For Immediate Release: June 12, 2019
Contact: Susan Strano, Marketing Director
802-447-1571 ext. 204
sstrano@benningtonmuseum.org

Image:
Mason’s Heart, c. 1819-1826
Engraved by Moody Morse Peabody (1789-1866) and published by Ebenezer Hutchinson (1787-1855), Hartford, Vermont
Hand-colored engraving on paper, 8 x 6 inches
Bennington Museum Collection, Gift of Roger D. Harrison

Village Enlightenment: Print Culture in Rural Vermont 1810-1860

On view at Bennington Museum through September 15, Village Enlightenment: Print Culture in Rural Vermont, 1810-1860, brings to light the widespread and growing interest in rural New England for printed matter that could spread knowledge during the development of the American Republic. Many people assume that rural Vermont was a relatively isolated during this period; a cultural backwater during the first half of the nineteenth-century. However, during the late eighteenth-century and well into the nineteenth century, Vermont was a boom state. During this time, Vermont went from an almost unpopulated frontier to being more populous than neighboring New Hampshire and it had nearly half the population of neighboring Massachusetts, the most populous state in New England. Cosmopolitan centers popped up all over the state, which was home to many intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and craftsman inspired by the same ideals as Enlightenment in eighteenth-century Europe. There was a widespread belief that through rationalism, scientific reasoning, and exploration, and most importantly, in this context, the distribution of that knowledge via printed matter, humans could harness the world that they lived in and turn it to their benefit.

This small but detailed exhibition features engravings, maps, and books published and/or illustrated by the “Greenbush Group,” a small circle of artisans, entrepreneurs, and printmakers/publishers based out of Windsor County, Vermont, during the first half of the nineteenth century. Led by James Wilson, the first globe maker in America, and Isaac Eddy, who established a print shop in the tiny hamlet of Greenbush around 1810, the group had among its members Ebenezer Hutchinson, Moody Morse Peabody, Lewis Robinson, and George White. Together this small group of artisan-entrepreneurs and their associates provided the printed material that served the widespread and growing interest amongst their neighbors in rural New England.

About the Museum
Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington, in The Shires of Vermont. The Museum is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm June through October (closed July 4). It is wheelchair accessible. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Admission is never charged for younger students, museum members, or to visit the museum shop. Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.

Bennington Museum is a member of ArtCountry, a consortium of notable art and performance destinations in the scenic northern Berkshires of Massachusetts and southern Green Mountains of Vermont, including The Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art , Williamstown Theatre Festival (20 minutes away); and MASS MoCA (25minutes away). Visit ArtCountry.org for more information on these five great cultural centers.

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