Performing Arts and the Human Experience Exhibit

“Showing Us Our Own Face”: Performing Arts and the Human Experience is now on view through May 2020, in the Special Collection Research Center’s exhibition gallery on the second floor of Fenwick Library.

As Zelda Fichandler remarked, “the theater is capable of showing us our own face, plumbing for us the human heart, leading us to the edge of our own mind.” This exhibition celebrates the myriad faces and experiences of those who dedicate their lives to the performing arts. Through six disciplines – Opera, Ballet, Theatre, Musical Theatre, Dance, and Music – the exhibition examines the power of the performing arts, and its ability to “show us our own face.”

The exhibition features items from SCRC’s major performing arts collections (as well as some smaller collections), including documents, photographs, playbills, programs, artist books, posters, rare books, and other objects. Fascinating objects on display range from an illuminated manuscript of choral music from the 1400s to East German posters advertising opera and ballet to a braille script for “All the King’s Men” from an Arena Stage production.

In conjunction with the exhibition, an opening reception will take place on Tuesday, February 11 at 2pm in Fenwick Library, Room 2400 (Special Collections Research Center). Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will speak about the importance of performing arts, followed by a short tour of the exhibit. Light refreshments will be provided.

Memories+Moments from the Vietnam War

Join the Libraries for “Memories + Moments from the Vietnam War,” presented by the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) and sponsored by the Mason branch of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The event is November 12, 3:30 – 5 p.m., 2001 Fenwick Library.

A panel from OLLI – featuring John Ware, Charley Otstott, and Bob Shaffer – will share their individual experiences with the conflict in Vietnam. The panel will be moderated by Meredith Lair, Associate Professor, Department of History and Art History at Mason, and will include time for Q&A. The event will be recorded and added to SCRC’s Oral History Program collection.

Light refreshments will be provided, and all attendees are invited to visit SCRC’s current exhibition on Vietnam.

Opening Reception for “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975”

Join the Libraries for a reception and tour of “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975,” our Special Collection Research Center’s current exhibit, on Tuesday, October 22, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the SCRC Seminar Room (Fenwick Library Room 2400). Light refreshments will be served. Dr. Meredith Lair, Associate Professor, History and Art History, will make introductory remarks, and a tour of the exhibit will follow.

Dr. Lair’s work examines warfare and its relationship to American society and culture, with particular emphasis on how knowledge and memories of the past are constructed and disseminated over time. She is the author of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, which examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam. Professor Lair’s teaching interests include war and American society, post-1945 US social and cultural history, the Vietnam War, and historical methods. She also serves as director of Mason’s Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) Master’s program.

About the Exhibit: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” This quote, attributed to a U.S. Army officer in February 1968, illustrates the contradictions inherent in the Vietnam Conflict. Seen by some as a noble fight to stop Communism and help a developing country establish democracy, and others as interference in a war of national liberation and a destructive waste of money and human life, Vietnam remains one of the more polarizing topics of the twentieth century. This was evident in the words, actions and writings of politicians, journalists, authors, clergy, and others. The conflict, which spanned 30 years, from September 1945 to May 1975, was responsible for 1.5 million to 3.5 million civilian and military deaths. One of the major flash points of the Cold War, Vietnam was, and still is, a subject about which many have differing opinions.

This exhibit, curated by Bob Vay, SCRC’s Digital Collections and Exhibition Archivist, features items from Special Collections Research Center’s Rare Books, University Archives, and manuscript collections.  

Celebrate Archives Month

October is Archives Month, and our Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) has multiple opportunities for you to learn and celebrate with them.

Archives Month Information Session, Wednesday, October 2, 1-4pm, Johnson Center, Kiosk C: Stop by and chat with someone from the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center about archives and special collections. SCRC will be available to answer any questions you have about archives – or research – and how we can help. We will also have general information about our collections with particular research value.

Archives Fair, Wednesday, October 9, 2-4pm, Fenwick 2001: Come and speak to various local archival repositories about their collections, historical resources, and potential internships. Participating organizations, in addition to SCRC, include: Virginia Room (Fairfax County Public Library), Fairfax Circuit Court Historical Records Center, Thomas Balch Library, Local History and Special Collections (Alexandria Library), Truban Archives (Shenandoah County Library), Center for Local History (Arlington Public Library), Louise Archer Elementary School Archives and Historic Vienna, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (REMIX), Virginia Commonwealth University Special Collections and Archives. 

Archives Month Open House, Thursday, October 31, 12-3pm, Fenwick 2400 (SCRC Seminar Room): Join Special Collections Research Center for a fun-filled event to celebrate the end of Archives Month. We will display some of our coolest materials related to “Book Arts,” this year’s Archives Month theme. We will be dressing in costume – so feel free to dress up too! Light food and refreshments will be served (away from the materials, of course!).