Archives for March 2014

Friends of the Museum

Fall proves itself a productive time for the Friends of the Museum, a group that raises money to support the Museum and serves as a liaison between the university and statewide community that the Museum and Historic Houses serve.


Last April’s trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was such a success that Laura Antonow organized a second one for late September, with a few detours to study architecture on the way to and from Bentonville, Arkansas.  Before marveling at the architecture of Crystal Bridges itself, participants toured the headquarters of Heifer International in Little Rock, a platinum LEED certified green building.  After visiting the Moshe Safdie-designed museum, they were able to see two open-air chapels by renowned architect Fay Jones on the way back to Oxford.

A highlight of the fall, Dr. John Wilmerding’s visit as part of the Conversations series drew crowds to the Lyric to hear him speak on developing the art collection for the CrystalBridges museum.



The talk, entitled Building a New Museum:  Collecting American Art for the Crystal Bridges Museum, focused on his contributions as acquisitions and programming advisor to Alice Walton.  Dr. Wilmerding is the Sarofim Professor of American Art, emeritus, at Princeton University and serves as trustee on many prestigious museum boards. 

During the summer and fall, members of the Friends Board were busy fundraising and planning our 2nd Annual Harvest Supper, staged October 10 on the grounds of Rowan Oak. On the heels of the Annual Membership Party at the Museum, guests gathered beneath the stars, lights strung between trees, and falling leaves for divine food by Woodson Ridge Farms, music by Shannon McNally, and revelry by all who attended. All money generated by the event supports educational programs, outreach, exhibitions and new acquisitions for the Museum and Historic Houses.

Recent Work by Tom Corbin

news21Tom Corbin founded Corbin Bronze in 1986 when he left the advertising industry to pursue a career in art. The University Museum will display recent works by Corbin beginning Spring 2014 through Summer 2014. While the female figure is Corbin’s primary subject of expression, intriguing visual elements will include a tricycle, cupcake and diving board. A playful approach to the tradition of bronze sculpture will unveil “the unexpected” in this show featuring a selection of his signature elongated bronze sculptures and furniture as well as paintings.

Corbin’s bronze furniture and limited edition sculptures are displayed in over 20 showrooms and galleries internationally. Celebrity collectors include Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman and most recently Sofia Vergara. His work has appeared in TV shows and movies alike, including
In Treatment, It’s Complicated, and Transformers.

House and Home

Jan. 28 – Mar. 16, 2014news20

What makes a house a home? Throughout American history, people have lived in all sorts of places, from military barracks and two-story colonials to college dormitories and row houses. House & Home embarks on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present, to explore the varied history and many cultural meanings of the American home.

Drawn from the flagship installation at the National Building Museum, House & Home explores how our ideal of the perfect house and how our experience of what it means to “be at home” have changed over time.  Visitors will learn about issues of housing inequality, land distribution, and the role of the government, from the Colonial period though the Homestead Act and the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in the 1930s.

House & Home was organized by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and curated by Sarah Leavitt, Curator, the National Building Museum. House & Home has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and is being toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. 

Peddle Provides Major Gift to Museum

Tcouplehe Museum’s 2,000-piece David M. Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman artifacts—the largest collection of its kind held by a university museum in the South—stands out for its significance.

Thanks to the generosity of Marjorie Peddle of Oxford, gallery spaces are being prepared to increase physical and intellectual access to the collection. The major donor and her husband, the late Frank Peddle, purchased part of the collection for the University Museum in 1960. Marjorie Peddle recently provided a $150,000 gift for the exhibition to be expanded and the audience experience enriched with display and technology enhancements.

While parts of the collection’s pieces, dating from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 300, have been displayed for decades, more of the vast collection will be seen on a rotating basis once the 18-month project is complete. Four gallery spaces of the Mary Buie Museum, part of the museum complex, are being designed to house the collection by consultant Alchemy Studio in Maplewood, N.J.

“We are profoundly grateful to Mrs. Peddle for such an extraordinary and gracious gift,” said Robert Saarnio. “To honor this incredible generosity, the renovated central gallery with the reinstalled Robinson Collection will be named the Marjorie W. and Frank S. Peddle Jr. Gallery. Major celebrations and a scholarly symposium will accompany the reopening.”

Laura Peddle Sale of Oxford, a daughter, said her father, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and her mother, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., wanted the collection to remain at Ole Miss.

“Daddy understood the value of the collection and how special it was. He did not want the collection to go to another university. He appreciated art and had grown up in a part of the country where he was exposed to a lot of different museums. I’m so proud this gallery will be named for my parents because it reflects the unselfish gift they provided many years ago as well as this last gift to display the collection properly. ”

For more information on providing support to the University Museum, contact Angela Barlow, development officer, at 662-915-3181 or

Visitor, Restoration, and Faulkner News

Visitor News
Rowan Oak has welcomed 6,744 visitors sinceMay and hosted several events including the Friends of the Museum’s annual banquet and fundraiser, the Harvest Supper, on October 10th. Also of note, former Senator Trent Lott and former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas visited Rowan Oak on October 11th and the next day Texas Governor Rick Perry stopped by for a visit. Rowan Oak also hosted a catered picnic lunch for Senator Cochran’s staff on October 18th.


The staff of the popular NPR/PRI radio program “Whad’Ya Know” with Michael Feldman visited on September 27th with local celebrity Kaye Bryant, which was a lively affair.

A southern literature seminar from Colorado College visited Rowan Oak for a week in September where they had a seminar on the grounds that discussed time and characters in Faulkner’s novels. They also toured the area including Elvis’ Graceland, the opposite end of historic house management, but agreed that Rowan Oak was their favorite.
On Saturday, September 7, 150 Chi Omega alumnae from New York to California and many states in between, plus collegians from Tau chapter at Ole Miss enjoyed a glorious fall day with lunch on the grounds of Rowan Oak. They were hosted by Friends of the Museum Board member Mary Ann Frugé. Many of the guests arrived via a walk through Bailey’s Woods and delighted in the trail as well as the first view of the home and grounds. A Southern picnic lunch of fried chicken, pimento cheese, biscuits and other treats as well as strawberry shortcake catered by Elizabeth Heiskell was enjoyed by all. Rowan Oak curator Bill Griffith presented an educational program about Rowan Oak and Mr. Faulkner. Following lunch, guests toured Rowan Oak and left with an enhanced respect and admiration for Faulkner and his home.
Restoration of the Sunken Garden
Evelyn and Michael Jefcoat of Laurel, MS have committed to help fund the restoration of the sunken garden at Rowan Oak. We are in the very beginning stages of this project but are excited to get it under way. Kevin Risk, LSU landscape architecture faculty, wrote the cultural historic landscape report for Rowan Oak and has agreed to advise us on this very ambitious project. The Jefcoats previously funded the reconstruction of the gazebo at Rowan Oak. The original gazebo was flattened by a fallen tree in the mid 1980s. We cannot thank the Jefcoats enough for their past support and continued confidence and enthusiasm for Rowan Oak.
Faulkner News
The 2014 Faulkner Conference will discuss Faulkner and History. It will take place July 20–24, 2014 at the University of Mississippi. This is the 41st anniversary of the annual conference.
James Franco’s AS I Lay Dying premiered at the historic Lyric theatre on October 21st to a packed house. It is available for purchase on iTunes after October 22 and releases on DVD November 5th. The film was well received by the crowd and certainly raised Faulkner awareness around town.

On Loan: Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Untitled (Abstraction, Lake George) traveled to the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York to be part of an exhibition titled, Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George,  that will also travel to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and the deYoung Museum in San Francisco.


“This intriguing painting in the collection of the University of Mississippi Museum may have been inspired by a forest fire Georgia O’Keeffe witnessed during her first summer at Lake George in 1918. While it appears, at first glance, to be a wholly abstract or a non-objective composition, the central conical shape of brilliant orange is evocative of fiery flames encircled by the blue sky. Although O’Keeffe rarely addressed natural phenomena in her work, her response to the occurrence of fires and storms was a unique feature of her Lake George years. Part abstraction, part evocation, this intriguing image greatly enhances our understanding of O’Keeffe’s initial response to the dramatic atmosphere at Lake George,” said Chief Curator Erin B. Coe at the The Hyde Collection.

The painting will return in late Spring 2014. We are excited to be a part of an exhibition of such beautiful and interesting paintings depicting the influence and long relationship O’Keeffe had with Lake George.On Loan 

Dreams and Visions


After returning from the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, MS, the UM Museum displayed a selection
of Theora Hamblett’s rarely seen Dreams and Visions collection. Included in the exhibition is a newly gifted Dreams and Visions painting, which has never been displayed in a public venue. Birds in Flight was a gift from Kathryn and Brian Chivers in honor of their aunt, Mary Faith Brunson. Brunson, a 1944 University of Mississippi alumna, was the director of public relations of Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, GA.  She also served on the board of directors of the American Booksellers Association from 1966 to 1976 and was the organization’s president from 1970 to 1972.

“We are so grateful to the Brunson family for their generosity in thinking of the Museum as a home for this piece.  It is a refreshing addition to the collection as the Dreams and Visions collection rarely gets gifted as they were usually retained by Theora as personal possessions or were personal gifts from Theora,” said Collections Manager Marti Funke.


Museum Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach programs
are reaching unprecedented numbers
of children and families!

news6A museum visit can have a truly profound impact on a young learner’s view of the world,art, and history.At the University Museum, our educational programming is designed to transport audiences to ancient civilizations, introduce viewers of all ages to art, and create memorable experiences. In the past year, the Museum’s programs have expanded and developed, offering new creative opportunities for children as young as the age of two exploring the galleries with their parents or grandparents in our Mini Masters program.

Of the many programs at the Museum, our Traveling Trunk and Outreach programs have experienced the most growth. Through valued community partnerships like that with Leap Frog After School program and our free traveling trunk program for schools and organizations, we are able to offer free outreach programming to at-risk students.


We have also formed a new partnership with the Scott Center special needs students, and it is a joy to be able to share our collections and see people of all different abilities connect with our collections in new and diverse ways. As of October 2013, our Outreach programs had already reached over 8,000 students this year alone. The key to the success of these programs has been forming connections and partnerships with teachers, and we are proud that now through our partnership with the UM-Tupelo campus more Tupelo teachers are benefiting from our trunk program as well!


In addition to regular Family Activity Days, we want the Museum to be a place for adults and young children to explore together on their own. The Museum has just received generous funding from the Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow to create an Interactive Education Area and additional funds from the Friends of the Museum for a Family Learning Guide throughout the galleries. This project is one that we hope will make the museum a more accessible and engaging place for families
with children of all ages.

The Wellspring: Works by Hamlett Dobbins

Originally using legos to bring his imagination to life, Hamlett Dobbins news1
transitioned to paint as a means for creative expression. Dobbins’s newest exhibition, The Wellspring, at the University of Mississippi Museum is a collection of paintings that draw specifically from a diverse set of experiences with his two children, Milla (aka M.R.M.) and Ives (aka I.V.).  The paintings span a number of years and reflect different stages of their rich relationships.

“The University Museum is exceptionally pleased to present these remarkable paintings by a very talented artist whose career has taken him this year to a Rome Prize Fellowship.
We are thrilled to anticipate Hamlett’s return from Italy in December, to discuss these works with our audiences,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there was an Opening Reception on Thursday, November 14, 2013.
An artist’s lecture will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, from noon to 1:00 PM.  These events are free and open to the public.

news2A native of Tennessee, Hamlett Dobbins has spent most of his life in Memphis. He received his BFA from the University of Memphis in 1993 and went on to receive his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. After completing his graduate studies, Dobbins moved to Memphis where he worked as a curator for Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts while teaching at the University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, and at Memphis College of Art. In 2000, he received a fellowship for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, as well as a three-month residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska. Since 2001, Dobbins has worked at Rhodes College as an instructor and as the director for the Clough-Hanson Gallery where he has curated shows with Thomas Nozkowski, Roe Ethridge, Jon Haddock, Radcliffe Bailey, and Nikki S. Lee.  This year Dobbins is a fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Recollecting: 1980-2012, Works by Ron Dale

Ron DAle

Growing up in Asheville, North Carolina, Ron Dale was exposed to the annual exhibitions of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild. Watching a potter throw pots, transforming wet smooth clay into a shaped vessel was magic to Dale. This sparked his interest in ceramics, and he began his journey as an artist in the 1970s. Recollecting: 1980-2012, Works by Ron Dale showcases the Oxford artist’s works in ceramics and mixed media spanning over 20 years.

Ron Dale

“My sculptural work has evolved out of the traditional vocabulary of the vessel. Combined with architectural and furniture imagery, I am able to explore concepts of altered space and perspective, light and shadow and the flattening of form while allowing for a more direct expression of ideas—ideas dealing with both social and personal issues. I view them as three-dimensional paintings—images, color and texture layered one on top of the other. I often use suggested “mirrors” to reflect space as a means
of enveloping the viewer, placing him/her in a particular environment.
In recent years I have used the frame as an integral element in these constructions,” Dale stated.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there was an artist’s lecture on September 17, 2013.  The Museum’s Annual Membership Party, held October 10, 2013, celebrated and highlighted Ron Dale’s career in ceramics.

Ron Dale “The University Museum is extraordinarily pleased and proud to be the presenting venue for Recollecting 1980 – 2013,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio. “With every passing day we watched in a state of growing awe as Ron has installed these intelligent, playful, and dramatic works. We encourage our entire community to help us celebrate the career of this leading figure in contemporary American ceramic arts.”

Dale obtained his B.A. at Goddard College and his M.F.A. at Louisiana State University. Before teaching at the University of Mississippi, Dale taught at the Penland School of Craft in Penland, North Carolina, and at the Cortona, Italy study abroad program with the University of Georgia.  He joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi in 1980 and retired as Emeritus Professor of Art in 2005. Currently, Dale owns and runs Irondale Studio, which was built in 1995.

This exhibition will run until January 11, 2014.