Columbus Museum celebrates new exhibit with November events

"Two Republics" is the Columbus Museum's first exhibit of Old Masters paintings in decades and its first exhibit to emphasize Dutch painting -- ever -- and, to celebrate, the museum has programmed a month of activities.

"Two Republics," which opened recently at the museum, compares 17th century Dutch and 19th century American art in order to better illustrate the rise of the "common man," or middle class, in both societies. That has particular relevance in the Chattahoochee Valley as well.

"We are an American art and regional history museum and it's important to tell the public what that means and what American art means and what it means to be part of the Chattahoochee Valley," said Kristen Miller Zohn, director of collections and exhibitions.

The schedule of events begins on Saturday with the "Afternoon in Amsterdam" from 2 to 5 p.m. It is organized by the museum's new teen advisory group and will include trivia and an Instagram photo booth.

The month will also include a Lunch & Lecture entitled "Ruffles & Ruffs," to be given by Zohn on Nov. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. Then, on Nov. 20, the museum's "Third Thursday" event from 6 to 8 p.m. will include, among other things, English country dancing. Don't worry: If you don't know how, instructors will be on hand to teach you.

Zohn said something like "Two Republics," a wholesale comparison between 17th century Dutch and 19th century American art, has never been mounted.

But Zohn said that museum members have long asked for more Dutch masters, which typically fell outside of the museum's regional and national scope -- until now.

"I finally discovered this way to actually do what people had been requesting," she said.

Zohn said she has a personal love for that period in art history, and so was doubly happy the exhibit worked out.

She said "Two Republics" has been arranged not only by era, but also by subject matter: adults by adults, still lifes by still lifes and so on.

"I wanted our visitors to kind of get it on a subliminal level as well," she said.

The total effect of the exhibit and its related programming, Zohn said, is not just a look at the past.

"In doing that," she said, "it deepens the story of who we are as Americans."