Period Rooms at Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace

There are three types of historic homes. The first is a historic home without historic furnishings, or without furnishings original to the house. The second is a historic home filled with the furnishings that were there when the original or notable owner lived there. The third is perhaps the most rare, historic furnishings that relate to the original family, but a recreated house.

The third is what I found today at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace near Union Square in Manhattan.

The strange thing about the house is no plans or photographs were available to recreate the house in 1916, but a brothers house built at the same time did remain. What was built was basically a mirror image of the brothers house with simulated moldings, mantles, etc. The why of it all is that they then demolished the brothers house. It’s hard to second guess what someone did nearly a century ago, however, but keeping the house that really existed and that Roosevelt would have known would seem the smarter (and less costly) move.

The recreation may be the only example of a “19th Century” brownstone built in the 20th Century, however, and if it does prove anything, it’s that you can build them like they used to.

The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace is operated by the National Park Service. It usually costs $3 to get in, but in celebration of Teddy’s 150th birthday, October 26th and 27th will be free and include many activities. For more information call 212-260-1616. Oh, and one of the interesting tidbits you may learn on a tour is that Teddy went out west with a monogramed sterling silver knife from Tiffany’s.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage.

When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city.

With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s.

The result will be a book with a video component.

We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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