Exhibit highlights former president’s surprising journey

Indy Style

Discover the story of a President’s journey to unite the nation at the new ‘A Trip to Unify’ exhibit – opening January 25!

Today on Indy Style, Jennifer Capps, VP of Curatorship; Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, and Allison Kraft, New Century Curator Student, tell us more about the excitement!

Here’s more:

A Trip to Unify, opening January, 25, at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site tells the surprising story of why President Harrison traveled more than 10,000 miles by train to visit 21 states in under a month. The exhibit will transport you back to 1891 when President Harrison gave nearly 150 speeches in 30 days from coast to coast, stretching from Washington D.C. to the California coast. Not only was it enormous amount of travel, but it was a groundbreaking moment for the American presidency.

“Almost all the artifacts used in the exhibit are heartfelt gifts to Benjamin Harrison from the communities he visited on his 10,000 mile train trip-many representing the very best these burgeoning communities had to offer,” said Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site CEO, Charlie Hyde. “Some of the mementos are solid silver, others elaborate folk art pieces, but all are an expression of a growing national pride and sense of place – from small towns in Colorado to the shoreline of San Francisco. Harrison articulated his greater vision of a unified nation, and his words still ring true today.”

Many of these communities had never had a presidential visit before, so it was all the more important in helping forge a greater sense of patriotism and love of country. As President Harrison said in Omaha, Nebraska, “Nothing has been so impressive in all this journey as the magnificent spirit of patriotism which pervades our people. I have seen enough American flags to wrap the world around. [Cheers.] The school children have waved it joyously everywhere, and many a time in some lonesome country home on the bleak sand I have seen a man, or a woman, or a little boy, come to the door of the cabin as we hurried by and wave the starry banner in greeting to our train.”

The exhibit is part of the New Century Curator Initiative, a compelling partnership between the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and IUPUI’s Museum Studies program. This partnership offers an innovative opportunity for Museum Studies students to assist in developing an exhibit for the Presidential Site. It’s a career-launching opportunity for a top-tier student to explore and interact with a nationally-significant collection. The 2017 Curatorial Fellow Allison Kraft shared, “This partnership was specifically designed to help graduate students like me launch our careers through collaborative training and hands-on experience with conservation, preservation and forward thinking exhibit design. I’m honored to have been selected, and am excited to partner so closely with Presidential Site Staff, and help share this remarkable story.”

A Trip to Unify will open with a Member Preview on January 25 and will run through the end of October 2018. The Presidential Site offers daily guided tours from January 23 – December 30. Tours are on the hour and half-hour, and last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Adults are $10, Seniors $9 and Students (5-12) are $5. For additional details visithttp://www.presidentbenjaminharrison.org/visit.

About the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site celebrates the remarkable legacy of America’s Hoosier President. The museum is a National Historic Landmark situated within easy walking distance of downtown Indianapolis and the bustling 16th Street corridor. The 1875 Italianate mansion is exquisitely restored, and has an exceptional collection of more than 10,000 artifacts. Daily tours of the property include a 75-minute guided tour through the Harrison house and private quarters. Highlights include an awe-inspiring collection of Gilded Age finery, paintings, furniture and personal presidential gifts and mementos. The privately operated, non-profit organization receives no direct tax support and is dedicated to sharing the life stories, arts and culture of an American President to increase public participation in the American system of self-government. Find out more at PresidentBenjaminHarrison.org 

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