George Washington Exhibit Comes to Payson

This March the Pepperdine University Libraries welcome a special exhibition called The Great Experiment: George Washington and the American Republic to Payson Library.

By examining, what the American Library Association called, “the real George Washington,” the exhibit offers learners of all ages the chance to revisit the American Revolution and its indispensable leader. The Great Experiment looks beyond the myths that were created to strengthen Washington’s position as President in order to secure the stability of a struggling republic.

The Great Experiment, a 1,000-square-foot 30-panel traveling exhibition which arrived this week at Payson Library, is based on a larger exhibition of original manuscripts, rare books, prints, engravings and artifacts from various collections like the Huntington Library.  This traveling exhibition visited more than 50 libraries in the U.S. before coming to Pepperdine.

“We are honored to host this exhibit, which represents the culmination of excellent scholarship of historic documents by several research institutions,” says Pepperdine Head of Special Collections and University Archives Melissa Nykanen.  “This is a great opportunity to learn more about George Washington and a pivotal point in our country’s history, much of it described in Washington’s own hand in the letters that have been reproduced in this exhibit.”

Organized according to an in-depth time line, The Great Experiment panels take visitors through the story of George Washington’s life, focusing specifically on his Early Years, The Revolution, The Constitution, The Presidency and his Farewell.

The exhibition explores the process and importance of Washington’s life decisions – including his willingness to give up his role as commander and chief in the American forces, and his resignation from the presidency after just two terms.  The panels once again bring to life both the process and leadership that led to the founding of a new republic.

Nykanen has also compiled some rare titles from the Pepperdine Special Collections which are on display near The Great Experiment including books about Washington and other figures in the American Revolution such as Patrick Henry, Israel Putnam, and Marquis de Lafayette. 

The Pepperdine Libraries also invite everyone to attend a lively discussion about the exhibit, Tuesday, March 30th, featuring distinguished University Professor, Edward Larson and President and CEO of Starr Strategies, and Mount Vernon board member, Alice Starr. We are also pleased to welcome, David Zeidberg director of the Huntington Library to talk about the Great Experiment installation at the Huntington.

If you missed the event, watch or listen to the recording under Libraries at Pepperdine on iTunes U.

The Great Experiment was originally produced by the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office in collaboration with The Huntington Library of San Marino, Calif. with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Pepperdine Libraries extend a special thanks to The Huntington Library, for loaning this extraordinary exhibit to the community.

George Washington Exhibit Comes to Payson