Huntsville, Ala – The Huntsville Museum of Art, with corporate support from lead sponsor iBERIABANK, is pleased to present Over the Top: American Posters from World War I, opening July 24 and on view through October 16. Over the Top features more than 40 original World War I posters from the permanent collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Over the Top explores the role these illustrated images played to rally Americans to the cause, encouraging them to fund international aid projects and buy bonds, and to shape public perceptions of the war.
“The posters in Over the Top demonstrate the power of visual images in our world,” said Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, chief curator at Norman Rockwell Museum. “In its heyday, illustration was a primary means of mass communication, serving to shape and reflect American society and culture.”
With the help of leading illustrators of the day including J.C. Leyendecker, James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, and Jessie Willcox Smith, the posters had a powerful impact, resulting in the sale of over $20 billion in government bonds—an impressive two-thirds of the total cost of American participation in the war. In order to serve as a constant reminder of the need for support, the posters incorporated powerful and iconic United States symbols such as the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam, and the American flag. The posters were hung in libraries, post offices, and schools in urban and rural communities.
This traveling exhibition features selected posters donated from the collections of Normal Rockwell Museum Trustee Emeriti and former Chairman Thomas L. Pulling and Edward Pulling, grandson and great-grandson of the Honorable R.C. Leffingwell, assistant secretary of the Treasury and head of the War Loan Organization. President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo charged Leffingwell with devising a strategy to underwrite the war effort. As a token of gratitude for his successful role in the campaigns, he received this collection of posters.
The Museum will host a MEMBERS’ PREVIEW PARTY Saturday, July 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests will enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, preview the exhibition, and delight in live patriotic music from the WWI era played by the Woodwind Quintet Band of the Army Materiel Command Band. Tickets for members are FREE and $25 for nonmembers. There will be a cash wine bar of $5 per glass. Members can visit the HMA webpage to register for the event, www.hsvmuseum.org. Nonmembers may call 256-535-4350 ext. 208.
Over the Top: American Posters from World War I is organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Local sponsors include Lead Corporate Sponsor iBERIABANK, Cynthia and Rey Almodovar, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Huntsville Museum of Art Guild, and Gerry and Virgil Schaffer.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m. The Museum is also open Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays and some major holidays. General admission is FREE for members and children 5 and under; $10 for adult nonmembers; $8 for military, teachers, and seniors with a valid ID; $5 for children ages 6 and up and students; and $7 per person for groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit www.hsvmuseum.org or call 256-535-4350.