Art and Memory – Conference on Medals in Boston

October 18, 2018 – The Medal Collectors of America and the Massachusetts Historical Society have teamed up to organize an unprecedented conference on medals and medal collecting this fall in Boston. The theme, “Art and Memory: The Role of Medals”, was chosen to have wide appeal, with social events added to provide some fun, and encourage discussion among medal collectors and others who are not yet collectors, all in an extraordinary location.

This conference will include a series of presentations on the role medals have played in American history, the evolution of medallic art, and the ways medals have reflected American culture up to the 21st century. Presenters will include:

  • Len Augsburger, Coordinator, Newman Numismatic Portal, Washington University in St. Louis, will speak on the history of medal books
  • Anne Bentley, Curator of Art & Artifacts, Massachusetts Historical Society, will speak on the Society’s extensive medal collection and its fascinating history
  • Jonathan Brecher, co-author of “So-Called Dollars: An Illustrated Standard Catalogue”, will speak on So-Called Dollars as a reflection of nineteenth and early-twentieth century American culture
  • Patrick McMahon, Director of Exhibitions, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will speak on the early work of Victor David Brenner, sculptor of the Lincoln Cent and many medals+
  • Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics, Princeton University, and previously curator for many years at the American Numismatic Society, will speak on the role of medals in American history

In addition, two panel discussions will focus on the artistic beauty and collectability of medals. One panel discussion will cover the stylistic developments from Renaissance medallic art to contemporary art medals (“The Art of the Medal”). The second panel will explore the individual passions that drive numismatists to build their unique collections (“Why Collect Medals?”). Panelists will include several noted numismatists: John W. Adams, Q. David Bowers, Cory Gilliland, Scott Miller, Ira Rezak, Rob Rodriguez, John Sallay, and Stephen Scher.

Anne Bentley will also arrange a special exhibit of medals from the fabulous MHS collection, including the unique Comitia Americana set of silver medals presented by Thomas Jefferson on behalf of Congress to George Washington in 1790, the unique gold Manly medal, a silver Columbia and Washington medal, and many more rare and extraordinary pieces.

The conference will take place on Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 8:00AM until 6:30 PM at the MHS, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.
Registration for this conference is open on the Massachusetts Historical Society website.

To find out more about both partners of this collaboration, please check out the official website of Medal Collectors of America and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

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