Thursday, March 22, 2012

Oshkosh Public Library presents: The Many Faces of George Washington

The Oshkosh Public Library is proud to present a national traveling exhibition and series of special events that examines the life of George Washington – as a farmer, a general, a visionary entrepreneur and our nation’s first president. The Many Faces of George Washington will be on display March 26-May 7, under the Dome at the library.

The road from Mount Vernon to Oshkosh was paved by Anne Neal Petri, Vice Regent for Wisconsin with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and wife of Congressman Tom Petri. She approached the library in late 2011 to discuss staging the exhibit’s first Wisconsin visit in Oshkosh. Mrs. Petri has a true passion for sharing Washington’s story and showcasing the character and leadership he embodied.

“Washington was our first national hero and his leadership was once our nation’s greatest resource,” she explains. “He should be relevant to each new generation because his most prominent character traits – strong moral values, undaunted courage, solid and consistent judgment, unabashed patriotism and his complete commitment to what was best for his country – never go out of style.”

The Many Faces of George Washington is a large panel display that depicts different aspects of Washington’s life through colorful graphics and photographs. The exhibit goes beyond common knowledge and delves deeper into the experiences, insights and spirit that make Washington such an enduring figure in our nation’s history. The exhibit was produced by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday, March 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. under the Dome at the Oshkosh Public Library. Special guests will include U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Congressman and Mrs. Petri, along with state and local leaders. The Friends of the Oshkosh Public Library will provide refreshments. Music and other surprises will add to the colonial flavor of the event. The public is welcome.

As an institution that values preserving and sharing history, the library was honored to be selected as the site for the Washington exhibit.

“We all learned about Washington as children, but when you study his life in more detail, the significant contributions he made during the early days of the republic and as our country’s first president are phenomenal,” says Janice Dibble, the library’s Head of Reference & Adult Services. “It is very exciting to be chosen to share this exhibit with the community.”

To enhance the exhibit experience for visitors, several esteemed scholars, authors and presenters will offer fascinating perspectives on Washington’s life in a series of special programs. In addition, a week of children’s programs will bring colonial times to life for young visitors.

Mon., April 2, 4:30 p.m.
George Washington: A Great and Good Man
Dr. John Kaminski, director, The Center for the Study of the American Constitution, UW-Madison
George Washington was the glue that held the fragile, young American republic together, both in war and peace. He was also viewed as a good man who could be completely trusted in the leadership roles in which he served.

Tues., April 3, 7 p.m.
Stand Up and be Counted: The Federal Census from 1790 to 1940
Mara Munroe, Reference and Genealogy Librarian, Oshkosh Public Library
Learn the expanded uses of the census for genealogy and explore ways to find your ancestors through various indexing tools – just one day after the much-anticipated release of names and personal data of the 1940 census.

Wed., April 11, 6 p.m.  
Movie Night: The Crossing. Starring Jeff Daniels as General George Washington.

Thurs., April 12, 7 p.m.
What Was Washington Thinking? A Brief Tour of Washington's Mind from the French
and Indian War to his Retirement from the Presidency
Dr. Gabriel Loiacono, Assistant Professor of History, UW-Oshkosh
Trace the evolution of Washington’s mind - his concerns, hopes, and ideals - from his youth as an exceptionally tall and lucky young soldier, to his old age as the widely respected first President of the United States. 

Wed., April 18, 7 p.m.
Author visit: Carla Killough McClafferty, The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon.
Award-winning author McClafferty followed a team of historians and artists, who used everything from photos to 3-D skeletal models, to create three life-size statues of Washington as a young surveyor, the famous general and as the first president. Apple Blossom Books LLC will have the author’s books available for sale and signing at the event.

Sun., April 29, 2 p.m.
Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association: 150 Years of Restoring George Washington’s Home
Anne Neal Petri, Vice Regent-Wisconsin, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, offers the compelling story of the rescue and preservation of George Washington’s home by the vibrant organization of women that gave birth to America’s historic preservation movement.

April 9-13
Spring Break “Colonial Style”
Children’s programs at 2 p.m. daily bring Washington’s story to life. Dance the minuet, experience money mania, learn about Farmer George (with live animals) and try colonial crafts.

In addition to events at the Oshkosh Public Library, the Paine Art Center and Gardens will present colonial-themed family programs on March 24 and 31. Visit for information. For complete information about the George Washington exhibit and related events, visit

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