“History in Color” to Open October 12

Historic Arkansas Museum - Thursday, October 04, 2018 2018 - Thursday, October 04, 2018 Storyline - Thursday, October 04, 2018

Historic Arkansas Museum (HAM) will unveil its newest exhibit “History in Color: The Spectrum of Daily Life in Early America” on Friday, Oct. 12.

The exhibit is an examination of historical objects that explore the spectrum of color that shaped cultural attitudes and influenced trends in fashion and décor, the technological innovations that drove the production of brilliant new colorfast dyes and pigments, and the ways early Americans used color to enliven their homes.

The exhibit features textiles, ceramics, decorative applications and fine art items, all dated to the 18th or 19th centuries. The objects come from the museum’s collection and on loan from other institutions, with numerous Arkansas-made pieces, but also items created nationally and internationally.

An intention of the exhibit is to dispel the notion that the historical world was a less colorful place compared to the present, as vivid colors fade from exposure to light, layers of paint flake off with use, varnish darkens over time, and textiles become dull from wear and washing.

Carey Voss, curator of exhibits, believes that the desire for colorful objects has long driven technological innovation in textiles, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and the fine arts. “Almost from the beginning of human history, certain colorants have been considered valuable enough to carry long distances and trade between tribal groups,” said Voss. “Naturally-occurring pigments like red ocher, manganese black, and white kaolin clay formed the palette of the prehistoric potter, but archaeological studies have found traces of green, yellows, and browns on perishable objects like baskets.”

The exhibit is free and available for viewing Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m. It will be housed in HAM’s Arkansas Made Gallery and will run through the end of 2019.

There will be a reception on the evening of the opening at HAM from 5 – 8 p.m., in the Stella Boyle Smith Atrium during 2nd Friday Art Night, which includes live music and complimentary appetizers and beverages. The reception is free and open to the public.