WASHINGTON, DC – The DAR Museum explores early American life through the timeless temptations of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. The exhibition, “Seven Deadly Sins: Fables and Early-American Temptations,” which runs from April 3 through August 15, 2009, illustrates each of the seven deadly sins using Aesop’s fables and objects from the DAR Museum’s collection.
The result is a lighted-hearted look at early American culture and its indulgences, pitfalls and displays of wealth. Included in the exhibition are 18th- and 19th-century currency, sumptuous furniture and beautiful clothing, all temptations that remain familiar today.
Envy, for example, compares silver, gold and mahogany luxury goods with the less expensive substitutes most people would have used. Among the enviable objects are pieces from a silver tea service crafted by Revolutionary statesman Paul Revere.
In addition to a display of early American currency, Greed depicts everything necessary for a good game of cards and money scales to cut wins and losses, as well as a collection of silk miser’s purses for those less inclined to spend.
Sloth depicts the universal temptation to lounge the day away on a comfy sofa. Sure to inspire sympathy in visitors are examples of homework and craft projects left unfinished since the 19th century.
As well as offering a family-friendly look at interesting details of early American life, this unique exhibition provides an opportunity to see a broad sample of the DAR Museum’s collection. Objects displayed include examples of the museum’s premier quilt and silver collections and more unusual objects such as rifles, cane swords, a child’s school slate, and a rare Aesop’s Fables book from 1884.
The exhibit includes hands-on activities and a reading area with fables and fairy tales for children. After viewing “Seven Deadly Sins” in the DAR Museum gallery, visitors are welcome to explore the 31 Period Rooms for more portrayals of American life from the colonial era to 1940.
The DAR Museum collection features more than 30,000 examples of decorative and fine arts, including objects made or used in America prior to the Industrial Revolution. Furniture, silver, paintings, ceramics and textiles, such as quilts and costumes, are exhibited in 31 period rooms and two galleries. The main gallery features changing exhibitions and displays of selected quilts, coverlets and samplers. The DAR Museum Shop offers a variety of unique gifts and books. The DAR Museum, located at 1776 D Street NW, is free to the public and open 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday and 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Docent tours of the period rooms are offered from 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Monday - Friday and 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday. The DAR Museum is closed Sundays, Federal holidays, and for one week during the DAR annual meeting in July. For information on the DAR Museum, visit www.dar.org/museum or call (202) 879-3241 to schedule a group tour.