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What Remains of Edward Beyer’s Blue Ridge

10/22/2012

The exhibition What Remains of Edward Beyer’s Blue Ridge contrasts the paintings of Liberty (now Bedford) and Salem with present photographs of those places in the paintings that still exist. The exhibition is currently on display in the Omohundro gallery, which is not very large. It is, in fact, our smallest changing exhibit space, and the limited size posed a problem when it turned out there were a dozen or so items to illustrate per painting. The concern was that if we approached the design using only traditional printed graphics that they would look cluttered on the walls and ultimately confuse visitors. We could limit the number of subjects covered to control the chaos but that would defeat the idea of illustrating all of those sites that survive.

As an alternative we decided to use only a few print graphics as illustrations and to transfer the focus of the research to touch-screen monitors. The monitors display images of the paintings that highlight those sites that still exist. When the highlighted areas are touched the program brings up a current image of the site and a story about it. This allowed us to include all the items in the paintings and present them in an engaging, interactive manner.

Drew Gladwell is the Exhibit Designer at the Virginia Historical Society.

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