jpeg exhibit posterThe Knowing Hands that Carve This Stone:       The New Deal Art of Lenore Thomas Straus Opening June 6, 2015

The next museum exhibition, The Knowing Hands That Carve This Stone: The New Deal Art of Lenore Thomas Straus,  will open to the public on Saturday, June 6, 2015 in the Museum’s gallery in the Greenbelt Community Center.  The artist was a young woman, only in her twenties, when she carved several landmark works in Greenbelt, Maryland for the Resettlement Administration in the late 1930s. These sculptures include the seminal pieces “Mother & Child” (c.1939), which is the centerpiece of Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center, a series of bas reliefs (c.1936-1937) depicting the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution, which were carved in place on the front of the Community Center (formerly Center School), and the Woman sculpture, on the grounds of the building. In addition to these works, Straus carved pieces for other New Deal era housing projects including a large scale frog for the playground of Langston Terrace, an apartment complex in D.C. and the Sewing Woman, a stone sculpture for the Jersey Homesteads in New Jersey.

A large portion of her work was completed at her home and studio in Accokeek, Maryland where she and her husband, Robert Straus, lived for several decades and where they became friends with Alice and Henry Ferguson. “Although Thomas Straus was an accomplished artist,” says Megan Searing Young, Director of the Greenbelt Museum and curator of the upcoming exhibition, “she has not yet been studied extensively. This exhibition and its accompanying programming will identify and promote her work, provide new insights into her life and connections with both Greenbelt and Accokeek, and offer an opportunity for those interested in local history, WPA and New Deal art, as well as women artists, to learn more about her and the New Deal era in which she thrived.”

The exhibit will include photographs of the artist and her work, documents from the Resettlement Administration, examples of her sculpture and much more. Interactive children’s elements will include a dress up station where children can don overalls and goggles, just as the artist did and children will have an opportunity to design their own bas reliefs depicting the constitution on paper.

The exhibition is supported by the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, The City of Greenbelt, Prince George’s County Council member Todd M. Turner, 4th District, the Estate of Sue Hoya Sellars, and the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum.


Hands On Exhibit for Kids in the Museum’s Historic House

Come see our newest exhibit – a completely hands-on, “please touch” area in the Museum’s historic house. The children’s bedroom at 10B Crescent Road, one of the original townhomes built in Greenbelt in 1937, features games, toys, and a Rosie the Riveter photo op!  Our intern, Allison Hartley, who is training to become a museum educator,  has designed the exhibit as well as a kids activity booklet to accompany tours of the museum house. Download and print it here Greenbelt Museum Kids Activity Guide or pick one up when you visit. Once completed (based on the child’s age), kids can become a member of the Greenbelt History Explorers!

Greenbelt: The First 75 Years, 1937-2012 – CLOSING APRIL 24, 2015

Exhibition poster designed by Nora Simon

The new exhibition, Greenbelt: The First 75 Years 1937-2012, examines Greenbelt’s history in timeline form and features photographs, ephemera, and artifacts from Greenbelt’s 75 year history.  Through an interactive feature in the exhibition, Greenbelters are invited to share important dates and moments in their own lives – so bring copies of photos to leave at the exhibition, or jot down favorite memories of Greenbelt experiences while you’re there.  The exhibit, which opened Friday, August 31, is supported by the Greenbelt Community Foundation, MarylandMilestones/ATHA,  the City of Greenbelt, the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum and the 75th Anniversary Committee. The exhibit is installed in the Museum gallery in the Community Center which is open Monday-Saturday  from 9am-10pm, and Sundays 9am-7pm and is free and open to the public.


Green from the Start: A History of Gardening in Greenbelt, August 2010 to August 2012

Exhibition poster. Graphic design by Joe Parisi incorporating original art by Hubert Morley (WPA artist) and Dan Kennedy (Greenbelt artist). This poster now for sale in our gift shop!

This fun and colorful exhibition explores the many ways that Greenbelt has been “green” from the start. Greenbelt, Maryland’s history has always been intertwined with gardening. Although the town was built by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Resettlement Administration in the midst of the Great Depression, it incorporates many of the ideals of the “garden city” movement promoted in the United Kingdom at the turn of the century.  Allotment plots to be used by resident families were included in the original design of the town which allowed these families to grow their own vegetables in dire economic times. During WWII these plots were used by many residents as victory gardens, as it was patriotic to grow one’s own food, allowing more commercially produced food to be sent to soldiers here and abroad. The 1950s witnessed a renewed interest in all things domestic including an emphasis on homemaking and both vegetable and flower gardening. An interest in natural foods and organic gardening blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s and continues to grow, as do movements focused on “slow food” and eating locally produced foods. Today, in Greenbelt, active community gardens, a thriving farmer’s market, and interest in healthy and sustainable foods at the town’s historic cooperative grocery store reveal that interest in gardening is only growing stronger.

Demonstration Victory Garden on grounds of Museum’s historic house at 10B Crescent Road, Greenbelt MD 20770

The museum plans to hold lectures, seed/plant exchanges,  canning demonstrations, and other events in conjunction with this exhibition in all areas of Greenbelt including Greenbelt East and Greenbelt West. Additionally, in spring 2010, the museum established a small demonstration Victory Garden on the grounds of the museum’s historic 1937 house which local school children will visit and hopefully help to maintain. This garden will also be a stop on a walking tour that departs from the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

The Green from the Start exhibition  is sponsored by Prince George’s County Council member for the 4th District Ingrid Turner, the Greenbelt Community Foundation, the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum and the City of Greenbelt.   For more information, email the Museum Director at greenbeltmuseum@gmail.com or give us a call at 301-507-6582.  Normal hours for the exhibition are Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 10:00pm and on Sundays from 9:00am-7:00pm.

Sublime on a Dime: Fashions from the Great Depression to WWII

Accessories on display

This exhibition by the Greenbelt Museum explored fashion and its interpretation by women during the Great Depression and World War II. Visitors learned about home sewing, the influence of Hollywood, the importance of accessories and ensembles, WWII and rationing, leisurewear, and children’s clothes. Three-dimensional artifacts from the museum’s collection were on display, such as dresses, hats, purses, gloves, shoes, sewing implements, jewelry, and historic photographs that together illustrate how Greenbelt women adapted their existing clothing with an eye toward practicality as well as current fashion, creating a style all their own.