Portals continues at Providence Public Library

Providence Public Library Announces PORTALS: The History of the Future Exhibition & Program Series

The PORTALS Exhibition officially opens March 3, will run through June 28
– Providence Public Library’s (PPL) PORTALS: The History of the Future, which kicked off in February with a variety of experiential and learning opportunities for all ages, will continue through June.  Meanwhile, the Library’s 2016 Exhibition will officially open March 3, highlighting the material trails left by the people of the past as they looked to the future.  It will include imaginative visions of futures that never came to pass, illustrations of fantastical contraptions, reflections on the nature of time, and other artifacts testifying to a human desire to visit eras besides our own.
PORTALS: The History of the Future is PPL’s second annual Exhibition & Program Series. “As we began with DON’T STOP THE MUSIC in 2015, we seek to engage the community in a multi-faceted conversation inspired by history and our collections. In addition to an exhibition featuring PPL’s unique collections, along with contributions and program offerings by many partner organizations, our goal with this library/community-wide experience is to provide a broad range of interactive and creative learning opportunities for all ages,” said Library Director Jack Martin.
The dream of time travel has fascinated humans for centuries. Facing the future, it engenders both hope and fear about our imagined outcomes; facing the past, it provokes curiosity (and sometimes scorn) toward people who lived and thought in ways that now seem alien. The notion of time itself, which seems so natural and linear, was challenged a century ago by the publication of Einstein’s theories of relativity. Meanwhile the technological optimism of the early 20th century, culminating in the 1939 World’s Fair, was pushing Americans to dream of the “World of Tomorrow” even as they were climbing out of the Great Depression. 
Through the PORTALS exhibition, interactive program experiences and more, we’ll be studying the imagined futures of generations past while offering opportunities for all ages to explore current visions for the future. From technology to fashion, we’ll present how people of the past looked into the future (and what they saw). And, we’ll invite today’s visionaries to think ahead and even do their own experimentation.
Portals: The History of the Future is sponsored by Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Nordstrom. Exhibition and programming partners include: RIMOSA, RISD Continuing Education, Cable Car Cinema & Café, Community MusicWorks, Design Agency, Ladd Observatory, The Providence Athenaeum, The John Hay Library at Brown University, University of Rhode Island 4-H Spin Club, The Met School, Nordstrom Visual Merchandising Team, Providence Community Libraries, and this year’s Creative Fellow Walker Mettling.
Visitors to the exhibition can view popular scientific magazines from the 1800s, a first edition of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (on loan from Brown University’s John Hay Library), a magicians’ supply catalog, a 1936 pulp science fiction magazine containing a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and plans for Utopian communities, among many other historical items. The exhibit will run through June 30, followed by a month-long exhibition of creations by people throughout the program series. 
Creative Fellowship and Inspired Creations (On Exhibit in July)

The annual Special Collections Creative Fellowship is awarded to an artist, musician, designer or performer, and provides funding for active research in PPL’s unique, historical Special Collections, as well as the creation of a new creative, social or scholarly product that contributes to the intellectual life of the Library and the vibrancy of our annual exhibition and program series. In 2016, Walker Mettling, a local artist and member of the Providence Comics Consortium, will use inspiration from Special Collections materials to produce comics and illustrations related to the exhibition’s futurism theme and curate an exhibit-related project involving other local artists and designers.
In addition, the Library has mounted a web site devoted to PORTALS at portals.provlib.org. Detailed program information, as well as continuing additions and updates on happenings and creations, can be found here throughout the six-month exhibition and program events.
Visitors can view the exhibition on display in the Providence Journal Rhode Island Room on the first floor of the Library from March 3 – July 30.  The primary exhibition will end June 28 and artist creations will be on exhibit through July 30.  It can be viewed any time during the Library’s regular open hours.
For complete details and updates visit PORTALS.PROVLIB.ORG

Find a continually updated listing of programs and events, projects and other developments, including classes/workshops for all ages, lectures, and a film series at portals.provlib.org.

(release from Providence Public Library)