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.

Capturing the Light

Showcasing the work of local turn-of-the-century photographers, an ongoing exhibit at the Erie History Center features more than two hundred and fifty photographs made between 1890 and 1900, along with related documents, artifacts, and equipment. Entitled “Capturing the Light: Turn of the Century Photographs,” the exhibition offers a glimpse of work, amusements, immigration, women’s voices, architecture, fashions, transportation, and technology in Erie one hundred years ago.

“Capturing the Light: Turn of the Century Photographs” features a wildly eclectic assemblage of images, which are clustered thematically to explore Erie’s cultural literacy, women’s voices, immigration, work, architecture, recreation, amusements, transportation, and technol­ogy. These photographs, and their arrangement, provide context and invite museum visitors to make comparisons with life today.

Featured photographers and “snap­shooters” include Ottomar Jarecki (1850-1931) and his wife Amelia von­ Buseck Jarecki (1851-1918), one of the earliest husband and wife teams in Erie considered professional photographers; Francis J. Bassett (1845-1933), a professional photographer who worked in Erie and Waterford; Charles B. Hall (1865-1966), a druggist with a knowledge of chemistry and a penchant for photography as a hobby; Arthur J. Conrad (1885-1974), a young “snapshooter” at the turn of the century; and Jennie Cleveland (1859-1937), an artist, educator and, later, a suffragette, who practiced “aesthetic photography.” Most of the images on exhibit were made from glass plate negatives in the institution’s collection, but many are new photographic prints of glass plate negatives made with rosin-coated and fiber-based paper. Several images – among them albu­men prints and cyanotypes – are original pieces. The Erie County Historical Society and Museums, which administers the Erie History Center, safeguards nearly a quarter-million photographic works.

In addition to the images on view, the exhibit includes examples of equipment, cameras, supplies, tripods, and early advertisements.

“Capturing the Light: Turn of the Century Photographs” continues through Friday, June 30 [2000]. Admission is by donation.

Additional information is available by writing: Erie History Center, Erie County Historical Society and Museums, 419 State St., Erie, PA 16501; or by telephoning (814) 454-1813.


Truly Treasures

A selection of works of art drawn from the Mellon Bank Corporation’s world-class art collection is on view in York through Monday, July 31 [2000], in the largest loan ever made of the collection. “Treasures for the Trust: An Exhibition of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Art from the Mellon Collection” will be shown in two (of the six) museums administered by the newly organized York County Heritage Trust, the museum of the Historical Society of York County and the Industrial Museum (see “Curator’s Choice,” Winter 2000).

“Treasures for the Trust” focuses on paintings, prints, and quilts. Nineteenth-century artists represented in the exhibition include John James Audubon, George Caleb Bingham, William Guy Wall, Karl Bodmer, John George Brown, and William Coventry Wall. Artists of the twentieth century include Andrew Wyeth, Lennart Anderson, Jasper Johns, Richard Diebenkorn, Ed Ruscha, Anthony Peter Gorny, Joel Shapiro, John Chamber­lain, and James Rosenquist. The Mellon Collection will be supplemented with a selection of works by York County artists, drawn from the collection of York County Heritage Trust.

The Heritage Trust will sponsor several special events during the presentation of the exhibition. On Wednesday, April 12 [2000], Irwin Richman, a professor of American Studies at Penn State-Harrisburg, will discuss the importance of gardens to the impressionists. Like the great French impressionists Claude Monet, many American painters devoted many of their works to glorious depictions of gardens. Emphasizing the colorful work of four American artists – Charles Courtney Curran, John Twachtman, Abbott Fuller Graves, and Childe Has­sam – the speaker will provide insights into both art and period horticulture.

“Famous Artists from the Keystone State” is the title of a talk which will be given by Lori Verderame, director of the Masterpiece Galleries in New Hope, Bucks County, on Wednesday, June 14 [2000]. In her illustrated presentation, Verderame will employ a contextual approach to the work of early, impressionist, and modern artists who were inspired by the beauty and history of Pennsylvania. She will discuss the lives and work of artists, including students and instructors at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Her overview will examine the work of famous masters from the Keystone State, including Mary Cassatt, Daniel Garber, Edward Willis Redfield, Cecelia Beaux, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring, and the artists whose work they influenced.

In conjunction with “Treasures for the Trust,” the York County Heritage Trust will conduct “walking workshops.” On Saturday, May 13 [2000], participants will tour the city in an exploration of its public art, including building styles, unusual architectural elements and decoration, stained glass windows, and carvings. Tour-goers will examine murals adorning public buildings in York on Saturday, June 10 [2000].

York County’s agricultural history, and the important role played by farmers’ markets in the community, will be explored – and sampled – during a special presentation, scheduled for Saturday, July 8 [2000], demonstrating how food, its preparation, and its presentation is considered art. An executive chef of a local hotel restaurant will purchase fresh seasonal produce from vendors at York’s historic Central Market House and create a variety of dishes illustrating his concept of food as art.

The Historical Society of York County is located at 250 East Market Street, and the Industrial Museum is located at 217 West Princess Street.

To obtain more information, write: York County Heritage Trust, 250 East Market St., York, PA 17403; or telephone (717) 848-1587. Admission to the exhibition and related events is free.


A Sailor’s Life for Me

It’s the late eighteenth century. A young man succumbs to the lure of the sea. He is drawn to distant horizons, the visions of carefree sailors let loose in exotic foreign ports surrounded by beautiful native women, and he is stirred by the romance of the sea. A second story can also be told of a young man who takes to the sea simply because he needs work. Whatever the appeal or the reason, such was the life of a sailor.

“Life of a Sailor: A Collector’s Vision,” currently on view at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, offers visitors a look at a sailor’s life aboard ship and ashore from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The exhibit includes a broad spectrum of objects, such as illustrated diaries, journals, log books, tattoo designs, sketches, carvings, scrimshaw, uniforms, embroidery, photographs, and works of art.

Objects and artifacts showcased in “Life of a Sailor” were drawn from the extensive collection of Philadelphia native J. Welles Henderson, museum founder and chairman emeritus, who has spent a lifetime gathering what is generally regarded as the most comprehensive treasury of material documenting the life of a sailor. Henderson loaned several of his personal favorites for the show, including a seven-foot tall statue, Jack Tar, described by experts as among the one hundred finest examples of American wood carving in existence; a portrait of Rear Admiral Charles D. Sigsbee by Thomas Eakins; and U.S. Frigate United States defeating H.M.S. Macedonia on October 25, 1812, a naval engagement, or marine narrative painting, by Thomas Birch. Loaned by the collector to President John F. Kennedy, the painting hung in the Oval Office of the White House from 1961 to 1963.

“As a seven year old in 1927,” Henderson recalled, “I gave fifty cents to save America’s most historic ship, the U.S.S. Constitution – ‘Old Ironsides.’ For that donation, I received a small anchor made of metal and wood salvaged from the ship. This event changed my life – it was as if I was inoculated with salt water. My quest as a collector had begun for all things relating to the sea.” This acquisition literally launched his lifelong passion for building an outstanding collection of nautical art, artifacts, and antiques.

During his college days, Henderson spent the summer of 1940 working with longshoremen on Philadelphia’s waterfront. He graduated from law school in 1949, and entered the practice of law in Philadelphia, with admiralty law as a specialty.

Fascinated by the extremely rich maritime heritage of the Port of Philadelphia and the Delaware River, Henderson looked for a place to research this history in order to write a book, He found no maritime museum in the area and began to collect material of the port and river, which eventually led him to found, in 1960, the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. In 1995, the institution was renamed Independence Seaport Museum and relocated to Penn’s Landing. Independence Seaport Museum is an internationally recognized institution and an important part of the Philadelphia waterfront development – the fulfillment of the collector’s dream.

“Life of a Sailor: A Collector’s Vision” features nearly five hundred maritime artifacts displayed in more than forty exhibit cases and ninety framed pieces, including oil paintings and watercolors. The exhibit continues through Saturday, September 30, 2000.

For more information, write: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 South Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106-3199; telephone (215) 925-5439. There is a charge for admission.