Distinguished Professor Series

Sponsored by The Frederick H. Leonhardt Foundation

This program provides some of the most eminent colleges and universities with a unique opportunity to connect with their Florida alumni by sharing recent scholarship with Museum members and the public. The Museum partners with a limited number of institutions to offer this elite series of informative and enlightening presentations each winter.

Individual Tickets: $35 ($15 Museum Members)
Alumni/ae of featured schools enjoy the Museum membership price

Michael F. Suarez, S.J.
Director, Rare Book School
University of Virginia
The Print that Changed the World: The Description of the Slave-Ship Brookes
February 19, 2014 – 2:00 p.m.

Imagine the Brookes: 454 African slaves stowed away on tightly packed wooden platforms and shelves—men allotted a scanty space of 6 feet by 1 foot, 4 inches, and women and children even less. When the London committee of The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade saw the diagram depicting the stowage of human cargo on the Brookes, they quickly acted to transform it for their political ends.  Within weeks, a broadside engraving with accompanying text had been delivered to every Member of Parliament and many cultural elites across the land. The image soon became an icon. More than any other product of the abolitionist press, the ‘Brookes’ became a force for change.  In a richly illustrated and dynamic lecture, UVA professor Michael Suarez will describe the circulation and uses of the ‘Brookes,’ consider relationships between word and image, and discuss the reciprocal interactions between politics and print.

Michael Gorra, Ph.D.
Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language and Literature
Smith College
Henry James: The Houses of the Fiction
February 26, 2014 – 2:00 p.m.

This fascinating lecture will present a biographical portrait of the celebrated American writer Henry James (1843-1916), with particular focus on his 1881 novel Portrait of a Lady. Included in the presentation will be images of the houses in Italy and England that James used as settings in the novel or the actual locations where he worked. Dr. Gorra’s innovative biography Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (2012) was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Stephen G. Bragaw, Ph.D.
Carter Glass Professor of Government
Sweet Briar College
The Art of Money
March 5, 2014 – 2:00 p.m.

Money is perhaps the most important symbol a state creates, projecting power, authority, and stability in a very small frame to lend legitimacy to the metal or paper transformed, as if by magic, into legal tender. The Art of Money will survey the art and iconography of American currency, and use the art on coins and bank notes to show the development of the power and image of the American state. The presentation will focus in particular on the collaboration of Teddy Roosevelt and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the development of the famous “Double Eagle” $20 gold piece at the beginning of the twentieth century. This famous coin is the zenith of the art of American money, first minted at the ascendency of the dollar as a world currency.

Eric J. Morser, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History
Skidmore College
Missing from the Picture:
March 12, 2014 – 2:00 p.m.

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. John Adams. These are some of the names often imagined when thinking about the American Revolution. However, this imagined picture of the nation's founding is incomplete as it leaves out some of the most important characters in the story: women. This lecture will discuss a number of themes to complete that picture, including the vital role women played in colonial protests against British taxation, how women contributed to the Patriot cause on the battlefield, how they supported the troops at home, and how they kept households and businesses running in the absence of husbands and fathers. Additionally, how the rhetoric of revolution inspired many women to challenge traditional gendered expectations and imagine a new world of greater equality in the aftermath of war will also be examined. Ultimately, the presentation will investigate how the Revolution not only made a nation, but transformed how half that new nation's population understood who they were at the end of the eighteenth century.

Zirka Filipczak, Ph.D.
Kirk T. Varnedoe Class of '67 Professor
Williams College
Vermeer's Hold on Our Attention
March 26, 2014 – 2:00 p.m.

After Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer stands out as the favorite Dutch figure painter of the seventeenth century, known as The Golden Age. His mature works have but a small range of subjects, usually one or two women doing something indoors. Yet hundreds of people lined up in bitter cold for hours in 1995 to see the Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery, and when crowds of visitors finally got inside, the crowded galleries remained strangely quiet. Discover what gives Vermeer's art such drawing and absorbing power for viewers today.

Women, the American Revolution, and the Making of a Nation



If you prefer to order by phone, please call (772) 231-0707 x136 to reserve your space today.

VBMA Adult Public Programs Refund Policy
All Sales Are Final; please review your reservations carefully before submitting. We are unable to offer refunds or exchanges beginning sixty (60) days before a scheduled program. However, the value of cancelled reservations may qualify as a tax-deductible donation; please notify the Museum at your earliest opportunity before the program date. Occasionally, programs are cancelled or postponed due to circumstances beyond the Museum’s control. When this occurs, you may elect to have your reservation honored for the rescheduled date or you may receive a refund if applicable. In some cases, the performance contract may set refund limitations. All refunds or exchanges are subject to a $10 non-refundable convenience fee.


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