Author: Rick O'Toole

Presidential Campaigning Over the Decades: The Mark and Rosalind Shenkman Collection of Early American Campaign Flags

September 9 – December 18, 2016
The exhibition consists of more than 60 rare and important presidential campaign flags and textiles produced between 1815 and 1912. Also on view is an official Massachusetts broadside of the Declaration of Independence, printed in Massachusetts on July 20, 1776, before word reached them that the New York state delegates had adopted the Declaration. This copy shows New York as abstaining.

We at the Benton Museum wish to extend our deepest thanks to Mark Shenkman (CLAS 1965, Honorary 2007) for graciously and generously loaning his important collection.  Mr. Shenkman is a UConn alumnus, founder of Shenkman Capital Management Inc., and is Chair emeritus of the University of Connecticut’s Foundation Board of Directors. We also extend our gratitude to Jeff Bridgman, the leading expert on early American flags for his indispensable assistance and his expertise.

Public Programs:
Thursday, October 66 pm
Lecture:  Jeff R. Bridgman, owner of Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques, Inc., is an expert on antique American flags, and preeminent dealer in American political textiles. In addition to buying, evaluating, researching and writing about flags, Jeff and his staff for the past 17 years have operated a textile conservation lab. He has lectured on antique American flags for many years and has curated museum exhibits and performed appraisals for both leading museums and insurance companies. Jeff, who has his antiques business headquartered in historic York County, Pennsylvania, has helped to build many of the nation’s best private collections of antique flags and actively curates some of the most significant among them. He serves on the board of directors of the Stars & Stripes Foundation, which presents exhibits nationwide. Jeff is a member of the three top professional organizations in America for the antiques trade, The Antiques & Arts Dealer’s League of America, the American Antiques Dealers Association, and the Antiques Council. He has served on the boards and committees of two of these and is regularly asked to appraise quality and authenticity at vetted antique shows.
A short reception preceeds the talk.

Friday, October 14, 6-7pm:
“Teddy Roosevelt: Mind, Body, and Spirit.”   * Tickets Required; Limited Availability
Ted Zalewski, accomplished actor, author and historian, will present “Teddy Roosevelt: Mind, Body and Spirit.”
One man, one hour, do not miss actor/author/educator Ted Zalewski bring to life one of America’s greatest presidents! Combining history, drama and fun, he gives voice to many of Roosevelt’s own words, writings and beliefs. Cowboy, soldier, naturalist, historian, father, statesman and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Theodore Roosevelt lived a life that inspires us still.

“Meet the President” reception after the performance.

Tickets Required in advance as space is limited. $5 admission to general public; Students Free with ID. Purchase tickets at the Museum’s Visitor’s Service Desk or email


The museum is closed for a change of exhibitions.
The Gilman Gallery opens on January 19.
The new exhibitions open on January 21.
Opening reception is January 21, 4:30 – 7 pm.

Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art

June 2 – July 31, 2016
Opening Reception June 2, 4:30–6:30 pm.

This exhibition explores the medium of inflatable art with imagery that is figurative, conceptual, and abstract.
These inflatable sculptures connote fun and whimsy, and challenge our everyday, feet-on-the-ground perspective.

Blow Up was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.

Image Credit: Claire Ashley, Thing Two, 2012. Spray paint on PVC coated canvas tarpaulin and fan.
Image Credit from home page: Billie G. Lynn, White Elephant 1, 2007, ripstop nylon, chiffon, electric fan.

Overfelt, Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am
Guy Overfelt, Untitled (1977 Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am replica), 1999, inflatable nylon and electric blower, 4.5 x 17 x 7 feet. Courtesy of Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Lynn, White Elephant
Billie Grace Lynn, White Elephant 1, 2007, ripstop nylon, chiffon, electric fan, 10 x 6 x 8 feet.


Dotted Dialogues: Contemporary Indigenous Art from Central Australia

September 1 – October 11, 2015

Dotted Dialogues features contemporary paintings and sculptures from Aboriginal communities in Central Australia. In the early 1980s, new governmental policies encouraged Indigenous communities to partake in various initiatives meant to counteract the erosion of Aboriginal cultural identity. The traditional iconography of these works tells ancestral stories with the hope of reconnecting Indigenous communities with their ancestors, land, and cultural heritage, while simultaneously sharing it all with others. This exhibition was curated in its entirety by the students in the University of Connecticut, Spring 2015 Anthropological Perspectives in Art class, under the direction of Professor Françoise Dussart.

Opening reception at 4:30pm on Thursday, September 3rd.


Photograph by Françoise Dussart


Three Dimentional Appliqué Textiles of Chile, c. 1985 – 1998 Sewing for Resistance

From the Education Collection of The William Benton Museum of Art

The images are for educational purposes only and present a sample of the collection. For permission to
reproduce, please contact the Registrar at The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 860-486-1707.