Rethinking Legacy and Memory

For the first time, students in the Museum Studies and the Exhibition Design program in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design have collaborated on an original exhibition, Rethinking Legacy and Memory: Behind the Image of Ulysses S. Grant. The titles of “General” and “President” have dominated the history of Ulysses S. Grant. However, these heroic labels leave facets of his life unexplored. By examining the private collection donated to George Washington University by his grandson, Ulysses S. Grant III, this exhibit illuminates Grant’s life inside and outside the public eye, and in the spaces in between. It was curated by students in Curatorial Research and Practice (CMST 6301) and Exhibition Development (CMST 6304) and designed by the Exhibition Design Studio 2 class (CEX 6020).

The exhibition is based on a 1950 donation to GW by Ulysses S. Grant III of materials related to his grandfather, President Ulysses S. Grant. Collected objects and materials gathered by the Grant family include an original painting by Grant, personal objects and furnishings, photographs, published materials from nineteenth-century periodicals, and a scrapbook of materials including Harper’s Weekly and Daily Graphic illustrated pages featuring Grant. Much of the collection has never been exhibited before. This exhibition has been curated and developed by the Museum Studies students across the 2022-2023 academic year, an enriching experience for these passionate students led by Associate Professor Laura Schiavo in Museum Studies and Melissa Van Ostenbridge, Instructor in Exhibition Design.

Rethinking Legacy and Memory: Behind the Image of Ulysses S. Grant opens to the public in the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery on May 1, 2023, and continues through May 19, 2023, with scheduled viewing hours from 1 PM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Saturday. The exhibition is produced in conjunction with the NEXT Festival, an end-of-year thesis and capstone show held every Spring featuring Corcoran student work in celebration of contemporary art and scholarship. NEXT provides the opportunity to commemorate the dedication of Corcoran students to their craft. Ranging in the form of research papers, photo essays, films, performances, or paintings.

The Rethinking Legacy and Memory: Behind the Image of Ulysses S. Grant exhibition is free and open to the public. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery is located in the Corcoran Flagg Building, at 500 17th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. This facility is wheelchair accessible on the 17th Street side of the building. If you have any questions, please call the main office at 202-994-1700 during business hours.

Image: E. N. Doubleday, Interior of Grant Cottage, Mount McGregor (Bedroom), Albumen Print. Gift of Ulysses S. Grant III, 1950 (USG76).


View the Exhibition Works Online