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Andrew Jackson recruited the help of pirates during the Battle of New Orleans-- weeks after a treaty actually ending the War of 1812 had been signed.
Posted April 19, 2013
By Natalie Dedas
Some came flying through the sky landing on the Rooftop Garden, others stampeding through the Great Hall. “Mythic Creatures” have officially taken over the Frazier. I hope the Education Department doesn’t mind a dragon making its home right outside of their doors! Check out some of the behind the scenes installation action that created quite the buzz around the museum this week… We still haven’t be able to find Bigfoot, but what else is new?
Monty Fields, John Witzke, Keith Price, Zac Distel and Brigid Muldoon working hard to put those wings on!
Kevin Guthrie posing with Gigantopithicus.
Roger Westrich unloading crates with such ease, what a pro!
First unicorn sighting!
Photos by Kelly Williams, Monty Fields and Natalie Dedas
Posted April 4, 2013
By Gwen Kirchner
Weirdly enough, it’s that time of year again. I can’t believe another summer has rolled around already. And, if you think I’m talking about actual camping, with trees and bugs and marauding squirrels you so don’t know me. The only way you’ll get me to actually camp is if we stay in a cabin and drink frothy lattes in the morning. No, what I’m talking about are summer camps at the Frazier. And this year, I truly think, it’s going to be the best year ever.
For starters, we have an ahh-mazing summer exhibit called “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids.” And, because we have this exhibit, we are, of course, having a Mythic Creatures summer camp. In fact, we’re having four of them! Two camps will be for rising 1st through 3rd grades and the other two for rising 4th through 6th grades. In addition, we will be running two sessions of “Life in the Middle Ages,” two sessions of “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court,” one session of From Page to Stage, and one session of “Chicks Rule!” On top of all this, we’re also presenting two weeks of single day camps at the beginning and end of the summer. The first week we’ll cover “History’s Superstar Civilizations” (think Vikings and Samurai) and the last week we’ll be all about “History through the Arts.” All in all, the summer is packed with incredible camping goodness.
So, if you are interested in any or all of these stunning camp opportunities call the Frazier Museum at (502) 753-5663 or, if you want, you can go online to FrazierMuseum.org. But, please hurry, camps are filling up fast.
Posted April 4, 2013
By Gwen Kirchner
Here at the Frazier, we are constantly thinking of ways to make our guests (that’s you, if you haven’t figured it out) more welcome. To this end, we’ve started something called Hands-On Exploration that occurs every day, usually around 11am and 2pm most days. The fancy name is just Education and Interpretations way of hanging out and chatting with people who wander by. We bring reproduction artifacts, talents, and knowledge to the 2nd and 3rd floors so guests (you again) can experience a piece of history.
For instance, on Monday I’m up on the 3rd floor with three different helmets, a broad-tipped arrow and a bodkin-tipped arrow. I use these pieces to talk about the changes in technology on the battlefield. Even cooler, is whoever wants, can try on a helmet. Heck, if you want, I’ll even take your picture. Eric Frantz, one of our actors, has created a really cool performance about the history of magic using card tricks. If you see him in the galleries, he will stun and amaze you with his deft card work. Don’t bet with him though, he’s pretty sneaky. Just last week a guest left on foot wearing only a Frazier hat and scarf because Eric got everything else. Okay, just kidding, but still the interpretation and his gallery time are both awesome.
Anyway, the next time you’re cruising the galleries and see a table or cart set up come over and talk to us. Believe me, we’re friendly and we never bite . . . okay, wait there was that one time with Mick . . . I’m sure it was just a onetime thing. He’s totally over that now. Yeah, as I was saying, come over and chat with us. You may learn something cool and experience history in a whole new way.
Posted February 1, 2013
By Madeleine Burnside, executive director
This month, in celebration of Black History Month, we open our new exhibition, “Spirits of the Passage: The Story of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.”
The maritime slave trade is one of the most haunting events in world history. Individuals found themselves caught up in the largest forced migration of people in the world. They endured the fateful Middle Passage, which took place over and over again for 350 years. It hurts to imagine even one soul- and body-destroying day spent, like so many others, trapped in the bowels of a slave ship. Unfortunately, this topic that is so fraught with emotion typically gets relegated to charts and data. An exhibition, with its real stories and physical objects, is an opportunity to change that.
In my previous job at the Mel Fisher Museum in Key West, Fla., I was fortunate enough to get to work with archaeologists on the only slave ship ever excavated in the Americas that sank in the course of trade—that means during its route between Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. This ship, the “Henrietta Marie,” showed a day in the life of a merchant slaver in 1700. Compelling, daunting, and even revolting, its artifacts revealed history at its most raw.
We worked with numerous scholars on a traveling exhibition based on the “Henrietta Marie,” and I had the honor of writing a book exploring its unique moment in history. More recently I have been able to work with scholars and archaeologists again on the broader history of the trade. Other ships have been discovered, though they are far less complete and not fully excavated. An African burial ground—not a slave burial site, but one for captive Africans—was discovered in Key West, complete with a story that tells some of the prehistory of the Civil War.
2013 marks 150 years since the major sea change that was Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. This edict, which said all those who were enslaved in the South were forever free, made the Slave Act of 1807, in effect, finally mean something. By 1865, the tide of abolition culminated in the 13th Amendment—freedom for all. While there was still—and perhaps remains—a long way to go before all people from all nations achieve equality, this was the most important step. It was not until slavery ended in the U.S. and elsewhere that the slave trade also ended. Finally the Middle Passage was over.
For “Spirits of the Passage,” we also worked with the Speed Art Museum , borrowing from their fine collection of African artifacts and with the Douglas Dawson Gallery—both of whom helped us convey the richness of the cultures from which captives were taken. It’s a landmark exhibition and it is scheduled to travel—the Frazier is just the first stop.
What I hope people will take away from “Spirits of the Passage” is that the human spirit cannot be enslaved. It is a powerful, resilient thing. Even the horrors of slavery can’t break it. People of African descent labored enslaved to make the Colonies into the United States, but they also volunteered to make it a better place, fighting as free blacks for the Colonies against the British, for the Union during the Civil War and for America in every conflict since.
These survivors used their strength to help build the country that we love and it’s cultural, artistic and spiritual fabric as well. That tenacity is a testament to what we’re all capable of, regardless of the color of your skin or who your great grandfather was.
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