Web Site of the Week: The Great American Hall of Wonders
The Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit, the Great American Hall of Wonders, “examines the nineteenth- century American belief that the people of the United States shared a special genius for innovation.” The Smithsonian has provided an online slideshow and podcast to accompany the in situ exhibit. The first image in the online slideshow is The Artist in His Museum, by Charles Willson Peale, painted in 1822, showing Peale at the age of 81, amidst shelves of specimens at the public museum he founded. Another earlier Peale is also featured in the show, Exhumation of the Mastodon, 1806-1808. Also included are Edison’s light bulb, Audubon birds, and not only Andrew Joseph Russell’s 1869 ambrotype, showing the joining of the east and west lines of the Trans-American railroad, but also the commemorative golden spike made at the William T. Garrett Foundry as well. [DS]
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