The countdown has begun to the Michener’s 25th birthday celebration on Saturday, September 21, and Sunday, September 22! Family and kids programs begin at 10 am Saturday, with scavenger hunts, Museum Mystery Tours and guided gallery drawing activities. Create art in the studios while learning about landscapes, portraits and still life.
Family members will have the opportunity to discover color, texture and pattern while creating handmade books, monoprints and collage. Not to be missed is storytelling in the Byers Gallery from 2:30 to 3:15 pm, followed by a cartooning workshop in the Education Center from 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
For adults, there will be docent-led tours and gallery talks, as well as an architectural walking tour of the Cultural District, led by architectural historian Ken Hinde. From 1 to 2 pm, Michener Chairman Emeritus and founder Herman Silverman will talk about his unique relationship with Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener, and sign copies of his book, “Michener and Me.”
Walk the Michener’s Community Labyrinth for a meditative experience, and hear labyrinth expert Connie Fenty share information about the history and mystery of the labyrinth.
From 2:30 to 3:30 pm, the Michener’s Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator Brian H. Peterson will present an illustrated lecture on the 25-year history of the museum with a focus on its exhibitions.
There will be musical presentations in the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion, including the Central Bucks West Choir and the Bucks County Country Gentlemen barbershop singers.
Then get out your dancing shoes for a special ’80s Dance Party and Karaoke, from 8 to 11 pm. Revel in the decade of the Michener’s founding in the Putman Event Pavilion, with views of the outdoor sculpture garden. There will be DJ music, refreshments and the galleries will remain open all evening.
But don’t turn into a pumpkin just yet, the excitement continues Sunday when MM2 Modern Dance presents THREE, from 12:30 to 1:30 pm.
THREE is a collection of short stories with dances that are three minutes in length or less. Each member of the company is challenged to create a carefully orchestrated piece in a brief and fixed amount of time. This new collection of works premiered in Florence, Italy, where the company was on tour.
MM2 Modern Dance Company, under the direction of Steven Weisz, has established itself as an incubator for new emerging dance artists, in order to cultivate and introduce new work to new audiences.
From 3 to 5 pm, Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia presents Thine Alone! The Music of Victor Herbert, performing selections from Fortune Teller (1898), Babes in Toyland (1903), Mlle. Modiste (1905), The Red Mill (1906), Naughty Marietta (1910), The Enchantress (1911), Sweethearts (1913), Princess Pat (1915), and Eileen (1917). Concert Operetta Theater is dedicated to presenting, preserving, and educating audiences about operetta through professional performances from the Golden, and Silver ages of operetta.
For more details, visit the Special Events page.
We kicked off the Michener’s 25th anniversary year with a Founders Celebration Saturday, June 15. More than 200 attended the gala cocktail reception in the museum’s Edgar N. Putman Pavilion, including four of the museum’s six founders: Bill Brenner, Robert Byers, Frank Gallagher and Herman Silverman. Kay Steele Renninger was represented by by her daughter Sally Henriques and other family members..
We gathered to pay tribute to the vision of a core group of individuals who saw Doylestown as a cultural center for Bucks County and beyond. The historic and aesthetic beauty of this town, the extraordinary array of talent nurtured in this region, and the determination to create a locus for collecting, exhibition and stewardship of a critically important artistic genre were just some of the motivations.
These were smart business people who understood the value of creating a destination that would also have a positive economic impact on our community.
Herman Silverman was feted with the James A. Michener Legacy Award, an award that has only been presented once. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a high standard of excellence in the literary, visual or performing arts, or shaped the landscape of the arts community through their vision and philanthropy. Herman is recognized for transforming this institution and this community with his passion and deliberate and consistent message that we are worth the investment.
Silverman’s award came with a one-of-a-kind commissioned glass composition created by Don Gonzalez of Echo Beach Glass in Stockton, New Jersey, whose whose work is found in major private and public collections, including the Michener. Herman has carried the torch for this museum from the very beginning and continues to be influential and instrumental in its evolution, whose friendship with Jim Michener endured until the Michener’s death. The Silverman name continues to be associated with community organizations: Delaware Valley College, The County Theater, the Airport Commission.
There are some remarkable stories to tell about the evolution of our museum, beginning with its origins in the Bucks County Council on the Arts, the former Bucks County prison, and how namesake James A. Michener was cajoled into supporting a museum, where his legacy could last beyond the years of his literary fame.
Special thanks to the 68 individuals who have served on the board over 25 years, the family of Gretchen Knoell whose bequest is funding the 25th anniversary series of initiatives and events, event co-chairs, committee and staff, as well as past Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff.
The Michener is celebrating Michener Tribute Day
Members of the museum, members of the media and the public are all here at the Michener today to celebrate Michener Art Museum Tribute Day.
Director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover led a behind-the-scenes tour for the media, showing how the former prison building is celebrating 25 years as a vibrant art museum. A new logo was unveiled on banners hanging from the front of the museum. The logo uses the M for Michener and the arch of the old stone sally port, as well as the word “art,” to convey the mission today.
The museum’s façade has been made more visible, the lobby has been painted in more welcoming colors and a mule has been brought back. The Burro of Doylestown, also refurbished, now faces the museum entrance.
To highlight the permanent collection, voting for the community curated exhibit, The Peoples’ Choice: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25, began today. There are voting kiosks in the lobby and at the entrance to the Fred Beans Gallery. You can also vote manually or by scanning the QR code to your smart phone. Some of these works are stored in the vault and may be seen again if they’re voted on!
Hanover remarked that the 150 museum volunteers are a critical component to operations at the Michener, staffing the front desk, security, receptions, and serving as docents who spend an intensive training period studying the permanent collection and current exhibitions. The Michener mounts 10 to 12 exhibitions a year.
“We expect our Grace Kelly show to be a huge draw,” said Hanover. “There is a network of Kelly relatives from New York to New hope and Philadelphia.”
The wood, flooring and shoji screens of the Nakashima room have been refurbished. “The room is a destination,” said Hanover. “You’re entering a way of life when you walk into it. It calms you down.”
Speaking of the James A. Michener Art Museum’s namesake, Hanover said, “We are fortunate to have had someone born and raised in Doylestown who gave back to the community. He and Herman Silverman had a vision and supported it financially. Because of their investment the museum will have a lasting presence.
On June 15, the museum’s founders will be honored during a Founders Celebration.
May 8, 2013, will be James A. Michener Art Museum Day!
On that date in 1985, Bucks County honored the Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a dedicated day of celebrations of his books and philanthropy. This year, the museum will be recognized with a day of festivities, including a members appreciation reception and free admission to non-members who bring a canned food item to be donated to a local charity. These items will be donated to the Doylestown Food Pantry in honor of James A. Michener’s philanthropic and humanitarian spirit.
Thirty minute docent-led tours will be offered at noon, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm — pre-registration is required; call 215-340-9800.
The Michener welcomes back the “Burro of Doylestown” mule! The Michener acquired “Burro,” the tile mule by Linda Williams, through the generosity of Michael Guagliardo of Miracolo Hair Studio in Doylestown. You can see it here in the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden in spring. The Michener was a partner in the 2003 Miles for Mules project, linking the past to the present through art. The mule is a symbol of eastern Pennsylvania’s heritage.
Stop in to vote for your favorite work in the collection for the upcoming exhibition
The People’s Choice: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25!
The 25 works that receive the most votes will be installed in the exhibition, opening 2014.
To mark the silver anniversary the museum has planned gala-to-gala events to highlight the museum’s rich history, and past and future growth.
“This is a significant milestone in the life of this museum and an opportunity to reflect on all that has been accomplished and to envision how the museum will continue to be a vital presence in our community,” says Director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover. “We have a fresh face on Pine Street and look forward to engaging with our cultural and business partners in the region to help us celebrate throughout the year.”
The year began with new sculpture, lighting and landscaping, supplementing the state-of-the-art Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion to bring the former stone-prison-turned-art-museum into the 21st century. A new logo will soon be introduced, and the Nakashima room will be getting a renovation.
“Our 25th anniversary committee, co-chaired by Leslie Skilton and made up of board members, community and staff, has been meeting to plan fun and educational activities throughout the year,” says Director of Adult Programming Zoriana Siokalo.
Among the activities planned so far:
- Adding 25 significant new works to the permanent collection.
- Inviting you to be a curator! Museum visitors will have the opportunity to investigate the collection onsite and online, or even discover a seldom-seen artist hidden away in the vault. Viewers will be able to vote their favorite works and the top 25 will comprise a dedicated exhibition for the 25th anniversary. Voting begins in spring 2013.
- May 8, 2013, will be James A. Michener Art Museum Day! On that date in 1985, Bucks County honored the Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a dedicated day of celebrations of his books and philanthropy. This year, the museum will be recognized with a day of festivities, including a members appreciation reception, free admission to non-members who bring a canned food item to be donated to a local charity, and docent-led themed tours.
- Renewing focus on James A. Michener, the museum will work with library partners to reintroduce the author of more than 40 novels, including Tales from the South Pacific, to younger readers. The Doylestown native gave both his name and significant financial contributions to the museum.
- A mule is coming! The Michener has acquired “Burro of Doylestown,” the tile mule by Linda Williams, through the generosity of Michael Guagliardo of Miracolo Hair Studio in Doylestown. You can see it here in the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden in spring. The Michener was a partner in the 2003 Miles for Mules project, linking the past to the present through art. The mule is a symbol of eastern Pennsylvania’s heritage.
- Special recognition will be given to members, Corporate Business Partners, and long-term donors who have been with the museum for all 25 years.
- Save the Date — June 15, 2013 — for the official 25th Anniversary Year Founders Celebration in the Putman Event Pavilion and Patricia Pfundt Sculpture Gardens. Bruce Norman Long and Beth Beans Gilbert will serve as co-chairs, honoring the museum’s founders.
- September 21-22, 2013 — Public anniversary celebration, with a Saturday open house, an architectural tour of the Cultural District, a labyrinth walk, and lectures about the museum’s history. There will be film screenings and an evening of ‘80s karaoke and dance party. Sunday events include a contemporary dance performance by MM2, and an opera event.
The museum acknowledges the seed money in support of the 25th anniversary from a generous bequest from Gretchen H. Knoell. “Gretchen Knoell was an outstanding advocate for the museum, especially in the business community, and a good friend of the Michener since its founding 25 years ago,” says Candace Clarke, Deputy Director & Advancement Officer. “We are honored that she included the Michener in her estate plans, and know she would be pleased to be part of the year-long anniversary celebration.”