I'm determined to branch out more this fall in my artistic tastes, which tend to run toward food, visual arts, fashion, theater and performing arts, and less toward film and classical music. So in this column, I'm going to be offering some ideas for other artistic souls who want to try something new, or very old in today's case.
I'm a fan of the Charleston Museum because I have been lucky enough to stand in its back room and see how many objects Charleston families have given since it was founded in 1773 (we do worship our ancestors here). So whenever I see that the museum has created an exhibit from its collection, I try to get over there.
It has a particularly strong silver collection, and the textiles are in remarkable shape for their age. The exhibition "Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War" has been extended to Oct. 30 because it has been so popular.
It commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and gives a glimpse into the lives of those on the home front and frontline soldiers through their clothing and items. It includes women's, men's and children's clothing, uniforms and accessories, flags, quilts and coverlets, along with period magazines, newspapers, daguerreotypes and diaries that give a snapshot into the war years.
Something fun to do
It also has a collection of period-style clothing (I say "period style" because very few 21st-century men and women could fit into the tiny bodices and uniforms) that you can change into and get your photo made. If you have any curiosity about what you might have looked like on old tintype photos, this a way to experience history.
Go get your picture taken or have the museum photographer do it. You also can post it on the museum's website.
Curator-led tours are at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays and are free with museum admission.
As a separate but smaller collection, it is exhibiting "Preciousness Preserved: Jewelry From the Charleston Museum's Collections From Antiquity to Today."
While the name is a mouthful, this showcases some of the finest jewelry from the museum's collection. Since Charlestonians always have been well-traveled, this exhibit includes pieces from around the world that date from 500 B.C. to the mid-20th century. Jewelry collections on exhibit include men's accessories, mourning and hairwork pieces.
Visitors also can view natural jewelry incorporating jet, corals, pearls and lava rocks. And finally, a display of gemstone jewelry will feature amethysts, garnets, diamonds and pastes (faceted high-content leaded glass that closely imitated diamonds). That curator-led tour is on Wednesday.
Admission is $10/adults and $5/children. The Charleston Museum is at 360 Meeting St. Call 722-2996 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
On a more serious note
I'm also in the mood for something optimistic, but that at the same time talks about survival. Southern Circuit: Tour of Independent Filmmakers is screening "Surviving Hitler: A Love Story" on Friday. It is a documentary that focuses on Jutta, a teenager in Nazi Germany who is shocked to discover she is Jewish. She has a crush on a young officer on her father's staff. Eventually, the whole family joins the failed plot to kill Hitler, is arrested and sent to concentration camps.
What I find fascinating about this is that the family was in love with photographing themselves -- they had the camcorder impulse of their day -- before they were arrested, and the film incorporates the 8mm film and still images.
It also shows some of the few color images of Hitler. The clips on YouTube remind me of recent videos I've seen of families, proving that even their films can document a slice of history.
It's free, my favorite price, as a friend of mine likes to say. The screening is 8 p.m. Friday at the Simons Center Recital Hall, St. Philip Street, at the College of Charleston.