R. R. Smith Center Gallery to gleam with historic silver

augusta county historical society logoThe History Gallery of the R. R. Smith Center for History and Art will quite literally gleam through the end of the year.

The Augusta County History Society is opening a new exhibit this week featuring silver from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries – with a particular focus on the importance of things made with this precious metal in America’s colonial life.  An opening reception is planned at the gallery 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 24.  The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Silver represented a form of social status in the American colonies. Teas and dinners would be accentuated with silver and served as a way for the colonists to meet and discuss the politics of the day, or to bring family and friends together. The nation’s founding fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, used dinners as social tool for discussions that would lead to the establishment of the nation.

The new exhibit will feature approximately 50 items including tea sets, candlesticks, cruet stands, spoons, table salts, wine stands, and more. All the silver in the exhibit is hand-wrought. Silversmithing was a valued art of the time requiring great skill, creativity and patience. Many silversmiths in colonial times held important positions in their communities, the best known was perhaps Paul Revere Jr. of Massachusetts.

The exhibit will feature a series of story boards to provide a historical perspective on American silver, but demonstrating the influence of English silver.  It focuses on the neoclassical period, an important period that helped shaped the political and social norms of the our nation.

The exhibit is curated by long-time Society patron Scott Ballin and features items from his personal collection. The exhibit will run through the end of the year.

The ACHS was founded in 1964 to study, collect, preserve, publish, educate about, and promote the history of Augusta County and its communities. More information is available online at www.augustacountyhs.org.

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