Lew Wallace's fascinating and little-known avocation as inventor, innovator and naturalist will be the focus of this year's exhibit theme, Lew Wallace-Gentleman Scientist, opening Saturday in the Carriage House Interpretive Center of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum.
The museum staff has been busy selecting related artifacts, composing the narrative that will serve as label copy, fabricating vinyl panel reproductions of some of Wallace's patent drawings, and constructing hands-on activities that will appeal to children and adults alike."Just like last year's Wallace Women exhibit, we are designing the Gentleman Scientist exhibit in a way that visitors will be able to relate to Lew Wallace's lessons of innovation and conservation and apply them to their own experiences," said Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. "People will see Wallace's solutions to some of the problems of his day, and they'll be encouraged to test out their own."
Some of the interactive elements of this year's exhibit include a patent drawing station where children can design their own inventions and have them specially "patented" and displayed inside the Carriage House. "We have a special embosser that we'll use to certify visitors' drawings as 'official' Museum patents," said Catlin-Legutko.
For even younger visitors, the Gentleman Scientist exhibit will introduce a colorful component. Using Lego® blocks, children (and their parents) will be encouraged to copy Wallace's design of his unique Study building or to create a Study of their own. "Lew Wallace's Study reflects a design that is uniquely his, something that fulfilled all of his needs," Catlin-Legutko said. "We're excited to see what visitors can dream up for themselves."
Accompanying the Gentleman Scientist exhibit will be a full year of educational programming and community events that revolve around the theme. New this year are an architectural discovery walking tour and "Discovery Saturday," an assortment of hands-on education stations located throughout the Museum and grounds that illustrate lessons of innovation and the natural world.
In addition, the Museum's successful annual programs such as the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, the Artists in Residence Program and the Brown Bag Book Club will showcase themes that tie in to the exhibit.For members of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society, the Museum will host a special Sneak Preview Party on Friday at 5 p.m. Members will be able to take a first look at the Gentleman Scientist exhibit amid refreshments and camaraderie with the Staff and Trustees.Invitations to members were mailed last week. The public opening of the exhibit takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.