From the Vietnam War, the moon landing and Woodstock, several upcoming exhibits at the Huntsville Museum of Art are lining up to make it a summer of the 1960s and celebrating Huntsville and its role in Alabama’s history.
“We have a full lineup for the summer which is really exciting,” said Samantha Nielsen, communications director for the museum.
In addition to the 1960s era exhibits, in honor of Alabama’s bicentennial the museum will also feature an exhibit of all six of Alabama’s constitutions in “We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents.”
“It will be the first time they’ve left the capitol to be on display,” she said.
In the summer of 1819, 44 delegates met in Huntsville to draft Alabama’s first constitution, the defining document that provided the framework for the state’s government and made Alabama the 22nd of the United States. The special bicentennial exhibition curated by the Alabama Department of Archives and History will feature all six of Alabama’s constitutions, along with the 1861 ordinance of secession, which declared Alabama’s separation from the Union on the eve of the Civil War.
In preparation for Alabama’s bicentennial year, extensive conservation work has been conducted on the documents by the Northeast Document Conversation Center in Andover, Massachusetts. Nielsen said the “We the People” exhibit will be the first public display of the historic records since returning from their conservation, and the first time they’ve ever been displayed together outside of Montgomery.
“They will arrive by Constitution Convoy, which will include a police escort and Alabama Patriot Guard,” Nielsen said. “It will be similar to the Trail of Tears but on a much smaller scale.”
The convoy is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, June 25 and the opening day of the exhibit will be Sunday, June 30.
“We will have free admission on opening day, June 30, along with a ribbon cutting with state and city representatives at 1 p.m.,” Nielsen said. A lecture on the exhibits will be at 3 p.m. in the Great Hall by Steve Murray, director of the state archives and history, and Conservator Katie Boodle.
The exhibit will be on display in the Haws Gallery until Aug. 11.
A New Moon Rises: Views from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
Another historic exhibit with direct connections to Huntsville is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of man’s first step on the moon. “A New Moon Rises” is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian and features large-scale, high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface taken over the last decade.
Nielsen said the photos were captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), and “the images are stunning” from historic Apollo landing sites to towering mountains rising out of the darkness of the lunar poles.
The LROC’s mission was originally conceived to support future human missions to the moon. After its first 15 months of operation, it began a mission of pure scientific exploration. The moon is not the same place as when astronauts last stepped foot on it. New impact craters are being formed. Volcanic activity, once thought long extinct, may have happened in the recent past. The crust has recently fractured from slow interior cooling and shrinking of the moon and it may still be shrinking today.
Nielsen said the exhibit opened May 19 in the Adtran, Jurenko, Thurber and Guild Galleries. It closes Aug. 11.
Vietnam: The Real War Photographs from The Associated Press
The Associated Press is a nonprofit global news agency headquartered in New York. Founded in 1846, it operates as an independent cooperative and has earned 52 Pulitzer Prizes, including 31 for photography, since the award was established in 1917.
Nielsen said the Associated Press gathered an extraordinary group of photojournalists in its Saigon bureau, creating one of the greatest photographic legacies of the 20th century. This collection tells the story of a divisive war that left a deep and lasting impression on American life.
From Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the burning monk and Nick Ut’s picture of a 9-year-old running from a napalm attack to Eddie Adams’ photograph of the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner, “Vietnam: The Real War” contains images that both recorded and changed history.
A presentation and preview reception will be held on Thursday, June 6.
J. David Ake, will give a presentation on the exhibit from 6 to 6:45 p.m. in the Great Hall.
Ake is an award-winning photojournalist who has documented major news stories in more than 24 countries on six continents. He currently leads AP’s global photojournalism and has previously directed photo coverage in Washington, D.C. as deputy bureau chief. David was also a White House photographer during the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Nielsen said doors open at 5:30 p.m. Seating for the lecture, which starts at 6 p.m., is limited to 170 guests. The preview reception will be from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $50 for members and $75 for non-members.
As part of the exhibit, Nielsen said the museum is offering a unique opportunity to participate in its Vietnam Veterans Wall.
“This wall will be prominently featured during the run of the exhibition,” she said. “We are eager to honor the Vietnam Veterans who served our country, and hope that everyone will give serious consideration to being a part of this historic exhibition.”
The exhibit opens June 9 in the Grisham Gallery. It closes Oct. 6.
Looking at the Collection: Celebrating the 1960s
A selection of Pop, Minimalist, and Photorealist works from the Museum’s permanent collection, executed by American artists who rose to prominence during this momentous decade are included in the “Looking at the Collection” exhibit, Nielsen said.
Included are works by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, and Richard Estes – all of whom epitomize the unique spirit that defines the decade of the 1960s.
The exhibit opens June 23 in the Chan Gallery. It closes Sept. 29.
Peace, Love, Rock & Roll: Elliott Landy’s Vision of Woodstock
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Nielsen said Peace, Love, Rock & Roll captures and preserves Elliott Landy’s vision of that influential event. His iconic photographs of Dylan and The Band during the years they resided and recorded in the small arts colony of Woodstock, New York, and his coverage of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, for which he was the official photographer, captured the attention of a new generation seeking spiritual and artistic freedom.
His imagery has become synonymous with the town, the famed 1969 Festival and the Utopian spirit of the Woodstock Generation.
Best known for his classic “rock” photographs, Landy was one of the first “music photographers” to be recognized as an “artist.”
Nielsen said a lecture and preview party is planned from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 18.
The lecture by Landy begins at 6 p.m. A reception, including a full bar and catering by Chef Narvell, will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There will also be live music from the ’60s. Tickets will be available on June 20th. The cost will be $50 for members and $75 for non-members. The exhibit closes Oct. 13.