A new exhibit featuring hand-drawn bird’s-eye views of Pennsylvania cities and towns will open Saturday, November 18 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. A special exhibit preview is offered Friday, November 17 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM for participants in 3rd in the Burg, Harrisburg’s monthly celebration of art and culture. Admission to the preview is free.
Every Thing of Interest Shown: T.M. Fowler’s Pennsylvania Bird’s-Eye Views, 1885-1905 will showcase roughly 30 panoramic bird’s-eye views, or maps, of Pennsylvania communities as they appeared during the late 19th century.
During the span of his nearly 50-year career, Thaddeus Mortimer “T.M.” Fowler produced more than 400 panoramic maps of American cities and towns – more than that of any other American view maker. Of that total, more than half were of Pennsylvania communities. Pennsylvania has more bird’s-eye views than any other state.
The new exhibit features a sampling of Fowler’s lithographic prints preserved within the Fine Arts collection of The State Museum and the Pennsylvania State Archives.
The exhibit also includes a touch-screen kiosk for visitors to access a visual database of the roughly 200 bird’s-eye views of Pennsylvania communities created by Fowler. This interactive component allows visitors to search by town name and location.
Fowler was known for the accuracy of his depictions. Although he created these artistic bird’s-eye views from ground-level surveys, the works appear as if they were sketched from thousands of feet high. The new exhibit is organized by geographic region, mirroring Fowler’s trips across the commonwealth during his most prolific 20-year period, when the Massachusetts native made his home in Morrisville, Bucks County.
The exhibit, located on the first floor of The State Museum, will close Sunday, May 6, 2018.
This new exhibit presents an opportunity for The State Museum to display more items from its extensive collections, specifically those holdings inventoried as part of the Collections Advancement Project (CAP).
In early 2012, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) launched CAP, a program designed to inventory and catalog its vast and significant holdings of art and artifacts. These efforts are resulting in better stewardship of museum collections representing Pennsylvania arts, culture, history, sciences, business, and agriculture.
The Pennsylvania State Archives has made many of Fowler’s bird’s-eye views available online at https://phmc.info/FowlerMaps.
The Pennsylvania State Archives, part of PHMC, collects, preserves, and makes available for study permanently valuable public records, with particular attention given to the records of state government. It also collects papers of private citizens and organizations relevant to Pennsylvania history.
The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 24 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania’s fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary eras, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth’s vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s story is America’s story.
MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639
Pennsylvania counties represented within Every Thing of Interest Shown: T.M. Fowler’s Pennsylvania Bird’s-Eye Views, 1885-1905: