SHREVEPORT, La. — Centenary College’s Meadows Museum of Art offers visitors a portal to Shreveport’s past this spring with the new exhibit A Glimpse of Shreveport from 1918. The exhibit opens Thursday, January 25 and will be on display at the Meadows through late April 2018. The public is invited to a free opening reception on Thursday, January 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
A Glimpse of Shreveport features a selection of stunning gelatin photographs from a photo album highlighting Shreveport’s business community and labor force commissioned by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce in 1918. Edward Chopin, a local professor and historian, discovered the album many years ago while helping some friends pack up for a move. As he turned the pages and saw images of early 20th century hardware companies, candy and ice cream shops, oil and railroad companies, and the people who worked in them, Chopin knew that he had stumbled on a rare treasure.
“Upon viewing the photos later, what particularly struck me was that I was looking at the Shreveport my father would have seen after he returned to northwest Louisiana from his service with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France during World War I,” says Chopin. “This is a Shreveport I would never know, but I have always felt a connection with this period.”
In the years since his discovery, Chopin has shared the images with his family and with small audiences but never with the public at large. After some fellow members of the Shreveport Historic Preservation Society viewed the images and offered suggestions for assembling a representative sample, Chopin was introduced to Centenary’s Dr. Lisa Nicoletti and Mr. Bruce Allen in 2016 during their tenure as co-directors of the Meadows Museum. Nicoletti and Allen were impressed with the collection and helped Chopin organize the exhibit at the Meadows to coincide with the book’s centennial. The Chopin family has a strong connection to Centenary, so the Meadows was a natural fit for this exhibit celebrating Shreveport history. Chopin’s oldest daughter is a Centenary graduate and current member of the Office of Admission team, and his youngest daughter is currently a junior at the College.
Meadows Museum director Sean FitzGibbons, who came to Centenary in July 2017, is excited to have Glimpse of Shreveport as part of the museum’s offerings during his first year at the College.
“World War I was coming to an end, industrialization in the labor force was forever changing American businesses, and music performed on Fannin Street went on to influence American jazz, blues, and ragtime,” explains FitzGibbons. “Culturally, there was a lot happening a century ago in Shreveport. A lot has happened since. Glimpse of Shreveport provides insight into this history, with beautiful and stunningly detailed photographs that capture a literal snapshot of life in Shreveport 100 years ago.”
Later in the spring semester, the Meadows Museum will offer interactive field trips exploring the historical component of the Glimpse of Shreveport exhibit. Contact Sean FitzGibbons at email@example.com for more information about field trip opportunities at the Meadows.
A Glimpse of Shreveport was created in conjunction with the Shreveport Historic Preservation Society and is partially underwritten by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture Program and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
About the Meadows Museum of Art
The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Museum is free and open to the public Monday and Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Sundays and during all school holidays. For more information or to schedule field trips, call the Museum at 318.869.5040 or visit centenary.edu/meadows.