Mead Art Museum Presents Disunion! The American Civil War 150 Years Later

The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is featuring Disunion! The American Civil War 150 Years Later, a special installation of 15 paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints marking the sesquicentennial of our country’s bloodiest conflict. On view until Dec. 31, 2011.

Enhancing the installation are special loans from the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., and Amherst’s Archives and Special Collections, respectively: John L. Magee’s popular lithograph Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas in the Hands of the “Border Ruffians” (1856) and an 1856 printed transcription of Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumners’ infamous speech “The Crime Against Kansas.” Both works provide context for Massacre of the Innocents (ca. 1858), an oil painting by William Rimmer that the Mead highlights in an expanded presentation.

Regarding the Mead’s commemoration of this solemn anniversary, the museum’s Director and Chief Curator Elizabeth E. Barker remarked, “The subject of this installation is such a timely one, it seems sure to resonate with art lovers and history buffs alike.” Curator of American Art Randall Griffey, who organized the project with Andrew W. Mellon Postbaccalaureate Curatorial Fellow Maggie Dethloff, added, “Mining the Mead’s collection for Disunion! yielded numerous treasures that we are pleased to share with our visitors. We hope the display will spark private contemplation as well as public dialogue.”

To foster dialogue about the Civil War as seen through the Mead’s collections, Griffey and Dethloff will host public programs on Sunday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Nov. 13, at 4 p.m. The museum invites visitors to view Disunion! before these events and to share their personal insights and observations during the scheduled curator-led conversations.

Image: Council of War, Mead Art Museum

The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the summer intersession, the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a complete schedule of the museum’s exhibitions and programs, as well as driving directions and additional information, please visit the museum’s website, www.amherst.edu/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.

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