UNIVERSITY PARK - An exhibition of images depicting the history of Pennsylvania is making an appearance for the first time in decades this summer.
The Palmer Museum of Art is displaying "From Your Town to Ours: Pennsylvania Prints from the O'Connor-Yeager Collection Revisited" through Aug. 11.
The collection comes from John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager, who opened The Tavern located on College Avenue
This colored lithograph is titled “The Great Conemaugh Valley Disaster-Flood & Fire at Johnstown, PA., Friday, May 31st, 1889.” The lithograph, from an unknown artist, was created in 1890.
in 1948 when they were graduate students at the university, said Patrick McGrady, the museum's Charles V. Hallman Curator.
The collection, which hung on The Tavern walls, includes images of birds-eye views of Pennsylvania towns and cities, and portraits of important men and women in the state's history, he said.
In 1986, the museum acquired the collection from O'Connor and Yeager, McGrady said. Before acquiring it, the museum displayed some of the major pieces from the collection in an exhibition in 1980, but a "full-blown exhibition" had not occurred since, he said.
If you go
What: "From Your Town to Ours: Pennsylvania Prints from the O'Connor-Yeager Collection Revisited"
Where: The Palmer Museum of Art, Curtin Road, University Park
When: On display through Aug. 11
Details: Free admission. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays and some holidays. A gallery talk with Patrick McGrady, the museum's Charles V. Hallman Curator, is being held at 12:10 p.m. today.
Children and adult museum workshops related to the O'Connor-Yeager collection exhibition:
* From 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 20 the museum will hold the workshop: "My Town: Special Places and Spaces in Central Pennsylvania." The workshop is recommended for children 5 to 8 years old. Participants will examine prints from the collection for their unique features, discuss what makes their town unique, and make postcards.
* The workshop "Paper Play with Pennsylvania Landscapes" will take place from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 10. The workshop is recommended for ages 12 to 15. Participants will make three-dimensional paper landscapes.
* The adult workshop, "Mapping My Pennsylvania," is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 10. Using photographs, memory and observation, participants will make a one-of-a-kind map with personal significance. They are encouraged to bring a photograph of a favorite Pennsylvania location to help create it. Registration is needed to attend the free workshops. Space is limited. To sign up, call 863-9188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"So we thought it was about time to revisit some of this material and to reintroduce our audiences to what we consider to be one of the most historically-significant collections that the museum has and that is what's on view right now," McGrady said.
The exhibition, which opened June 4, has proven "very popular," and they are expecting "quite a few" visitors with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts taking place this week, McGrady said.
Two lithographs included in the collection show scenes from the Pennsylvania Railroad in Altoona and Tyrone in 1881 and Altoona in 1895.
Many small towns "literally owe their existence to the railroad," he said.
One of the more fascinating parts of revisiting the exhibition was getting introduced again to the state's history, in particular the railroads, McGrady said.
"We don't stop to think about how central they were to every day life in the 19th century," he said.
"And in many ways this exhibition tells a part of that story. ... if you read the labels and look at the images, you begin to realize just how important railroads were to the growth of Pennsylvania, indeed to the growth of the nation."
The museum also offers opportunities to delve a bit deeper into the exhibition.
Dana Kletchka, the museum's Curator of Education, said free workshops for children and adults are held in the summers and typically connect to museum special exhibitions or its permanent collection.
This exhibition "offered a lot of possibilities for connections," she said.
"Some people are really interested in learning about art by looking and hearing, but other people are more interested in taking a more physical approach to it and working with their hands," Kletchka said. "So they have a chance to not only experience the final product but they have a chance to experience some of the [process] and the creativity that goes into creating some of these works."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.