Current Exhibits

Visitors to the Henry Plant Museum marvel at the building’s Moorish-inspired architecture and the fantastic collection of orientalist décor housed inside.  Imagined East: Decorative Arts and the Imperial Gaze will explore the roots of Orientalism, its appeal and significance as a decorative style, and the cultural impact of this movement.  The exhibit will feature original artifacts from the Tampa Bay Hotel as well as loans from public institutions and private collectors.  Objects on display will include sculptures, pottery, paintings, prints, furniture and more.
Orientalist art and décor swept through the Western world in the late 19th century.  Beautiful objects from, or inspired by, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia were brought together in the homes of wealthy collectors to signify that one was both well-traveled and well-educated.  The influence of this movement can be seen throughout the Tampa Bay Hotel.  Visitors to this exhibit will learn how international trade created this movement and how Orientalism shaped the way that cultures viewed themselves and each other.

The exhibit will open with a fascinating talk by Dr. Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen titled "George Washington Ate Here: 'Oriental' Luxuries in American Culture" in the Music Room of Plant Hall at 7 pm.  Tchen is a historian, curator, dumpster-diver, and teacher promoting more democratic storytelling and decision-making. Dr. Tchen is the Clement A. Price Professor of Public History & Humanities and Director of the Price Institute on Ethnicity, Cultures, and the Modern Experience Rutgers-Newark. Professor Tchen's talk is based on his award-winning book New York Before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 and the Los Angeles Times noted book Yellow Peril! An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear. He is the founding director of the A/P/A (Asian/Pacific/American) Studies Program and Institute at New York University, NYU. He co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America. His ten-years of work on anti-Asian xenophobia, a two-hour PBS documentary on the “Chinese Exclusion Act,” and exhibition at the New-York Historical Society led him to focus on the history of American eugenics. He has worked with the Munsee Lunaape Elders for years and honoring enslaved in the region by documenting, sharing, and decolonizing the history of Newark and the larger region.  

This exhibit is graciously underwritten by:
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Explore the aesthetic movement known as Orientalism.