While the word drinking describes an act of consumption, a biological necessity for all and a pastime for many, imbibe is a word that invites us into the complex social, physical, and aesthetic experience of consumption. Drinks whether water, alcohol, coffee, or teaare consumed not only to sustain life, but to reinforce social status, promote camaraderie, ease inhibitions, or simply pass the time.
From carafes and bowls to cups and bottles, Imbibe offers visitors a fresh perspective on drinking vessels from many different cultures. Used for drinking or for serving, these museum collection objects were designed to give the liquids inside them shape, color, and even feel and flavor as they keep drinks warm or chilled. A tightly woven beer basket communicates as much about the technologies of carrying, storing and serving liquids as a delicately blown wine glass or a cast metal pitcher. The contours of a pouring spout change the stream of liquid in ways that are both practical and beautiful.
Alongside these drinking vessels, Imbibe also showcases historical and cultural materials that illuminate the social experiences of drinking, from treatises on the properties of mineral water, to temperance tracts and objects that embody traditional practices of sharing coffee, tea or kava. Strictures, traditions, expectations and the sensual and social pleasures of imbibing are all on display in this exhibit about how people shape their drinks, from inception to consumption.
An exciting schedule of programs and events accompanies the exhibitions featured at the Museum this spring including a festive opening reception hosted by UVM President Thomas Sullivan and Fleming
Director Janie Cohen on Wednesday, February 8, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.