DC Landmarks and Civil War Era Music Explored in New Exhibitions at the George Washington University Museum

‘Best Laid Plans’ and ‘Songs of the Civil War' Open June 15

June 15, 2019

Historical print showing Capitol building

Amelia Thompson: [email protected], 202-994-6460
Maralee Csellar: [email protected], 202-994-6460

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2019)—The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum will open two exhibitions on Saturday highlighting historical moments for the country and the Washington, D.C., area. “Best Laid Plans: Designs for Capital City” juxtaposes unrealized plans for D.C. landmarks with reality. “Songs of the Civil War” highlights some of the stories, heroes and tragedies of the Civil War through popular battlefield music of the day. The exhibitions—organized in collaboration with the museum’s Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies—are on view through December 22.

“Best Laid Plans: Designs for a Capital City”
Every landmark in Washington has a story. “Best Laid Plans” showcases unrealized designs for the Washington Monument, Arlington Memorial Bridge and U.S. Capitol Building through historical prints and paintings from the museum’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection.

“Best Laid Plans” also will revisit artist Peter Waddell’s Washington paintings that were unveiled last fall in the exhibition “Eye of the Bird: Visions and Views of D.C.’s Past.” Waddell’s oil paintings, “The Indispensable Plan” and “The Village Monumental,” are panoramic landscapes that contrast D.C. as planner Pierre L’Enfant envisioned it in 1791 with the city’s actual development in 1825, the year of Mr. L’Enfant’s death. Mr. Waddell will give a free talk at the museum on July 15.

“Songs of the Civil War”
During the Civil War, music had the power to inspire patriotism and service, and to capture loss on the battlefield. Both Union and Confederate armies employed professional bands, and civilians sang patriotic tunes at rallies. “Songs of the Civil War” draws from historical sheet music in the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection to explore the emotions and experiences of a nation divided by war.

Listening stations in the galleries will feature new recordings by Washington Revels Heritage Voices, and the museum will host the group for a performance and sing a long on July 27.

Visit the museum’s website for the latest information on exhibitions and educational programs: www.museum.gwu.edu.