What are the myths that bind Americans as a people? Where do we find opportunities to come together? How do we commemorate events, from the meaningful to the mundane, in our public lives? And finally, how do we understand objects that shape the ways we move through our world?
American Stories: Community explores the ways Americans celebrate the bonds of friendship, family, and civic identity through remarkable and unexpected objects drawn from Shelburne Museum’s permanent collection. Iconic paintings like Edward Hicks’ Penn’s Treaty with the Indians invite opportunities for reevaluating the ways we understand national, foundational myths. A meeting house, general store, and hotel offer perspectives on the places we come together in daily life, both for celebration, intellectual edification, and sustenance. Amish, Mennonite, and Quaker bedcovers, including an extraordinary, inscribed “signature” or “friendship” album quilt made by the family and friends of Eliza and John Noble, commemorate the ways that many hands bring comfort and remind us of our roots. A humble seed box and a celebrated hooked rug remind us that we can provide sustenance for our communities, even in difficult times.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Donna and Marvin Schwartz Foundation and the Barnstormers at Shelburne Museum.