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  • Worcester Art Museum Dedicates New Discovery Gallery

    WORCESTER, MASS., August 17, 2000 - Connect the old with the new and experience the Worcester Art Museum through innovative technology in the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Discovery Gallery, to be dedicated on Saturday, September 16, at 1 p.m. Admission to the Museum is free that day from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    "The Discovery Gallery evolved out of a desire to make the Museum a place that is more accessible to the public and make their visits here more enjoyable," says Honee A. Hess, the Museum's director of Education. "Creating the gallery has been an ongoing process, with its main goal being to develop a space in which visitors will discover how the Museum uncovers information about art, will discover different perspectives on viewing the Museum's collection, and will discover connections between the past and present."

    The gallery's layout encourages both novice and seasoned museum-goers to participate in several aspects of the Museum. There are activities for adults as well as children, including an "archaeological" activity in which participants mimic the archaeological process. Another activity features a computer workstation containing an online gallery of works from the Museum's early American art collection. "In this section, viewers will be encouraged to act as a Museum curator as they learn how we know what we know about our art and the people who make it," Hess explains.

    In another area, display cases are set up to contain two-and three-dimensional objects from the Museum's permanent collection that will change periodically. "We want this gallery to be dynamic," Hess says. "We plan to ask visitors their ideas on which items should be featured in these cases, in order to involve people who don't normally select works of art for display."

    In addition, a kiosk designed by Botticelli Interactive® of Boston will take visitors on a visual thematic journey through the Museum's collection. Participants will be invited to learn how certain topics - such as food, drink, women, and death - are represented through art, throughout time, and across cultures. Visitors will also be able to view film clips that document the 1930s excavation of one of the greatest cities in the Roman Empire, which resulted in Antioch: The Lost Ancient City, the most significant exhibition in the Worcester Art Museum's history.

    On the floor of the Discovery Gallery will be a six-foot by six-foot contemporary mosaic designed by Victoria Blaine (Victoria Blaine Design, Marblehead, Mass.,) and produced by ColorCo (Merrimack, NH). Most of the Museum's Roman mosaics are hung on the walls, and visitors standing on Blaine's mosaic will be able to experience the design and feel of mosaics as they were intended by their ancient makers. The work's design is one that refers back to the ancient world - a maze - but incorporates the words Search, Create, Discover, Seek, Explore, Play, Uncover, and Find. These words symbolize the purpose of the Museum and of the Discovery Gallery.

    Two ancient mosaics, The Funeral Symposium and Drinking Contest, will also be installed on the gallery's walls. Created nearly 2,000 years ago, these works are in the exhibition Antioch: The Lost Ancient City, on view in Worcester from October 8, 2000 - February 4, 2001, then travelling to two other sites before being installed in the Discovery Gallery in 2002. For now, life-size photo reproductions of the mosaics will adorn two of the gallery's walls.

    The Discovery Gallery is funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund through The Art of Discovery project.

    Admission to the Worcester Art Museum is free all day on Saturday, September 16. We hope you'll stop by and enjoy the following exhibition opening and events:

    10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Opening of Insight: Women's Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection - Appreciate the diversity and remarkable accomplishments of women photographers in this exhibition of more than 50 works from one of America's foremost photography collections.

    12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Salisbury Street Sampler - Tour the Worcester Art Museum, American Antiquarian Society, Salisbury Mansion, and 13 other Salisbury Street cultural institutions participating in this annual event.

    1 p.m. Dedication of Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Discovery Gallery - Be part of the opening of the new Discovery Gallery, a space where you can discover the nature of looking at, interpreting, and creating art.

    3 p.m. Unveiling of Worcester's Community Mosaic - Celebrate this mammoth creative undertaking and honor the artistic contributions of more than 1,000 friends and neighbors.

    Museum Background

    Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.

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