Exhibition turns back the clock in Kingston
"(Re) Presenting a Half Century" transforms
URI's Fine Arts Gallery into post-World War II classroom
KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 13, 1998 -- Now through December 13,
visitors to the University of Rhode Island's Kingston Campus may wonder
just where they are, in Kingston or Quonset, and just what year it is.
As part of a large-scale historical exhibition taking place at the URI
Fine Arts Center Galleries, alumni, students, friends of the University,
and history buffs will see items and even facilities that haven't been seen
in Kingston for well nigh 50 years.
From the re-built Quonset Hut in front of the Fine Arts Center courtesy
of Sea Bee Veterans of America, Inc. to the vintage materials presented
from various archives, the exhibition entitled "(Re) Presenting a Half
Century" has transformed the contemporary Main Gallery
space into a post-World War II, "G.I. Bill" composite classroom
and library setting.
Curated by URI's Fine Arts Center Gallery Director Judith Tolnick, the
exhibition is a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of URI's College of Arts
and Sciences. The Main Gallery exhibition, which runs through Dec. 13, is
complemented by the presentation of "The Late Forties in the USA: Recalling
the Popular Culture Scene" that is presented through Nov. 29 in the
An opening reception will be held on Monday, Oct. 19 from 57:30
p.m. and guided tours will be held on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 911
a.m. Free and open to the public, Main Gallery Hours are TuesdayFriday,
12 noon4 p.m. and 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 1 -
4 p.m., Corridor Gallery is open daily, 9 a.m.9 p.m.
The exhibition features an imaginary classroom setting representing most
of the academic disciplines which consolidated when Rhode Island State College's
"School of Science" became the "School of Arts and Sciences"
in 1948-with the momentous authorization of the Bachelor of Arts degree.
The library setting to be conjured by the exhibition is that of the former
library, Green Hall, particularly its once genteel reading room which flourished
as a centralized study and activity site in the academically turbulent late
"Visitors to the URI exhibition will encounter an important period
of cultural passage in our own regional past," said Tolnick. "The
exhibition will stimulate many memories-and facilitate a new generation's
understanding-of higher education and its ambiance fifty years ago."
The time frame represented in the URI exhibition, 1948, was unique nationally.
That year brought everything from the first computer by International Business
Machines (IBM) to combine electronic computation with stored instructions
to the first post-experimental television sets, tape recording systems,
and Polaroid Camera. The year also brought the premier of the Tucker '48
prototype Dream Car; the first Long Playing Record ( 33 1/3 rpm) from Columbia
Records, pulication of "The Kinsey Report" Sexual Behavior
in the Human Male; and the infectious disease fighter Penicillin for
routine medical usage.
The exhibit showcases a range of instructional materials, equipment and
furniture still in the possession of University departments from the ca.
1948-1951 years such as vintage microscopes, film strip and film equipment,
pull down charts and maps, and many rare and intriguing scientific devices
on temporary loan from many current University departments.
A series of text panels examine the significant forces that led to the
1948 approval of a Bachelor of Arts degree from the university, and which
proved to be the penultimate step in securing University status. An illustrated
booklet accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition also features a videotape program based upon oral histories
of University alumni/ae and educators from the period 1948-51. Those interviewed
are: Roswell S. Bosworth '49, of Bristol who was managing
editor, of the Beacon in 1948, and now is editor of East Bay Newspapers;
William A. Curran '48 an attorney and his wife Margaret Curran
'49 of Saunderstown, who was one of the University's first B.A.
degree recipients; Professor Emeritus William Ferrante, of Saunderstown,
who earned his B.S., Mechanical Engineering in 1949 from URI and began teaching
at URI in 1956; Roger Lavallee '48 of Cumberland, Science
& Liberal Studies; Professor Emeritus Robert Lepper, of Kingston,
former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and botany professor; History
Professor Emeritus William D. Metz, of Kingston; English Professor
Emerita Nancy Potter, LHD '67 of West Kingston, who currently
serves on College's Advisory Council; and Edward Philip Smith of
Providence, who was 1948 Debate Team head.
The exhibition was generously supported by the Office of the Dean, College
of Arts and Sciences.
For further information contact: Jhodi Redlich, 874-2116