Robert F. Smith, the assistant dean for humanities and social sciences at Northampton Community College, will discuss his book "Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation in the American Revolution"
The Society of the Cincinnati is for descendants of Continental officers who fought in the Revolutionary War (one member named that town in Ohio). You'll start a self-guided tour here with changing and permanent exhibits about the war, including dioramas of two battles. But the museum is as much a monument to the taste of Isabel and Larz Anderson, the wealthy eccentrics who left their Renaissance Revival house and most of its original art and furnishings to the Society after Larz's death in 1937. Isabel, in the guise of an allegorical figure, still looks down from many murals in the house depicting moments from the history of the Society and the United States. In fact, by the time you reach the French Drawing Room upstairs its Versailles-like decor is a jarring transition from the rest of the house you've left the Revolution behind. Twenty-three karat gold leaf covers raised plasterwork on the walls and ceiling. Next, you enter the English Drawing Room, with British portraits and the gold leaf, but without the French Regency furniture. Nearby is Olmsted Gallery, with its elaborately designed marble floors and display of Asian and Italian art. Ultimately, you end in the Winter Garden, a glassed-in room overlooking a reflecting pool outside, but only after passing through the Ballroom, where the museum hosts two free concert series each year. The museum offers docent-led tours for groups of 15 or more, but arrangements must be made at least a month in advance. The house serves as the Society's headquarters; a library, also open to the public by appointment, contains books and documents relating to the war and the organization. -- Margaret Hutton
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