Elizabeth Jacks, Alan Wallach, Nancy Siegel
In May 2017, the Cole site unveils a project that has been in the making for over a decade, The Parlors Project, which combines meticulous historic restoration with high-tech audio-visual effects that bring to life the two main parlors of Thomas Cole’s home. Created in partnership with nationally renowned design firm Second Story, the new installation will transform how visitors experience the historic site by engaging them in a participatory, interactive experience with Cole and his ideas in the very rooms in which Cole interacted with the artistic and cultural leaders of early 19th century America. Instead of walking through a period home behind velvet ropes, visitors will enter the rooms and participate in the events that took place there. Join Elizabeth Jacks, Executive Director of the Cole site; Alan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies Emeritus at the College William & Mary; and Nancy Siegel, Professor, Art History, Museum Studies Area Coordinator, Towson University, for a sneak preview of this highly innovative installation. Professor Wallach will begin the January program with a presentation about why Thomas Cole would spend his precious time and money to redecorate his home. Professor Siegel and Ms. Jacks will then join Wallach for a discussion of how Cole and his circle of artists and friends fit into the class-stratified society of the 1830’s and 40s. Jacks will conclude the program with a preview of how this story and others will be presented in the new interactive exhibits this spring.