Civil War Opening


One of the Tyler Museum of Art’s most anticipated exhibitions in recent years opens to the public Friday, Dec. 19, as the TMA unveils Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War from the George Eastman House Collection.

Joining the nationwide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, the exhibition continues through Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 at TMA, 1300 S. Mahon Ave. across from Wagstaff Gymnasium on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. The Museum is closed on Mondays, as well as Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1 for the holidays.

Special events in connection with the exhibition include a TMA Civil War Symposium scheduled for 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31 in TJC’s Jean Browne Theatre, located directly across the street from TMA on South Mahon Avenue. The symposium will feature programs by historians and scholars exploring topics including “Texas and the Civil War,” art of the Civil War era and the early days of photography, plus a roundtable discussion on collecting Civil War artifacts. The public is invited to all symposium programs, but space is limited. Call (903) 595-1001 for reservations.

Additional special events include:
• First Friday Art Tours: 11 a.m., Jan. 2 and Feb. 6
• Family Days: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10 and Feb. 14
• Seniors’ Day: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19 (guided tours at 10:45 and 11:45 a.m.)

Between the States spotlights the photographic processes of the 1861-1865 period in the work of early icons of the medium including Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, gathering dozens of stirring images that brought the graphic, sobering reality of the war home to the American public at a time when photography still was in its infancy.

The exhibition is organized by the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., and guest-curated by Dr. Clair Robertson, assistant professor of art and art history at the University of Texas at Tyler.

“When we first approached Clair last year about curating this exhibition, she insisted we expand our focus to include local images and artifacts that tell the story of the War’s impact on Tyler and Smith County – which was more significant than many of us often realize,” TMA Executive Director Chris Leahy said.

The result is a concurrent exhibition organized by Dr. Robertson and the TMA: The American Civil War’s Impact on Tyler, exploring the tangible connections to the local community’s participation in the conflict such as providing soldiers for the war effort, securing Union prisoners at Camp Ford, and manufacturing weapons at the Tyler ordnance works that began as Short, Briscoe and Company. To highlight the home front and frame the war from the perspective of Smith County, The American Civil War’s Impact on Tyle features an array of period clothing (including a Confederate uniform), weaponry, photographs, maps and numerous other historical artifacts of local origin. “Through Clair’s efforts, this exhibition has become a large-scale community collaboration, bringing in resources from UT Tyler, the Goodman-Legrand House, Smith County Historical Society, the Pearce Collection at Navarro College and numerous private collectors,” Leahy said. “The total experience pairs an encyclopedic view of the conflict as a whole with the more immediate story of a community at war.”

The Museum is offering free admission throughout the exhibition courtesy of generous sponsorship by the Julietta Jarvis Foundation, Inc., Eleanor Cameron and Mrs. Ralph Spence, Color Bearer; Carol and Jack Gibson, Marilyn Richey and Bitsy Wynne, Artillery; and The Robert M. Rogers Foundation, Collectors’ Circle Platinum.

The TMA, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. across from Wagstaff Gymnasium on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday; the Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The TMA is supported by its Members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler. For information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit