The Museum of Fine Arts will present the panel discussion Currier & Ives: Visions of America on Sunday, January 7, at 2 p.m. in the museum's Davis Auditorium. The program is free with the price of museum admission.
The panelists will discuss how the ideals of liberty and justice were experienced by African Americans, women, Native Americans and the working class during the 19th century, and how those experiences compared to the American mythology reflected in Currier & Ives prints. A reception with the panelists will follow the program. The presenters are: Moderator: Georgia Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester Panelists: William Hosley, director, New Haven Historical Society. Topic: "Symbols of Liberty and Justice" Bruce Laurie, professor of history, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Project Scholar. Topic: "Liberty and Justice for Americans" Anthony Lee, associate professor of art history, Mount Holyoke College. Topic: "Traditional American Symbols in 20th-Century and Contemporary Art" The panel discussion will mark the opening of the special exhibition Liberty & Justice: American Ideals Portrayed by Currier & Ives, which will be on display in the Lenore B. and Sidney A. Alpert Gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts through July 8, 2007. Before the era of photography and mass media, Currier & Ives – the "printmakers to the people" – produced images that created a visual history for the American public. The exhibition will examine the lithography firm's role in shaping American identity through prints that defined a prevailing cultural, social, and political ideology. Included will be pictures of great moments in American history, national heroes such as Presidents Washington and Lincoln, symbols of freedom such as the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty, and other quintessentially American images that reflected what Americans wanted to believe about themselves and their nation. The panel discussion and exhibition are supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.