As the New Year 2017 advances, you will notice some changes within the museum. After approximately fifteen years, the Park Home Fine Arts Collection was removed by its owners and is now housed at their Montoursville facility, ‘The Meadows.’ This removal included the two large Severin Roesen paintings, the monumental work Sheep in a Snowstorm by Schenck, other artworks, statuary, and furniture.
In a letter of thanks to the Park Home Board of Directors, Executive Director Gary Parks wrote, “From 2000 until 2016, we were honored to have these items on public display within the Fine Arts Gallery of the museum. Our most recent statistics, 2012-2016, indicate that approximately 68,940 visitors enjoyed the breath-taking still lifes of Severin Roesen, the dramatic Sheep in a Snowstorm by Schenck, and lovely land and seascapes created by a number of recognized artists.
As you can imagine, we were reluctant to part with the‘collection’. It had become so much of our daily ‘lives’, promoted in our brochures and publicity, and highlighted on every tour that came through the building. High school and college students particularly enjoyed having access to fine examples of nineteenth century art ‘in their own backyard’. Shortly after the return of the items,the Education Committee met to discuss the future of the space. It was decided to present highlights from our permanent collection including a folky portrait of Charles Augustus Low, a painted blanket chest with a tree of life embellishing its red exterior on the front panel, Samuel Grier’s desk used as the first ‘post office’ in Williamsport, and a ‘coxcomb’patterned quilt.
LCHS Board Member John Raymond has suggested the title From Folk to Fine: Art from the Taber Museum. We, of course, are broadening the term to incorporate decorative arts into the former fine arts gallery. This term implies everything that might serve a utilitarian purpose, but is embellished with decorative elements. The final results of the gallery might include furniture, textiles, metalwares, ceramics, glassware, ephemeral(paper) items and woodenware.
Scheduled for possible inclusion is a mantelpiece taken from ‘Deer Park’, the home of William Hepburn, as well as two beautifully-crafted long rifles.
Be sure to stop by the Museum to see the new exhibits in the up-graded decorative and fine arts gallery.