There are many things to love about the Everhart Museum. It’s delightful to find that everywhere I go in Northeast Pennsylvania, people excitedly recount their experiences at the Museum to me. A woman at the optometrist’s office shares cherished childhood memories of the Bird Gallery. A father at the downtown deli smiles as he tells me about seeing rocks and minerals glow under ultraviolet light for the first time with his son. A young woman at a salon discusses revelations gleaned from the objects representing cultures from around the world.  The Everhart represents an epic journey through time and place for the hundreds of thousands of visitors over the Museum’s 113-year history.

I too experience the Everhart with a sense of awe and wonder. In my first months as the executive director, I find myself marveling at the commanding presence of place. The Museum’s magnificent 1929 Art Deco edifice situated in a park designed by the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead (American, 1822-1903) is perfectly appointed. Here, Dr. Isaiah Everhart worked with  the City of Scranton to bring his vision for a natural history, science, and art institution to life.

Walking through the galleries, I am deeply affected by the stunning objects created by famous and anonymous artists who lived near and far. An Alex Katz (American, b. 1927) polychromed wood cut-out silhouetted against the main gallery wall catches my eye. An African face mask made by a Dan culture sculptor in Nigeria mesmerizes me with its powerful abstraction. As I enter the gallery named for Dunmore, Pennsylvania artist John Willard Raught (American, 1857-1931), I take a deep breath. His Impressionist landscape paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries of Scranton and the surrounding areas express both compelling beauty and a concern for the environment.

Like the many visitors expressing a love of the Everhart Museum, I’ve fallen in love with this institution. If you’ve been to the Museum as a child or visited last weekend, you know what I mean. But if you’ve never visited, come and see the Everhart for yourself – I’m confident you’ll find a lot to love too.

Kathy Johnson Bowles

June 7, 2021

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