Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth

  Pennsylvania Icons is a landmark exhibition at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that tells the story of the commonwealth and its people, places, industries, creations and events with more than 400 artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collection. The State Museum contains the largest and most comprehensive Pennsylvania history collection in the world, with a diverse array of objects...
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Stability and Change: Culture During Three Periods

“Religion, … the best bond of human society, provided man did not err in the meaning of that excellent word.” – William Penn   Culture, broadly de­fined, is the way of life of a group of people; it includes all their behavioral patterns, beliefs and ar­tistic expressions. Culture is not static; it varies over time and place. Culture does not arise in a vacuum; it...
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The Pennsylvania Germans: A Celebration of their Arts, 1683-1850, An Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The art of the Pennsylvania Germans is showy and elusive, reflective and new, easy and difficult; showy because it is boldly colorful; elusive because there is more to it than decoration; reflective because one can see the Old World in details; new because Pennsylvania Germans add­ed to the European vocabulary of designs and form; easy because it is familiar; and difficult because marks, like...
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The Pennsylvania Germans’ Gentle Art

One of the most distinctive and colorful forms of early Pennsylvania art was manuscript illumina­tion or, as it’s commonly called today, fraktur-schriften. Al­though this genre of folk art was a derivative of European prototypes, those produced in Pennsylvania by the German settlers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries showed an intensity not nor­mally found in their European...
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The New Taste in Pennsylvania

Like the nation itself during the so-called “Federal” period, the arts in Pennsylvania reached a crescendo in their development that had an unexpected unity, a strong purpose, and a national style. Despite great varia­tions in the Germanic and English traditions, Pennsylvania emerged from the revolutionary period reasonably cohesive. City and country perspectives, naive and...
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Graphic Arts of Harmony Society

You shall not make unto yourself any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heavens above or the earth beneath … (Exodus 20:4). How can you have art when you cannot have “graven images?” The Harmony Society (1785-1905) believed in the literal truth of the Bible and followed all of the injunctions carefully, including the third commandment quoted above....
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Shorts

Opening Saturday, October 30 [1993], at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an exhibi­tion of one hundred and twenty-five old master drawings selected from both public and private collections in the United States and Europe, many of which have never before been exhibited in this country. Entitled “Visions of Antiquity: Neoclassical Figure Drawings,” the exhibition features works by a...
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Currents

Wrecks and Rescues In the early nineteenth century, the shore posed great danger to sailing ships seeking to reach port. The long and lonely approaches to coastal cities, such as Philadelphia, were poorly marked stretches of sand dunes and salt marshes with a few isolated settlements. Unexpected storms with winds blowing from the northeast could suddenly force a ship onto perilous sandbars...
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Currents

Let’s Motor! Although Detroit has earned the title of “Motor City,” Pittsburgh was home to twenty automobile makers at the turn of the century, manufacturing such notable vehicles as the Penn 30 Touring Car, the Standard Model E Touring Car, the Keystone Six-Sixty, the Brush Model D Runabout, and the Artzberger Steam Surrey. Several of these automobiles attracted widespread...
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Letters to the Editor

Ecstatic with Esherick Wow! Your magazine is really on the ball. With the growing popularity of the crafts movement, you’re right on target with your feature story on Esherick [see Sharon Hernes Silverman’s “A Passion for Wood: The Life and Legacy of Wharton Esherick” in the Fall 1997 issue]. I’m ecstatic with your timely coverage. Thanks. Mimi Hake-Tripp...
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