Fruitlands Museum Announces Witness to Global Conflict: 9/11 and Beyond

Fruitlands Museum is to host a new exhibit in the Art Gallery, opening in September 2011. Witness to Global Conflict: 9/11 and Beyond commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 through images that bring a new perspective to global conflict.

Many men and women serving in the US military today do so because of the events of 9/11. The exhibit illustrates the lives of US combat soldiers serving overseas, particularly within the unique landscape of Afghanistan. In addition to fulfilling the museum’s mission of educating through art, the exhibit acknowledges founder Clara Endicott Sears’ commitment to soldiers at Fort Devens during World War 1.

Initally the museum developed an exhibition of war photography with photojournalist Tim Hetherington. A contributing photographer for Vanity Fair magazine, Hetherington was the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2008 for one of the images from his work in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. He co-produced the critically acclaimed documentary Restrepo with Sebastian Junger. Tragically, Hetherington was killed while on assignment in Libya in April of 2011. After Hetherington’s death, his family, friends and colleagues continued to support the original concept for this project. Unfortunately, his photographs were no longer available. Therefore, the exhibit features similar work by Gary Knight, Teun Voeten, and Roger Leo, all of whom knew Hetherington and also worked with US armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Fruitlands Museum is honored to host this event on the tenth anniversary of September 11th to remember those who have lost their lives, and recognize those who are serving or have served our country in the line of duty and their families,” said Tim Firment, Fruitlands Museum CEO. “We are excited to unveil Witness to Global Conflict, which shows American soldiers interacting with local people overseas in ways other than violent conflict, and how this can help strengthen cross-cultural understanding and bridge existing divides.”

The opening event of the exhibit will take place on 9/11/11 from 1PM – 3PM, is free and open to the public, and will feature a military color guard from the 1st Battalion 25th Marines “New England’s Own,”, the 110th Mass National Guard and the Harvard ProMusica Choir. Speakers will include Brendan O’Byrne, a former soldier of the Army’s 173rd who was stationed in the Korengal Valley and now getting back into civilian life in Massachusetts and John Gerlaugh, who spent a year in Iraq as the Chief of Governance for the Al Anbar Provincial Reconstruction Team and ten months in Afghanistan as a Political Advisor in Helmand Province. Rose Annese, the Blue to Gold liaison for The Blue Star Mother’s of North Central Massachusetts will provide home front perspectives.

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