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.

Great Greek

Following six years of extensive gallery and storage area renovations, The Univer­sity Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadel­phia, has recently reopened its exhibition space devoted to ancient Greek civilization. This new exhibit, entitled “The Ancient Greek World,” offers visitors a broad overview of the history and culture of ancient Greece and its colonial neighbors. Through richly detailed text, maps, drawings, photographs, and objects, the exhibition encourages visitors to delve into ancient Greek history and civilization. Drawn from The University Museum’s internationally renowned Mediterranean collection, “The Greek World” features more than four hundred artifacts dating from the eleventh to the first centuries B. C.

The renovated gallery room – dedicated to Rodney S. Young, The University Museum’s Mediterranean curator from 1948 to 1974, and director of the institution’s famous excavations at Gordion, Turkey, from 1950 to 1974 – has been completely refurbished to provide an open, light-filled exhibition space. The gallery has been outfitted with equipment for temperature and humidity controls, handicapped access, and security.

“The Ancient Greek World” features a life-size marble head, circa 100 B. C., portray­ing the god Hermes, protector of roads and entrances, at the exhibition’s entrance. At the rear wall, three major grave monuments dating to the Classical period (fifth to fourth centuries B. C.) are positioned in front of a large wall mural depicting the Kerameikos, the major cemetery of ancient Athens.

Six major periods of Greek history, from circa 1050 B. C., the beginning of the Greek Iron Age, to 31 B. C., when Cleopatra’s defeat at the hands of the Romans marked the end of the Hellenistic period, are outlined in the exhibition’s introductory section. The extraordinary civilization developed by the Greeks is examined through four major thematic sections: “Religious Life,” “Daily Life,” “Manufac­turing and Trade,” and “Death and Burial.” In “Religious Life,” scenes on ancient pottery, sculptural representa­tions, and various artifacts provide first-hand insight into the religious perspectives and beliefs of the Greeks. The myths and tales of the Greek gods and heroes, and the ways in which the Greeks wor­shipped their gods in sanctuaries, shrines, and temples, are explained. This segment also probes athletics, as well as athletic competitions held in sanctuaries such as Olympia, as expressions of religious devotion. “Daily Life” considers the very different lives led by men and women in ancient Greek culture. Generally, women exercised a degree of control over the home and family, while men’s lives were dominated by activities outside the home, including hunting, riding, work, politics, and warfare. “Daily Life” also offers a look at architecture and household furnishings.

Approximately one hundred examples selected from the museum’s fine collection of ancient Greek coinage are featured in “Manufacturing and Trade.” This section addresses the questions of why and when coinage was invented, as well as the techniques of minting coins, the social and political uses of images on coins, and the artistic achievement of the Greek die engraver. In addition to the trade in such goods as perfumed oils, wine, and olive oil, “Manufacturing and Trade” explores the production, decoration,and distribution of period pottery. The mural of the Kerameikos serves as a backdrop for the fourth theme, “Death and Burial,” in which sculpted Athenian grave stele (or tombstones) from the Classical period are exhibited. Funerary customs and examples of objects buried with the de­ceased are also discussed.

The extent of archaeological research in the ancient Greek world is a major reason that so much is known about this remarkable, long-lived civiliza­tion. In fact, the results of archaeological research are second in importance only to the written evidence left by the Greeks themselves. Most of the artifacts showcased in “The Ancient Greek World,” selected from the museum’s Mediterranean collection of more than thirty thousand artifacts, were obtained before 1930 with funds contributed by benefactors specifically to purchase important Greek pottery and Classical period sculpture.

Visiting hours at The University Museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 A. M. to 4:30 P. M.; and Sunday, from 1 to 5 P. M. There is an admission fee.

To obtain additional information, write: The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropol­ogy, University of Pennsylvania, Thirty-Third and Spruce Sts., Philadelphia, PA 19104; or telephone (215) 898-4000 or 898-4045.



Roughly at about the turn of the century in Bucks County, a new brand of American impressionism was taking shape which came to be known as the Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting (see “You Can Go Home Again: An Interview with James Michener” by Michael J. O’Malley III in the winter 1993 edition). The leading artists working in this distinctive style were Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965), known for his lush snow scenes and winter landscapes, and the six mem­bers of the New Hope Group, a union of artists founded in 1916: Rae Sloan Bredin (1881-1933), Morgan Colt (1876-1926), Daniel Garber (1880-1958), William Langston Lathrop (1859-1938), Charles Rosen (1878-1950), and Robert Spencer (1879-1931).

Although very successful, the seven artists exhibited together for only a brief period. For the first time since 1917, examples of their work can be seen together again in an exhibition entitled “Master­works of American Impressionism: Edward Redfield and the New Hope Group,” currently on view at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

“Masterworks of American Impressionism: Edward Redfield and the New Hope Group” features works of art selected from private collec­tions and prestigious institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.

Edward Willis Redfield and Daniel Garber are considered the leading artists of the Pennsylvania Impressionists. Both painters trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where the influence of the great realist teachers gave their works an earthy realism for which Pennsylvania Impressionism is well known. Redfield, an artist as well as teacher, won a number of important prizes for his work, such as the Pennsylvania Academy’s Lippincott Prize, the Institute of Chicago’s Palmer Gold Medal, and the National Academy of Design’s Carnegie Prize. Garber taught for more than four decades at the Academy, where he also studied with William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, and Thomas Anshutz.

Pennsylvania Impression­ism attracted talented artists, including Lathrop, Rosen, Spencer, Colt, and Bredin. More than fifty works by members of the Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting were shown at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The immensely successful exhibition saw nearly every Pennsylvania artist receive at least one award; Lathrop, Spencer, and Garber won gold medals. While Redfield did not win a medal, he received a more important distinction: a single room in which he exhibited twenty-one of his works.

The success of the Pennsylvania artists at the Panama Pacific International Exposition most likely prompted the formation of the New Hope Group the following year. Founded for “mutual support and convenience,” the New Hope Group members exhibited at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Detroit Art Institute, Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute, Corcoran Gallery, and New York’s Arlington Gallery in 1916 and 1917. Conspicuously absent was Edward Redfield. It remains a mystery why the best known artist from the area was not included. However, Redfield once said that he prized his national and interna­tional reputation, and did not want to be considered primarily a regional painter.

The group’s significance is derived from the fact that practicing artists exhibited their work together and were representative of one recogniz­able school of painting. For a catalogue accompanying the James A Michener Art Museum’s inaugural exhibit, Peter F. Blume, director of the Allentown Art Museum wrote an essay, “The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting,” in which he described the group’s distinguishing style.

The New Hope Group … departed from the established canons of Impressionism. Critics soon acknowledged that their style was of a different stripe altogether – more American; and more virile than that of their counterparts up the East Coast. Guy Pene du Bois is quoted in the July, 1915, issue of Arts and Decoration: “The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painters … is our first truly national expression … it began under the influence of the technique of the French Impressionists. It has restricted itself patriotically to the painting of the typical American landscape.”

The New Hope Group may be called the last in a great tradition of realist painters of the American landscape. The modernist school that devel­oped around Alfred Stieglitz and the artists he promoted at his “291” gallery, and the urban realism of The Eight, provide the critical counter­point to the popular reception made possible by the art establishment machine that embraced Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber. They, as the most celebrated represen­tatives of this group, shone with the special radiance of a candle before it gutters out. …

“Masterworks of American Impressionism: Edward Redfield and the New Hope Group” includes The Garden Bench (circa 1920) and Peonies ( circa 1925) by Bredin; The Canal Boat (circa 1920) by Colt; The Boys (1915), Mother and Son (1933), and Old Church: Carversville (1916) by Garber; Plowing Along the Canal (circa 1915) and The Young Model (1902) by Lathrop; Between Daylight and Darkness (1908), The Burning of Center Bridge (1923), and The Day Before Christmas (1920) by Redfield; The Old Mill (1906) and The Bridge (1912) by Rosen; and Grey Mills (circa 1915), The Canal (circa 1920), and Repair­ing the Bridge (1913) by Spencer. The exhibition continues through Sunday, September 4 [1994].

Visiting hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 A. M. to 4:30 P. M.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. There is a charge for admission.

For more information, write: James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, PA 18901-4626; or telephone (215) 340-9800.



Save Outdoor Sculpture­ – known simply as SOS! – is a two year program recently instituted by the PHMC’s Commonwealth Conservation Center in conjunction with the Friends of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to locate sculp­ture, monuments, statues, and memorials in cities, towns, villages, and remote rural areas throughout Pennsylvania.

Virtually every borough, township, and community in Pennsylvania claims a sculp­ture or monument, but there is no comprehensive listing of these objects, background history, or description of their current state of their condition, including data about necessary repair and maintenance. Most of the sculpture – ranging in style from traditional to abstract – is found throughout the Commonwealth in town squares, city plazas, battle­fields, parks, memorial gardens, along roadsides and highways, and on the grounds of colleges and universities, hospitals, sports arenas, schools, and government buildings. Several are located at railroad stations and in recreational areas. In many cases, the objects are routinely overlooked, but they remain important because they reflect a public, sometimes personal, value or ideal.

The Keystone State’s Save Outdoor Sculpture! is part of a national campaign launched last year by the National Museum of American Art and the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property. To date, more than forty states and the District of Columbia have begun to identify and ultimately protect their extant outdoor sculpture. In Pennsylvania, experts expect to identify about four thousand pieces, far more than most states. Information collected will be recorded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, kept on file at the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D. C., and shared with local historical organizations. This information will be made available to art historians, conservators, scholars, research­ers, and the general public.

To launch this program, volunteers are needed in all parts of Pennsylvania, except the five-county greater Philadelphia area for which a survey has been completed. Volunteers will locate sculp­tures and describe their appearance and condition. Approximately six hundred individuals are needed to participate in SOS! during the next two years. Excluded from the survey, which will end in November 1995, are grave markers or headstones, unless they are a distinctive representation of a significant event or individual or are the work of an important artist; commemo­rative plaques, obelisks, and tablets not part of a larger, three-dimensional sculpture in the round; minor decorative architectural elements, such as rosettes, keystones, and garlands; and mass-produced objects, such as garden ornaments, store signs, and carousel carvings.

To obtain more details on SOS! and volunteer opportuni­ties, write: Save Our Sculpture!, Commonwealth Conservation Center, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 908 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17101; or telephone (717) 787- 2292 or (800) 747-7790.


Crucible of Good Intentions

Begun in 1821, the Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most significant and innovative structures built in Philadelphia during the dynamic period of city planning and faith in large­-scale public works that followed the War of 1812. During this era, a new spirit of civic optimism bloomed and expansive ideas reigned, reflected by strong and progressive architecture.

The design for the Eastern State Penitentiary by architect John Haviland (1792-1852) embodied unprecedented, more humane concepts of penal reform, and his distinc­tive star-shaped plan and massive rusticated walls were imitated throughout the world. Because of the interna­tional reputation he gained as the architect of the Eastern State Penitentiary, Haviland has been traditionally consid­ered a prison architect, even though less than fifteen percent of his known projects were prisons. During the peak of his career, in the 1820s, he appears to have been equally respected for his buildings and structures designed in the Greek Revival style. Three of his finest extant Greek Revival style buildings in Philadelphia are St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (now St. George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral) on South Eighth Street; the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb (since 1987 the University of the Arts) at Broad and Pine streets; and the old Franklin Institute (now the Atwater Kent Museum) on South Seventh Street. Haviland designed the three buildings between 1822 and 1825.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania appropriated state funds to launch construc­tion of a prison based on the “Pennsylvania System,” a penal reform that would presumably bring an “im­provement in morals.” This system was based on the separation of prisoners from the influences that encouraged their socially deviant behavior. Such a premise required not merely incarceration, but isolation from fellow prisoners to the point of solitary confine­ment. Under the system, a prisoner was to communicate only with his conscience and a Bible left in his cell. He was to devote himself to a basic craft, such as shoemaking or weaving. In his American Notes, Charles Dickens observed that the prisoner became “a man buried alive; to be dug out in the slow round of years; and in the meantime dead to every­thing but torturing anxieties and horrible despair.” Al­though the extreme isolation was modified greatly by the mid-nineteenth century, the Pennsylvania System was not legally abolished until 1915.

Cherry Hill, an eleven acre estate outside of Philadelphia city limits, was purchased by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a site for the prison in 1821, followed the next year by the adoption of Haviland’s plan. The prison’s distinctive feature was its radial plan, the distribution of seven cell blocks emanating from a central rotunda which resembled spokes on the hub of a wheel. The rotunda served as a surveillance center, and each cell block contained a series of eight-by-ten foot cells lining a central corridor. Although Haviland’s concept was not unique – it had actually been executed earlier on a smaller scale for jails and insane asylums in Europe – his name has been associated with it ever since as his plan has been adopted for prisons around the world.

From its very beginning, the Eastern State Penitentiary was a tourist attraction that rivaled the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C., and Niagara Falls in New York. On some days, as many as four thousand visitors toured the sprawling facility, including the Marquis de Lafayette, Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, groups of school children, and delegations of American Indians. European governments dispatched representatives to Philadelphia to evaluate the prison’s pro­grams and its architecture, and between 1835 and 1850 several countries adopted the Pennsylvania System.

Over the years, five addi­tional cell blocks were built and the original cell blocks enlarged; however, the basic radial plan remained intact. When the Eastern State Penitentiary was vacated and turned over to the City of Philadelphia in 1970, its exterior looked much the same as when it was erected.

Today’s awareness of the historical importance and architectural significance of this prison has led to a comprehen­sive program spearheaded by the Eastern State Penitentiary Task Force to study, preserve, and find an appropriate use for the complex. Sponsored by this Task Force, an exhibition entitled “Crucible of Good Intentions: The Eastern State Penitentiary at Fairmount” will open on Saturday, July 16 [1994], at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Showcasing more than eighty objects and artifacts, including prints, watercolors, maps, and models, “Crucible of Good Intentions” will chronicle both the growth and change in the city and the institution during the last three-quarters of the nineteenth century. Coincid­ing with the opening of the exhibition will be the publica­tion of Eastern State Penitentiary: Architectural Form and Civic Reform in Philadelphia, 1820-1840, by Norman Johnson, a leading historian of penology and prisons, and various scholars. In addition to lectures, a sympo­sium, and educational programs, tours of the historic structure will be given through­out the summer.

“Crucible of Good Inten­tions: The Eastern State Penitentiary” will remain on view through Sunday, September 11 [1994].

For additional information, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, P. O. Box 7646, Philadel­phia, PA 19101-7646; or telephone (215) 763-8100. Admission is charged.


Priestley Bicentennial

A comprehensive exhibition focusing on the American legacy of scientist, humanist, theologian, philosopher, and political dissident Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) has been mounted to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of his arrival in America in 1794 (see “Executive Director’s Mes­sage,” summer 1993). The exhibition has been organized by the Lore Degenstein Gallery of Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, and the Trout Gallery of Dickinson College in Carlisle. The exhibition is entitled “Joseph Priestley in America, 1794-1804.”

The show contains many objects and artifacts associated with Priestley’s life and work in America, including por­traits, drawings, prints, sculptures, decorative arts, furnishings, scientific appara­tus, publications, and documents. Also included are prints and paintings depicting Priestley’s locale on the Susquehanna River at Northumberland and political prints and cartoons of the period, including works by James Gillray.

Born in Yorkshire, England, in 1733, Joseph Priestley is best known for his discovery of oxygen in Leeds, England, announced on August 1, 1774. His studies of gases, or “airs” as they were then known, led him to the discovery of other gases, including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), ammonia, and a gas later identified as carbon monoxide. Priestley’s work also led to a technique for producing carbonated water.

Priestley was known not only for his scientific work but for his work in philosophy, theology, and political theory. An ordained (and dissenting) minister, he was one of the founders of the Unitarian movement in England. His political theories, especially his support for the principles of the French Revolution, led to his being branded a political dissident. The bitter controversy over his political views caused him to leave his home in Birmingham, England, where an outbreak of mob violence on the second anniversary of the French Revolution prompted the burning of his house, laboratory, and library.

After his arrival in the United States, Priestley settled at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, where he built a house and laboratory (which is administered as a historic site by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission). He continued to conduct scientific experiments but was greatly hindered by difficult commu­nication with colleagues in Great Britain. His interest in politics remained ardent; he was friendly with statesmen Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. He also continued to pursue his literary and religious interests until his death in 1804.

“Joseph Priestley in America: 1794-1804” will remain on view at the Lore Degenstein Gallery at Susquehanna University through Wednesday, August 3 [1994]. It will travel to Dickinson College’s Trout Gallery, where it will be exhibited from Wednesday, September 14 [1994], through Monday, November 14 [1994].

For additional information regarding special summer visiting hours, write: Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susque­hanna University, Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1001; or telephone (717) 372-4048 or 372-4291.

Throughout 1994,the Joseph Priestley House will observe the bicentennial of the arrival of Priestley in Pennsylvania with educational programs and commemorative events. To obtain details, write: Joseph Priestley House, 472 Priestley Ave., Northumberland, PA 17857; or telephone (717) 473- 9474. There is a charge for admission.