the medical instruments of Isaac Minis Hays, the Philadelphia physician and author of the code of ethics still employed by the medical profession today; and a Jewish sheriffs badge from Dodge City. Cos­tumes worn in the Yiddish theater, sheet music by Irving Berlin and the manuscript of Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus, which is in­scribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, are among the items revealing American Jewish contributions to culture and to the arts.

Using the modern medium of laser disk technology to chronicle American Jewish life following World War I, a seven-minute video program introduces the personalities and events which have shaped contemporary Jewish life in the United States. A timeline running from 1492 to 1992, juxtaposing world Jewish history, American history and American Jewish history, pro­vides startling contrasts be­tween conditions in Europe and America, offering a con­text for understanding Jewish events within the broader national experience.

“The American Jewish Experience” and its accompa­nying catalogue will highlight not only significant artifacts which the National Museum of American Jewish History has acquired, but showcases treasures especially loaned for the exhibit by several Pennsyl­vania institutions.

Visiting hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.; Friday, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.; and Sunday, Noon to 5 P.M. Admission is charged.

To obtain additional infor­mation, write: National Mu­seum of American Jewish History, 55 North Fifth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or telephone (215) 923-3811.


Philadelphia Re-Opens American Wing

The new reinstallation of the American Wing of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been recently opened, featuring specially constructed cases for the display of silver and other metals, as well as an expanded installation of paint­ings, furniture and related fine and decorative arts.

The new reconfiguration of the galleries – the first since they opened in 1977 – now showcases the museum’s su­perb collection of silver in free­standing air-tight cases and presents some of the muse­um’s most spectacular furni­ture in colorful period contexts. The extraordinary suite of painted and gilded furniture designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820), recently acquired and first shown in the landmark exhibit entitled “Federal Philadelphia, 1785-1825: Athens of the Western World,” is one of the highlights of the reno­vated exhibition space.

Three elegantly carved and richly upholstered “easy” chairs, landmarks of furniture fashioned in eighteenth cen­tury Philadelphia, have been brought together for the first time. These distinctive chairs are among the grandest exam­ples of Philadelphia design and craftsmanship ever to be assembled. The Randolph chair, for example, is a unique example of French Rococo influences as interpreted by American makers. The Cadwalader chair, dating to about 1768-1772, is thought to have been made by Thomas Affleck, a leading Philadelphia cabinetmaker, and is especially noteworthy for its richly carved hairy-paw feet. On loan from the Dietrich American Foundation, the circa 1770 Deshler chair is distinguished by its simple elegance, C-scroll motifs and ball and claw feet. Bringing these chairs together for the first time in history allows viewers to analyze the work of their carvers at the height of the creative brilliance.

Objects in silver, copper, brass, iron, pewter and tin which have been reinstalled in the American Wing constitute one of the finest collections assembled by a museum in the United States. Dating from the seventeenth century to the present, the collection offers a rich and exciting survey of the range of materials and forms made by and for Americans over the course of three centuries.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Twenty-Sixth Street.

For more information re­garding visiting hours and group tours, write: Philadel­phia Museum of Art, Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646; or telephone (215) 763-8100.


Dream Highways

Founded in 1967, Pennsyl­vania’s Mobile Museum is an innovative cultural and educa­tional outreach program of The State Museum of Pennsylva­nia, Harrisburg. Since its crea­tion, the museum, accompanied by a professional interpreter, has traveled through each of the Common­wealth’s sixty-seven counties, carrying various thematic exhibitions and displays.

Currently on view is an exhibit entitled “Dream High­ways: Pennsylvania’s Trans­portation Story,” which takes its name from references on circa 1940 post cards of the Pennsylvania Turnpike – at one time billed “the eighth wonder of the world” – but focuses on all forms of trans­portation in the Common­wealth. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission spon­sored the research, develop­ment, design and fabrication of “Dream Highways” as part of its fiftieth anniversary celebration.

“Dream Highways: Penn­sylvania’s Transportation Story” opens with the explora­tion of geography, “the lay of the land” and how the terrain governed the development of foot paths and trails by the Native Americans. The story continues with early colonial roads in Pennsylvania to the 1700 King’s Highways, and the growth of businesses and small towns around well­-traveled routes.

The exhibit examines the Commonwealth’s canals – from Philadelphia to Erie – as the first attempts to overcome Pennsylvania’s geography, and the railroads, which dramati­cally affected not only eco­nomic development but I settlement patterns as well. The exhibit illustrates the de­velopment of rails, originally laid for horse-drawn coaches, the construction of bridges and tunnels and the possibili­ties that an extensive network of railroads offered generations of Pennsylvanians. The exhibit also offers a glimpse of two of the most influential companies that changed the way that Pennsylvania’s residents and visitors traveled: the Baldwin Locomotive Works and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Gasoline led the way for the re-birth of the highway, and the Commonwealth claims several of the innova­tors, as well as innovations, of the automobile industry. Studebaker began as a carriage maker in Adams County. The York Motor Car Company manufactured the Pullman car. Charles Duryea invented the first successful gasoline­-powered automobile in the United States and later estab­lished a shop in Reading, Berks County. (For a full­-length account of the early automobile industry in Penn­sylvania and its numerous contributions, see “A Brief Brilliance: Pennsylvania’s Early Automakers” by Louis S. Schafer in the fall 1986 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage.)

As more automobiles were manufactured and the need to cross the Commonwealth grew more intense, the Pennsylva­nia Turnpike was created. Opened from Irwin to Middle­sex on October 1, 1940, a span of one hundred and sixty miles, the turnpike was trav­eled by eight hundred thou­sand vehicles during its first year! In 1986, more than seventy-three million passen­ger vehicles and twelve million commercial vehicles used the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“Dream Highways: Penn­sylvania’s Transportation Story” concludes with a look at air flight as the latest means of travel.

The Pennsylvania Mobile Museum will visit the follow­ing events and sites through­out fall [1989]: York County Fair, York County, September 8-11; Coal and Coke Heritage Festival, Scottdale, Westmoreland County, September 14-16; Sideling Hill Service Plaza, Fulton County, September 23-24; Slippery Rock Heritage Festival, Slippery Rock, Butler County, September 30-0ctober 1; George Westinghouse Days, Wilmerding, Allegheny County, October 6-8; Hartslog Day, Alexandria, Huntingdon County, October 14; Lawn Service Plaza, Lebanon County, October 17-18; and the Dillsburg Fair, Dillsburg, York County, October 19-21.

For additional information regarding “Dream Highways: Pennsylvania’s Transportation Story” or the Mobile Museum in general, write: Mobile Mu­seum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1026; or telephone (717) 787-4978.


Hero of Two Worlds

Opening October 5 [1989] at the Historical Society of Pennsyl­vania, Philadelphia, is an international exhibition honor­ing Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, the individual who personified the historic part­nership in liberty between France and the United States. A traveling exhibit, “Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds” is one of the most significant public programs in the United States celebrating the two hundred year old cooperative and friendly relationship between the two nations. “Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds,” recog­nized as an official bicenten­nial event by the American Committee on the French Revolution, will be seen in only two other states.

“Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds” will reintroduce the general to an American audi­ence and establish the signifi­cance of his Farewell Tour of 1824-1825. Lafayette’s Farewell Tour was far more than a political event; for American culture it was a creative water­shed. Its primary events – pageantry and commemora­tive activities – drew heavily on the creative efforts of artists and artisans.

Lafayette’s skill as an actor and public personality was on display in a series of patriotic events embellished by the works of America’s painters, sculptors, architects, engravers and stage designers, as well as its musicians, poets, writers and orators. As a result, painted and sculpted portraits, architectural and engineering monuments, illustrated books, souvenir ceramics, decorative glass and commemorative textiles are among the rich array objects which make up the artifactural legacy of his famous Farewell Tour. “Lafay­ette: Hero of Two Worlds” employs a panoply of these articles to illustrate this remarkable flowering of Ameri­can art, to give new insight into the politics of the period, and to explore the personality of Lafayette the individual.

The exhibition is divided into three distinct sections, the first of which briefly surveys Lafayette’s life, emphasizing episodes that established him as a symbol of revolution, republicanism and Franco­-American friendship. Works of art, documents and related objects highlight his aristo­cratic youth, his friendship with George Washington, his activities during the American Revolution and the French Revolution of 1789, his impris­onment at Olmutz in the 1790s, his life under Napoleon and the Restoration, his final political triumph in the 1830 Revolution in France, and his death in 1834.

The second and principal segment of “Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds” introduces the Farewell Tour and its exuberant pageantry and celebratory pomp. Art and memorabilia focus on public events of the Tour, such as Philadelphia’s civic procession with its thir­teen temporary triumphal arches, the design competition and cornerstone laying for Boston’s Bunker Hill monu­ment and the elaborate cos­tuming created for New York’s Castle Garden fete. Displays of selected gifts to Lafayette high­light the 1824-1825 Farewell Tour’s dual nature as both a celebration of republicanism and a commemoration of the close of a revolutionary era. Several of the seeming count­less souvenir objects commis­sioned for the event will be on view, including articles of clothing engraved with Lafay­ette’s likeness, medallions, porcelain and printed literary tributes.

The third and concluding portion of the exhibition is devoted to portraits of Lafayette executed about the time of the Farewell Tour. More than twenty portraits were executed by the most promi­nent artists of the day – an extraordinary number for such a brief period. The likenesses offer visitors a cross-section of the state of portraiture in the nineteenth century. A special focus is dedicated to the por­trait by Ary Scheffer, a now neglected work as popular in its day as Gilbert Stuart’s por­trait of George Washington. The dissemination of the Scheffer image is traced through paintings, sculpture, engravings and banknotes.

More than thirty institu­tions have lent objects and artifacts to “Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds,” which is accom­panied by a fully-illustrated catalogue. A series of special events and activities will be conducted in conjunction with the Philadelphia showing.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania was founded in December 1824, just two months after Lafayette’s trium­phant arrival in Philadelphia during the Farewell Tour. Ac­cording to historians, evidence exists that his visit was a cata­lyst for the creation of the society. Its holdings – among which are fifteen million man­uscripts, three hundred thousand graphics and five hundred thousand books – include a number of objects and manuscript items relating to Lafayette and Franco­-American relations.

Visiting hours at the Histor­ical Society of Pennsylvania are Tuesday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 5 P. M.; Saturday, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. Admission is free until December 2 [1989], when a fee will be instituted and gallery hours extended.

Additional information may be obtained by writing: Histor­ical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107; or by telephoning (215) 732-6200 or 732-6201.


Measure, Mug and a Lot …

Selections from the nation­ally renowned pewter collec­tion of the Chester County Historical Society, West Ches­ter, are on view in a major exhibition illustrating the forms and craftsmanship of pewter used in the county, “Measure, Mug and a Lot of Pewter Plates: Pewter in the Delaware Valley.”

Pewter was highly fashion­able and in much demand among style-conscious settlers during America’s colonial period; extant records reflect pewter makers at work in Chester County as early as the seventeenth century. The exhi­bition features objects attrib­uted to Samuel and Simon Pennock, a Chester County father-and-son team of East Marlborough Township. One half of a porringer mold, spoon molds and several maker’s stamps descended in the Pennock family before their donation to the historical society. (The matching half of the porringer mold is in the collection of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Delaware.)

“Measure, Mug and a Lot of Pewter Plates: Pewter in the Delaware Valley” also includes pewter used at the Westtown School, where a 1799 inven­tory lists two hundred and fourteen pewter porringers, in addition to spoons, plates and a measure. Two communion services, one each from the New London Methodist Episcopal Church and the Union­ville Presbyterian Church, illustrate the forms found in ecclesiastical services, such as flagons, chalices, beakers, dishes and a baptismal bowl or basin. A wide variety of household items, such as plates, mugs, candlesticks and teapots reveal both interesting styles and fine craftsmanship.

The significance of the Chester County Historical Society’s pewter collection to researchers, as well as to the general public, prompted a recent project, which resulted in a completely catalogued, cross-referenced and indexed collection. During the project, a curator for the Winterthur Museum served as consultant, and refined catalogue data by identifying the date, place of manufacture, maker and social usage of each piece. The socie­ty’s extensive collection of pewter is cited in Charles Montgomery’s A History of American Pewter, and has twice drawn the Pewter Collector’s Club of America to West Ches­ter for annual meetings.

“Measure, Mug and A Lot of Pewter Plates: Pewter in the Delaware Valley” will remain on view through March 4, 1990. The exhibition is accom­panied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.

The Chester County Histor­ical Society houses one of the most outstanding regional crafts and decorative arts col­lections in the country. Its archives and library are reposi­tories of more than three cen­turies of records of local, family and government history.

For additional information, write: Chester County Histori­cal Society, 225 North High St., West Chester, PA 19380-2691; or telephone (215) 692-4800.


Courting the Constitution

An exhibition celebrating the bicentennial of the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789, and honoring the establish­ment of the Federal Court System, will continue on view at the National Archives, Mid­-Atlantic Region, in Philadel­phia through the month of December. Entitled “Courting the Constitution: A History of the U.S. Courts,” the exhibit encompasses the history of the federal courts in the Mid­-Atlantic Region and features cases and judicial opinions that challenged and tested the Constitution of the United States.

Based on the collections of the National Archives, Mid­-Atlantic Region, “Courting the Constitution” is supplemented by loans from twenty-two individuals and institutions, including the Railroad Mu­seum of Pennsylvania, Atwater Kent Museum, Li­brary of Congress and the Historical Society of Pennsyl­vania. Through court docu­ments, photographs, posters and artifacts, the exhibit ex­plores varied and interesting material found in federal court records. Cases include presi­dential pardons granted by Abraham Lincoln, James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson. Bankruptcy records include that of the Penn Central (and the creation of Amtrak and Conrail); those of financier Jay Cooke, whose bankruptcy fomented the Panic of 1873; and the papers of Robert Morris, who heavily sup­ported the American Revolu­tion, and whose financial failure prompted the Bank­ruptcy Act of 1800.

Themes of immigration and naturalization include the case of Edgar Yuen Fong, a Phila­delphia missionary accused in 1918 of violating the Chinese Exclusion Act. Following a battle spanning more than two decades, Fong was deported in 1938 to China during the height of the Japanese inva­sion. Other immigration cases concern the attempt to deport a German-American, Karl Oscar Hugg, because of his alleged affiliation with the Nazi Party; and the investiga­tion of the families of Olga Schueller and Karl Scherzbert because they reputedly supported the Philadelphia German-American Bund Associations.

“Courting the Constitution: A History of the U.S. Courts” also addresses the violation of the Smith Act by communist party members in Maryland and Pennsylvania; the refusal by Merritt Eugene Garsts, Jr., to be conscripted into the army during peace time; the closure of the Philadelphia German­American newspaper, Tagblatt, in 1918 for violating the Espio­nage Act of 1917; and the 1800 sedition case of newspaper publisher and physician Thomas Cooper (later presi­dent of the University of South Carolina). The exhibit also examines admiralty prize case files of the Civil War. Of partic­ular interest are the cases of the Jefferson Davis and Modern Greece, two Confederate block­ade runners which ran aground off the coast of North Carolina in 1864 while being pursued by Union naval vessels.

In addition, the exhibition explores material related to the Fugitive Slave Laws and the Christianna Massacre of 1851, as well as the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.

The National Archives, Mid-Atlantic Region (formerly the National Archives, Phila­delphia Branch) is located in the Robert N.C. Nix, Sr., Fed­eral Building in center-city Philadelphia. Visiting hours are Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.; and the first and third Saturdays of the month from 8 A.M. to Noon. There is no admission charge.

To obtain further informa­tion, write: National Archives, Mid-Atlantic Region, Ninth and Market Sts., Room 1350, Philadelphia, PA 19107; or telephone (215) 597-3000.


Children on Canvas

The special world of chil­dren in nineteenth century America, the role children played in their families during this period, and the percep­tions of childhood in nineteenth century Lancaster County are explored in a major exhibition recently installed at the Heritage Center of Lancas­ter County. Entitled “Children Should Be Seen … ,” the exhibi­tion, on view through Novem­ber 25 [1989], includes a specially selected grouping of more than twenty-five portraits of Lancaster County children depicted from infancy through the age of majority, and ren­dered by county artists during the early and mid-nineteenth century.

“Children Should Be Seen …” features several por­traits by Lancaster County painters Arthur Armstrong and Jacob Eichholtz of young members of their own families. Armstrong, best known for his portraits of notable local resi­dents, executed a likeness of his son, James Thomas, and his daughter, Ellen May, which has been included in the exhi­bition. In 1814, Eichholtz de­picted his wife, Catharine Hatz, with their daughter, Margaret Amelia, born on April 27 of that year. An ac­complished copper- and tin­smith, Eichholtz received instruction in portraiture from Thomas Sully, and was among the first generation of Ameri­can trained portrait painters. The paintings, distinctive because of their lush coloring and charming period conven­tions, evoke the special rela­tionship between the artists and the subjects who were members of their families.

The artists represented by “Children Should Be Seen …” captured on canvas portraits of children who later became influential and prominent citizens of Lancaster County. Jacob Eichholtz’s 1807 portrait of a seventeen year old sitter depicted John Frederick Stein­man, who operated Steinman’s Hardware Store on West King Street in the city of Lancaster for many decades during the nineteenth century.

Among the portraits by other county artists are like­nesses of family members by John J. Libhart, a student of Arthur Armstrong and an illustrator of natural history subjects.

“Children Should Be Seen …” is complemented by a spectacular selection of nine­teenth century children’s toys, as well as representative exam­ples of contemporary period clothing. The objects are inter­preted by exploring their em­bodiments of attitudes towards children and the state of child­hood during this era of rapid change and rampant develop­ment in America.

The Heritage Center of Lancaster County has also mounted a new exhibit, “To Market, To Market,” commem­orating the one hundredth anniversary of Lancaster’s Central Market, located on Penn Square adjacent to the museum. A re-created market stall features artifacts once used for the sale of goods “on market” in the city. Gallery visitors may also examine the distinctive Romanesque Re­vival style Central Market, built in 1889 from designs by James H. Warner, a city archi­tect. This architectural style was popular in Lancaster from 1870 until the turn-of-the­-century.

The first floor galleries of the Heritage Center have been reinstalled with recent acquisi­tions for the permanent collec­tions of Lancaster County decorative arts, including a paint-decorated chest dated 1767; an Amish quilt, circa 1938-1940, in the “Baskets” pattern; and a painted fire engine panel depicting the county courthouse in 1855 (see “Currents” in the summer 1989 issue of this magazine). Also on view are examples of Penn­sylvania German fraktur that have been recently been conserved.

The Heritage Center of Lancaster County is located on Penn Square in center-city Lancaster. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Admission is free.

Additional information may be obtained by writing: Heri­tage Center of Lancaster County, Penn Square, Box 997, Lancaster, PA 17603; or by telephoning (717) 299-6440.