Concord Museum to Present Henry David Thoreau Exhibit
The bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau's birth will culminate with the opening of the most comprehensive exhibition ever created about one of the world's most original writers and thinkers - This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, opens on Friday, September 29, 2017 and runs through January 21, 2018 at the Concord Museum.
This Ever New Self brings together remarkable holdings from the world's two most significant Thoreau collections: journals, manuscripts, letters, books, and field notes from the Morgan Library & Museum; and, from the Concord Museum, unique personal items including the simple green desk on which Thoreau wrote Walden and "Civil Disobedience."
Margaret Burke, Executive Director of the Concord Museum, explained, "Fresh from its extraordinary success at New York's Morgan Library & Museum, This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal is one of the most important exhibits the Concord Museum has had the privilege to present. We are excited to reunite - in his hometown - Henry David Thoreau's personal items and journals. Nearly two centuries after Thoreau's birth, we are just beginning to appreciate the enormous impact he has had on our culture, our thinking, and our appreciation of our world. We are proud to share those insights with the people of Concord and with admirers from around the world."
Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum, commented, "The Morgan is pleased to partner with the Concord Museum in bringing this extraordinary exhibition to the publiC. Henry David Thoreau has variously been cast as naturalist, hermit philosopher, and political activist. However, none of these labels do justice to the breadth of his interests and his enormous impact on American culture and letters. It is perhaps only in his journal that one finds Thoreau in full voice, commenting thoughtfully on a range of topics, from the seemingly mundane to the historic events of his day."
This Ever New Self features nearly one hundred items and unites for the first time the only two photographs for which Thoreau sat during this lifetime. The show centers on the journal Thoreau kept throughout his life and its importance in understanding the essential Thoreau. More than twenty of Thoreau's journal notebooks are shown along with letters and manuscripts, books from his library, pressed plants from his herbarium, and important personal artifacts like his walking stick.
The Concord Museum Curator David Wood, explained, "It is a wonderful highlight of the bicentennial to have Henry D. Thoreau, Courtesy of the Thoreau Society Collections at the Walden Woods' Project's Thoreau Institute.
Thoreau's journal back in Concord for the first time in more than a century. I am one of the many who believe that the place to find the real historical Thoreau is in his journal, and this exhibition is the first ever to successfully view it in that light."
Every private journal tells the story of self. For his entire adult life, Thoreau filled notebook after notebook with his observations and reflections, strong in the belief that a closely examined life would yield infinite riches. His journal was his everyday companion, an essential tool for a mindful existence, and grist for Walden. The exhibition takes Thoreau's manuscript journal as a point of departure to introduce the many facets of this extraordinary man - the student, reader, writer, worker, thinker, Concord neighbor, and above all, keen observer of the inner and outer world. It reveals how Thoreau used his journal as a place to cultivate - and constantly renew - his very self.