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On Exhibit

June 2024
1min read

The United States Constitution is an ingenious compromise, a bulwark against tyranny, and a model for other nations to emulate. It’s also a piece of paper, and this role is the focus of Preserving Our Charters at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. (202-501-5000; www.nara.gov ). The exhibit shows how NARA conservators through the years have protected and defended the Constitution against heat, light, humidity, and other enemies. The exhibit will remain until July 4, 2001, after which the rotunda of the National Archives Building will close for renovations until 2003.

A pair of recently opened exhibits, one temporary and one permanent, explore the manifold connections among history, technology, and design. At New York City’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Aluminum by Design: Jewelry to Jets (through July 15) shows how that durable and lightweight metal has inspired makers of precision instruments and modernist furniture alike (212-849-8400; www.si.edu/ndm ). At Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Time displays roughly a third of the museum’s 1,500 clocks and watches, a collection formerly housed in a museum beneath a motel in Rockford, Illinois (773-684-1441 in the Chicago area, 800-468-6674 elsewhere; www.msichicago.org ).

For those untroubled by either embroidery’s kitschy reputation or the elaborate scholarly apparatus that has grown up around it in response, Painted With Thread: American Embroidery as Art, at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (through September 30), includes samplers, thread pictures, and decorated garments and furniture of wondrous beauty and complexity. These range from a wall hanging brought from England in 1628 and works created by sailors during long sea voyages to contemporary pieces by artists who have adapted a centuries-old medium to present-day sensibilities (978-745-9500; www.pem.org ).

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