St. Thomas to host 'Victorian Home' symposium, exhibit next month

A 19th-century copper kettle is among the objects on display in "Life Through the Magic Lantern" April 4-May 17 at St. Thomas. The exhibit opens with a companion symposium on "The Victorian Home" at 1 p.m. April 4.

St. Thomas to host 'Victorian Home' symposium, exhibit next month

A symposium and exhibit next month at the University of St. Thomas will illuminate the world of the Victorians.

The Art History and English departments of the university's College of Arts and Sciences will host the symposium, "The Victorian Home," exploring the visual arts, literature, popular culture and other "psychic architecture" of the era, from 1 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, in the university's O'Shaughnessy Educational Center.

Plenary sessions, to be delivered in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium, will include a 1 p.m. opening address, "Comfort or Chaos? Beauty or Ostentation? The Art of the Victorian Home," by Dr. Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History at the University of Virginia, and a 6 p.m. presentation, "Remodeling Psychic Architecture in Victorian Literature and Culture," by Dr. Kris Deffenbacher, associate professor of English at Hamline University.

Concurrent panels between 2:30 and 6 p.m. will cover a variety of topics, including Victorian designs, fiction, changes at home and abroad, domesticity and popular print culture, and health and household management. Victorian lovers will revel in presentations from "Deck-orating: Tarot's Influence on Victorian Life and Literature" to "Biddy's Blunders," a session on disobedient domestic servants, and "How Victorian Corset Styles Affected Women's Health."

The day concludes with a 7:15 p.m. introduction to the symposium's companion exhibit, "Life Through the Magic Lantern: The Victorian Home," by the university's chief curator, Dr. Michelle Nordtorp-Madson, of the St. Thomas Art History Department. She and guest curator Kate McCreight, a 2007 graduate of St. Thomas' Master of Arts in Art History program, are co-curators of the exhibit.

"Life Through the Magic Lantern" opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. that evening and runs through May 17 in the Lobby Gallery of O'Shaughnessy Educational Center.

The exhibition includes more than 50 objects, photographs and prints from the Victorian age (1837-1901) in America: clothing (a wedding dress, a christening dress and a mourning dress), hair art, magazines and books, medical equipment, children's items and more.

The symposium, exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays.

To register in advance for the symposium or for further information, call (651) 962-5560. Registration also is available at the door.