Moveable Feasts: Entertaining at Glen Burnie to Shine the Spotlight on the 1960s
Winchester, VA., 02/20/13…Opening in the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley on March 5, 2013, Moveable Feasts: Entertaining at Glen Burnie will tell the story of the entertaining that took place in the Museum’s Glen Burnie House and Gardens during the 1960s. The light-hearted exhibition takes visitors on a stroll through a garden maze to glimpse vignettes of the various “moveable feasts”—brunch, afternoon tea, the cocktail hour, and dinner—that MSV benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr. (1910–1992) and his partner at the time, R. Lee Taylor (1924–2000), hosted at the site. Moveable Feasts will be on view through 2014.
According to MSV Executive Director Dana Hand Evans, Moveable Feasts is the first of a new series of changing exhibitions to be derived from the Museum’s Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection and displayed in the new Founders Gallery (the former MSV Changing Exhibition Gallery). Along with providing visitors with an engaging glimpse at Glass’s and Taylor’s life at Glen Burnie in the 1960s, Evans notes that Moveable Feasts was organized to provide a venue for the display of objects from the Glen Burnie House, which is now closed until 2014 for a preservation project. The exhibition—on view until the completion of the house preservation project—includes more than 100 objects from the house and gardens.
Marge Lee, author of the MSV publication The Gardens of Glen Burnie: the History and Legends of a Virginia Legacy, served as guest curator for Moveable Feasts. The exhibition also was informed by research completed for The Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection: Treasures of American and English Decoration Arts, published by Skira Rizzoli in 2011. The exhibition was designed by the 1717 Design Group, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia.
Along with furniture and objects from the house and gardens, Moveable Feasts incorporates archival images, large-scale photographs, and special effects and places many objects belonging to Julian Wood Glass Jr. on first-time public display.
Moving through a constructed garden maze, visitors to the exhibition will peer through openings to glimpse various vignettes. The first vignette presents the breakfast-room terrace, where a table is set for brunch with English porcelain dating to 1815–20, sterling silver flatware made in the late 1800s, and a sterling silver vase from Tiffany & Co. Here visitors will also learn about Julian’s and Lee’s pet quails and see Clarissa Quail enjoying brunch.
Next, the tradition of afternoon tea is explored in a recreation of the terrace of the Pagoda, built in the Chinese Garden in 1965. The display includes tea-related objects, such as a tea service made by S. Smith & Son in London in 1868, a Chinese tea caddy that is nearly 200 years old, and a silver teapot once owned by Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Visitors will then learn about the cocktail hour at Glen Burnie, with a dramatic image of the Garden’s Pink Pavilion as backdrop. As the hosts and guests dressed formally for this event, Julian Glass’s dinner jacket is on display, along with his gold, diamond, and sapphire cufflinks and vest studs, and a diamond-encircled pocket watch with diamond chain by the French maker, Cartier. The display also includes a gold cigarette case with two of Julian Glass’s cigarettes still inside. All these objects are on first-time display.
Highlights of the dramatic “Dinner at Seven” vignette include the dining table, made in Winchester between 1790 and 1800 and original to the Glen Burnie House; a stunning silver epergne; Meissen porcelain dinner plates dating to 1745; gilt-wood sconces made in England around 1800; and two exquisite still-life paintings by Severin Roesen (1815–1872). The exhibition concludes with a tip of the hat to the entertaining traditions at Glen Burnie and the collections both men assembled during their lifetimes. Taylor’s remarkable collection of miniature houses and rooms is on view in a nearby gallery.
The exhibition also includes interactive elements to engage visitors of all ages. The “Fancy a Fold” station invites visitors to fold a dinner napkin into a crown or a peacock, and the “Butler Bamboozle” touch screen challenges visitors to set a formal table before time runs out. Visitors may also take a souvenir bookmark with Lee Taylor’s infamous eggnog recipe.
According to Marge Lee, unique details in Moveable Feasts help bring the exhibition to life. Covered in faux boxwood, the exhibition’s impressive walls were inspired by the boxwood hedges in the Museum’s own Glen Burnie Gardens. In addition, along with featuring dinnerware and serving pieces used by Glass and Taylor, the furniture and objects in the “feast” vignettes are presented as they would have looked when they were used to entertain.
All of the faux food for the exhibition—from Bloody Marys and Eggs Benedict to Julian Glass’s favorite cocktail, the “Old Fashioned,” and the Virginia ham dinner—was custom-made for the MSV by a renowned faux-food artist, Henri Gadbois of Houston, Texas. As well, several notable objects from the house and gardens underwent conservation for their display in Moveable Feasts, including a tall clock and case made in Winchester around 1795 by Goldsmith Chandlee (1751–1821) and a garden statue of Sibyl, high priestess of ancient times, likely made by one of London’s Coade companies between 1770 and 1833.
To celebrate the opening of Moveable Feasts, the MSV is hosting a 1960s-inspired cocktail party, The Sixties Soirée, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. Open to the public, the event will feature dancing to the music of the Jeff Decker Swing Band in the Museum Reception Hall, which will be transformed into a 1960s-style club; a selection of 1960s-inspired hors d’oeuvres; and a martini bar on the gallery level where visitors may watch the only recording of “The Rat Pack” in concert (1965) and savor Martinis, Cosmopolitans, and Champagne Cocktails.
In addition, the Museum Café will be converted into a Piano Bar for the evening, complete with lounge furniture and a pianist playing a baby grand piano. Party-goers are invited to get into the spirit of the evening: the woman wearing the best cocktail hat to the party—as judged by Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Shendow of Winchester’s Bell’s Fine Clothing—will win a $100 gift certificate to Bell’s. In addition, all those who attend the event will be entered in a drawing to win a champagne cocktail party for 30 in the Pink Pavilion, courtesy of the MSV and the event’s caterer, Seasoned to Taste. Limited tickets for the event remain; reservations are required by February 22. Cost to attend the party is $150 per couple or $80 per individual for MSV Members; for all others, the cost is $175 per couple or $100 per individual. To make reservations, the number to call is 540-662-1473, ext. 213.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia. The MSV complex—including the Museum, the Glen Burnie House, and six acres of gardens—is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Museum is open year-round; the gardens are open seasonally (April 2 through October 31 in 2013). The house is now closed until 2014 for a comprehensive preservation project. Museum admission includes the gardens and is free to MSV Members and children ages 12 and under. The fee for all others is $10 or $8 for seniors and youth. Admission is free to all on Wednesday from 10 a.m. until noon. Additional information is available at www.theMSV.org or by calling 540-662-1473, ext. 235.
Julie B. Armel
540-662-1473, ext. 225