New exhibit and historical drama at North House Museum

Devin Preston

The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) is proud to announce a new exhibit opening on Saturday, Oct. 20: James Wilson, America’s First Terrestrial and Celestial Globe Maker.

Wilson was a self-taught globe maker from New Hampshire. Wilson and three of his sons operated two manufacturing plants in Bradford, Vermont and Albany, New York. After just a few years of operation they were able to outsell the European globe makers who dominated the American market until then. A real American success story.

The exhibit will include the historical society’s original, fully restored Wilson terrestrial globe. In 1828, production of this particular edition of his globe was stepped up in anticipation of more business from an advertising campaign that targeted academies and schools. Donor records reveal that GHS’s globe was used in a school or academy in Lewisburg at least 150 years ago.

Wilson globe

For this exhibit opening, there will be a dramatic historic presentation about James Wilson’s life, written and directed by Pamela Barry and performed by Devin Preston. There will be two performances, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“The 1828 Wilson globe is an extraordinary piece of history and art. The fact that it made its way from New England to Lewisburg is quite interesting. James Wilson changed his entire life after he viewed a European globe exhibit. I hope everyone comes to see his globe and watch Devin’s performance of Wilson’s life’s story,” said writer and director Pamela Barry.

Another unusual exhibit item is the first map made and engraved in America, on loan from Tom and Eugenia Sander. Printed in 1794, it is a map of Virginia by Samuel Lewis. In 1801 the unfortunate map maker wrote to Thomas Jefferson from debtor’s prison, begging the Vice President to convince the Virginia Assembly to pardon him. Jefferson praised Lewis’s work as being of the highest quality and brokered his release.

Leah Trent will provide musical selections on the Harpsichord.

Join us on Oct. 20 for this exciting new exhibit opening. It is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted.

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