Kentucky Historical Society
New Exhibition Opening in Frankfort on June 6
FRANKFORT, KY — (May 27, 2009) — What makes something a treasure? Is it its uniqueness, its maker or original owner or simply its visual appeal? Great Revivals: Kentucky Decorative Arts Treasures, presents significant pieces from the Kentucky Historical Society collections that have been preserved and are treasured. This decorative arts exhibition opens Saturday, June 6, at the Old State Capitol in downtown Frankfort.
Great Revivals highlights five stylistic periods from 1800 to 1920 and important decorative arts from each. Located in two galleries inside the Old State Capitol, visitors can see the changing tastes of Kentuckians during the Federal, Greek Revival, Rococo Revival, Gothic Revival, and Aesthetic eras. Family-friendly interactives will engage audiences of all ages.
“Some of these pieces have been in storage for years,” said Marilyn Zoidis, assistant director of the Kentucky Historical Society. “Some have never been on display for the public and Great Revivals presents a special opportunity for people to see and appreciate them.”
Treasures on display include a hand-carved stained oak cabinet, dated 1892. The cabinet was made by Kentuckian Kate Mosher, an important woman woodcarver. Also on display is an 1870 giraffe or harp piano, an unusual and fragile artifact. Portraits of Russian Czar Alexander II and Czarina Maria Alexandorvna, donated by Cassius M. Clay, are among the Society’s stellar holdings. Additional artifacts include fine furniture, paintings, silver, and ceramics. Paintings by Kentucky favorite Paul Sawyier are also featured.
Many of the pieces required careful conservation to fully showcase their original beauty. Guest curator and art historian, Estill Curtis Pennington, chose the pieces from the collections to display.
The exhibition name, Great Revivals, is a play on the multiple revivals of stylistic designs and the religious fervor of early Kentucky. In addition, the name applies to the revival of the Old State Capitol – a National Historic Landmark -- as an integral part of the Kentucky Historical Society campus. The Old State Capitol is itself a historic treasure, one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Following the June 6 opening, Great Revivals will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for youth ages 6-18. Children five and under are free. Tickets also include admission to the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, featuring A Kentucky Journey, a permanent exhibition that explores Kentucky’s rich history.
Great Revivals was made possible by generous support from the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation and the Kentucky Treasures Endowment Fund. For more information, see www.history.ky.gov/greatrevivals.