Mount Vernon Exhibit at TAMIU Explores
“The Many Faces of George Washington”
“The Many Faces of George Washington,” a national traveling panel exhibition examining the multi-dimensional, real-life man behind the myth, makes its first stop in South Texas for the 116th Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) Feb. 5 – Feb. 25, 2013 at Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. The exhibit continues Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sat-Sun from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The exhibit has opened to rave reviews in museums across the country.
It is the first event of the three-part Laredo Portrait Project, which uses the portraiture and image of George Washington as the unifying theme to pay tribute to his life and legacy. All three components of the Laredo Portrait Project are first-time, free events for Laredo.
Produced by George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York, this exhibit presents Washington’s leadership through dazzling color graphics of paintings, photographs, and iconic Mount Vernon collections objects.
The panel exhibit explores seven facets of George Washington’s life: Virginia Childhood, Risk Taker, Realistic Visionary, Wise Decision Maker, Impassioned Learner, Visionary Entrepreneur, and At Home at Mount Vernon. It has been made possible by a generous grant from the F.M. Kirby Foundation. Local sponsors for the exhibit are TAMIU, Toni L. Ruiz, and Southern Distributing Company.
Carla Killough McClafferty, author of the award-winning book about the Mount Vernon project, “The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon,” will be in Laredo on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to share the extraordinary story behind the creation of the exhibit. Presentations to student groups at TAMIU and Laredo Community College throughout the day will address the question: did George Washington really look like the picture on the dollar bill? In the evening, TAMIU will host a public lecture by McClafferty at the Killam Library to commemorate the official opening of the exhibit. George Washington’s favorite dessert will be served at a gourmet ice-cream reception preceding the lecture. The evening’s events begin at 6:30 p.m. UBS is an event sponsor.
McClafferty’s book inserts biographical information about Washington as it details how Mount Vernon gathered together experts in a myriad of scientific and academic fields in order to uncover our first president as never before. The ambitious project, initiated in 2005, brought the image of Washington to life by creating three-dimensional full body representations of him as he looked at the ages of 19, 45, and 57.
Using age-progression and regression techniques, models of Washington were assembled from a two-year study which utilized computer scientists, anthropologists, art historians, 18th Century garment experts, forensic scientists, and research from primary sources like Washington’s portraits, sculpture, dentures and clothing. Images from this investigation are the foundation for the panel exhibit, which even recreated Washington’s beloved horse, “Blueskin,” in remarkable detail.
“This exhibit has something for everyone,” explains Jeanette Hatcher, TAMIU Special Collections librarian, “History, science, art, advanced computer technology, reading, writing...it’s all part of this panel exhibit. I encourage parents, students, and teachers to take advantage of this historic educational opportunity.”
Additional components of the Laredo Portrait Project of interest to the public include:
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m., a special unveiling will take place in honor of a historical milestone for the City of Laredo and TAMIU as the university becomes one of only a handful of institutions of higher learning in the U.S. to exhibit an original Gilbert Stuart Athenaeum (“Dollar Bill”) portrait of George Washington. Carol Wyrick, a nationally acclaimed art historian and former director of Education at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. will present opening remarks prior to the unveiling in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library. The portrait remains on exhibit through Thursday, Feb. 14 only, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily in the Killam Library.
On Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., the final event in the three-part Laredo Portrait Project bows with the American Historical Theatre’s premiere of “Portrait of a Patriot,” sponsored by WBCA at the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. John Lopes will portray George Washington while Bob Gleason will portray the portraitist Gilbert Stuart. Admission is free of charge.
For additional information on “The Many Faces of George Washington,” call 956.326.GIVE (4483) or visit tamiu.edu/portraitproject
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