The first fall season of public programs at the Ransom Center started with a bang with the closing of the Ransom Center's first major exhibition, In A New Light. Its last day, September 7, coincided with Austin Museum Day, a city-wide event, and the Ransom Center featured such family activities as creating cyanotypes and book-making. Entertainment included poetry readings and performances by Austin magician Peter the Adequate, much of whose deft trickery was based on historical examples from the Ransom Center's magic holdings. At final count, a record 971 people visited that day. A similar agenda awaits visitors to Explore UT Day, coming this March 6.
In mid-October, Make It New: The Rise of Modernism programs began in earnest with the provocatively-titled "What Was Modernism (And Does It Still Matter)?" presented by the English Department's Dr. Brian Bremen. Dr. Linda Henderson of the Department of Art History offered "Modern Art in Context," the inaugural Amon Carter Foundation lecture, to a packed Prothro Theater. Several complementary programs followed, ranging on topics as varied as "Modern Death" (Dr. Alan Friedman), to "Ibsen, Brecht, and Beckett" (Dr. James Loehlin), complete with performed excerpts.
With the opening of Make It New, the Ransom Center launched its refurbished docent program. Managed and trained with assistance from graduate intern Tracy Fleischman, over 30 active docents, both community volunteers and graduate students, now work the Ransom Center's galleries, providing tours to visitors, answering questions, and helping to interpret exhibitions for public and private groups. More information about the docent program can be obtained from docents or by calling the Center.
A full slate of programs awaits visitors this spring as well. Among the most unusual offerings this season is the amazing film series entitled Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1893-1941. The series, which features remarkable seminal works by America's first filmmakers, will be screened at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown, Austin's highly regarded home of art cinema. A schedule of screenings can be found online at the Ransom Center's website.
Other highlights include the February 9 appearance of Dr. Phillip Bobbitt from the School of Law, who will present "Modernism: War and Peace" based on his most recent book, The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History. On April 1, look for National Geographic magazine's Senior Photographer Sam Abell, who will talk about "A Life in Photography." Please consult the calendar in this issue or on the Ransom Center's web page for details on these and other programs.