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Bridgewater College exhibition features artifacts from around the world

bridgewater collegeAn exhibition at Bridgewater College featuring objects from Special Collections’ 124-year-old international artifacts collection will open to the public on Saturday, April 22, on the lower floor of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library.

The exhibition – “Practical But Pretty: Decorated Everyday Items From Around the World” – will run through June 2 and will be open during library hours. It is free and open to the public.

The exhibition will feature artifacts from the Reuel B. Pritchett Museum Collection with a focus on decorated utilitarian items in the mediums of ceramics, metal, paper, textiles and wood. The exhibition was curated by Stephanie Gardner, Special Collections librarian, senior Charlotte McIntyre of Street, Md., and junior Savannah Laury of Columbia, Md.

“We truly have a variety of items, created by cultures around the world, to share,” said Gardner. “Bridgewater College began a museum collection in 1893 and through the years, nearly 400 donors gave materials linked to more than 250 international and US locations.”

Gardner said that she and the students curating the exhibit selected interesting representations of decorative arts for display.

“Our criteria were that items must be functional but have ornamentation,” said Gardner. “We’ll show items from around the world, including some artifacts made and used here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We have everything from a gilt fragment of a medieval French manuscript to a box decorated in the American folk art style known as tramp art.”

Featured items will include a Middle Eastern scribe’s writing case, a painted Russian box, a Chinese court gown, shards of American Indian pottery, and a fraktur bookplate from a songbook belonging to local Church of the Brethren leader Elder John Kline. Several other items in each medium will also be on display, and McIntyre and Laury are creating a video on decorative arts in the collections.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to nearly 1,900 undergraduate students.