Bartram’s Boxes Inspired by Art and Nature

Posted on 3/11/2016 12:18:00 PM

Sculpture from Bartram’s Boxes RemixThe University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will open its next exhibit, Bartram’s Boxes Remix, on March 26, 2016. This touring exhibition, a collaborative effort of the Center for Art in Wood and Bartram’s Garden, both located in Philadelphia, will be on display until May 7.

In 2010, storms ravished Bartram’s Garden, a 45-acre National Historic Landmark in Philadelphia. This exhibit is the result of inviting artists to use wood from the storm’s fallen trees to “remix” materials and the historical legacy and spirit of the garden into exciting new works of art that combine the old and new into unique pieces of a bonded force.

In 1765, John Bartram was appointed the Royal Botanist for the North American Colonies by King George III. As an explorer and naturalist, he journeyed as far south as Florida and across New England collecting seeds and plant specimens while documenting his research and discoveries, often with his son William by his side.  Personalities such as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson visited his garden, which dates back to 1728 when he bought 102 acres from Swedish settlers.

Soon, shipments of seeds and plants from Bartram’s garden brought New World landscape and botanical specimens to Britain, and a thriving business and exchange developed with London merchant and avid gardener, Peter Collinson. Wooden boxes and crates were used to ship the precious plants and seeds to patrons and scholars in Britain. Many of the pieces in this exhibit reflect the engineering, complexity, and forms of the shipping boxes.

In addition to the exhibition, the University Museum will present a lecture titled “The Inspiration and Legacy of John and William Bartram” by Rhonda Yeager. Originally scheduled for April 21, it will be presented on Thursday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the museum. Yeager is an IUP art instructor and serves as visual resource curator and University Museum registrar and collection manager.

There will be an opening reception on Saturday, March 26, from 6:00–8:30 pm. The lecture, opening reception, and exhibition are all free.

Located on the first floor of John Sutton Hall, regular museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 2:00–6:30 p.m.; Thursday noon–7:30 p.m.; and Saturday noon–4:00 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact Leslie Kluchurosky at or 724-357-2397.

Bartram’s Boxes Remix was organized by The Center for Art in Wood of Philadelphia in collaboration with Bartram’s Garden of Philadelphia.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Student Cooperative Association at IUP. The University Museum at IUP also receives funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts administered through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance.