Currents

Fancy That! “Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining, 1790-1930,” an exhibition tracing the history of design sources for draping and curtaining American and European interiors during the span of nearly one hundred and fifty years, will open at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia on Monday, December 6 [1993]. On view will be a selection of rare books, prints, and trade catalogues drawn...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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Shorts

“Abstraction to Figuration: Selections of Contemporary Art from the Pincus Collection” is an exhibition of works of art drawn from the collection of David and Gerry Pincus currently on view at the Palmer Museum of Art on the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University. An exhi­bition of post-1945 American painting, sculpture, and photography, “Abstraction to...
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Shorts

“A Patchwork of Pennsylvania” at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Saturday, June 7 [1997], will explore the state’s quilt heritage. Harrisburg quilt makers will explain the materials and demonstrate the techniques of the craft. Visitors may meet and lunch with Lucinda Cawley, Lorraine Ezbiansky, and Denise Nordberg, authors of the book, Saved for the People of Pennsyl­vania:...
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Shorts

“Elocution, Orthography, and Mental Arithmetic: Victorian School Days,” an exhibit examining the nineteenth-century educational experience from the one-room rural schoolhouse to the sprawling urban university, is on view at Penny­packer Mills through Saturday, June 30, 2001. The exhibit interprets these experiences through objects and artifacts originally belonging to members of the...
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Capitol Building for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia acquires thousands of architectural drawings and hundreds of rare books and trade catalogues each year. Recent acquisitions include drawings from Charles Barry’s Italianate Travellers’ Club in London, reputedly a source for architect John Notman’s design of the Athenaeum; high-style Victorian period designs by Philadelphia architects Edward Collins...
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Firm Foundations in Philadelphia: The Lewis and Clark Expedition’s Ties to Pennsylvania

For a century and a half, from 1807 until the early 1960s, the celebrated expedition undertaken by Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) between 1803 and 1806 was generally perceived to be strictly a western United States phenomenon. Historians and educators who discussed it in their writings or in their teaching usually described the twenty-eight month ordeal as beginning...
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An Address for the Afterlife at Laurel Hill Cemetery

It all began in 1836, when architect John Notman (1810–1865) laid out a series of meandering walkways and terraces on the east bank of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Park. With his design for Laurel Hill Cemetery, the twenty-six-year-old native of Scotland created the first architecturally designed cemetery in the country. He also established the nation’s second garden-type cemetery,...
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A Modest Fountain on the Square

The modest appearance of a squat granite fountain hunkered along the curb on the south side of Philadelphia’s Washington Square belies its noble history. The fountain, which began in a much grander form on the opposite side of the square in 1869, was the first project of a sweeping movement that would adorn the city’s streets and quench the thirst of its residents, both man and beast. It was the...
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