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Grand Rapids Art Museum Marks 100th Anniversary with Exhibition Diana, A Celebration
Wedding gown.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI.- The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) presents the Diana - A Celebration exhibition as part of its 100th Anniversary celebration. The exhibition will be open until Feb. 16, 2011.

Established in 1910 by a City Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Grand Rapids Art Museum has served the region by presenting original, authentic works of art. Past GRAM exhibitions have included Sculpture Off The Pedestal, Perugino, Master of the Italian Renaissance and Mathias Alten: Journey of An American Painter. In 2009, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the installation of La Grande Vitesse in downtown Grand Rapids, GRAM opened the Calder in the Collection exhibition to display the museum’s permanent and pledged collection of Calder works.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate our past heritage and the contributions of the many important women to GRAM’s history than an exhibition that celebrates the life of Princess Diana, one of the most influential women of our time,” said Pamella DeVos, GRAM honorary life trustee. “This compelling exhibition is also a wonderful way to attract women of all ages who might lead our museum for the next 100 years.”

More than a decade after her death, Princess Diana’s memory still stirs interest and emotion. The exhibition Diana – A Celebration presents the life and humanitarian work of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women through nine galleries containing 150 objects-ranging from her royal wedding gown and 28 of her designer dresses to family heirlooms, personal mementoes, paintings and rare home movies and photos. The exhibition is on loan from the Althorp Estate, the Spencer family’s 500-year-old ancestral home.

The exhibition showcases the life and work of one of the most remarkable women of her time – certainly one of the most photographed, with over one billion television viewers who watched the 1981 Royal Wedding. Her charm, beauty and easy grace touched people worldwide during her short and complex life.

A series of 150 stunning objects chronicle her life and invite the visitor to share the milestones of her many roles: as a youngster, schoolgirl and athlete; as the shy kindergarten teacher who captured the heart of the Prince and the public; as the young, ravishing royal bride; as the devoted mother, sister and daughter; and as the tireless charity advocate and spokeswoman. The strength of the Spencer women and their roots in the bucolic 500-year-old Althorp Estate form the backdrop for Diana’s formative years.

Also featured in the exhibition are portraits of her ancestors, family jewels, heirlooms, paintings, artifacts and photos, which provide the historical context. Home movies filmed by her father and scenes from her childhood, her engagement to Prince Charles and the events leading up to the Royal Wedding are remembered and animated with video clips, personal possessions, photos, displays and letters. The glorious Royal Wedding features her resplendent gown, diamond tiara, veil and 25 ft. train, shoes and parasol, her bridesmaid’s dress among other items.

One entire section is devoted to her energetic and multi-faceted public life and the myriad of charities and causes, including her pioneering efforts in AIDS, the homeless and landmines. A three-screened video presentation highlights the hundreds of associations that continue to benefit from her patronage and energetic dedication. The world’s grief at her untimely death is dealt with sensitively, in a display of books of condolence and space for reflection and remembrance.

A few of the many dazzling items on display include:

• More than 20 dresses, suits and evening gowns worn by the Princess during her public life, accompanied by photos and designer details from the event at which the outfits were worn.
• Two diamond tiaras and other priceless family jewels.
• The original text of the Earl Spencer’s moving tribute to his sister at the funeral in Westminster Abbey.
• The score and lyrics of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition, adapted from “Candle in the Wind.”
• Original heritage family paintings.
• Diana’s magnificent Royal Wedding gown (as described above).

The Grand Rapids Art Museum | Pamella DeVos | Princess Diana |


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