The exhibition will showcase original nineteenth century artifacts alongside contemporary art, craft and pop culture interpretations. Visitors will see a range of objects, including Victorian clothing, machinery, toys, medical tools, games and arsenal that serve as a catalyst for this sub-cultural phenomenon.
Special artifacts from the HBMS collections will complement a host of dramatic pieces on loan from nationally known Steampunk artists like Felix Eddy, Will Goddard, Heather E. Hutsell, Desirée Isphording, Ed Kidera, Milan J Karlik Jr., Ed Land, James Ng, David Sokosh, and Karen Von Oppen. There will also be loaned pieces from America on Wheels and the National Museum of Industrial History.
Leading the exhibition and its concept is guest curator, Daniella Romano. Daniella specializes in developing public and educational programming that supports historic preservation, urban manufacturing and resilient development. With a Master’s in Information and Library Science from Pratt Institute, she spent the last decade at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Industrial Park, where she oversaw the establishment and programming mission of BLDG 92, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center.
In 2014, Daniella moved to Bethlehem with her partner, a stonemason who grew up in Bucks County. They plan to raise their family here and Daniella is embracing Bethlehem’s rich industrial and craft history, as well as its architecture, arts and cultural programming.
According to Daniella, “Steampunk is a contemporary global counterculture movement that celebrates the Victorian era and translates its technology and material culture into fantasy and speculative futurism through fine art, literature, film, fashion, and maker craft. This exhibit will define and illustrate the Steampunk movement, revealing its impact on the future and in everyday life through a local lens to emphasize Lehigh Valley’s relevance, particularly in its industrial history and contemporary art scene.”
To give visitors an even more interactive experience, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites will be holding Steampunk Saturdays, a series of programs set for one Saturday each month throughout the course of the exhibition. From learning how to fight like Sherlock to showing off your most elaborate Steampunk fashion, there will be programs for all ages to enjoy.
Also in conjunction with the exhibition will be our newest Local Artist Spotlight: mixed media artist Domenick Naccaratto. Showcasing his love for the rusty and distressed, Domenick’s range of assemblage pieces and unique approach to mixing metals, wood, paint and seemingly “found” objects are a striking complement to the metallurgical and textured Steampunk genre.
Now located in Macungie, Domenick began his career at The College of New Jersey where he achieved a BFA with Honors. He has exhibited off and on for the last fifteen years, but in the last year Domenick exhibited in an astounding fourteen group show and was recently named featured artist for the Lehigh Art Alliance.
At the 2013 National Retail Federation Convention, Steampunk was called the “new retail trend in the making.” This genre has been an inspiration behind many cult television shows and movies like Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes, which are popular at every Comic Convention throughout the world. Last year, the Steampunk World’s Fair, held in Piscataway, New Jersey, saw over 6,000 attendees.
Steampunk takes inspiration from Victorian technological innovations, style and design, and transforms history into a world of limitless fantasy. For “Steampunks,” history is neither static nor fixed, but a springboard for creating the alternative reality of your dreams. So come explore the dream this spring and experience the fascination of Steampunk: Where History Meets Imagination!
To learn more about Steampunk, Steampunk Saturdays, and Domenick Naccaratto or to schedule a visit to the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, please visit us at HistoricBethlehem.org or call 1-800-360-TOUR.
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a not-for-profit institution that brings to life three centuries of American history. Historic Bethlehem tells the story of a small town of great influence, home to some of our nation’s earliest settlers, to America’s first municipal water pumping system, and to one of the world’s greatest industrial companies. Historic Bethlehem is located in eastern Pennsylvania, only a 1.5 hour drive from Philadelphia to the North and 2 hours west of New York City. Historic Bethlehem is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and a National Historic Landmark District.
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