Nation’s ‘First Ladies’ Special
Exhibit Continues at TAMIU
A first-ever exhibit at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) celebrating the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States continues through Feb. 13 in the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Gallery.
TAMIU has partnered with George Washington’s Mount Vernon to bring this unique historical and educational opportunity to Laredo that is free of charge to all. It is co-sponsored by the Society of Martha Washington (SMW) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Carol Spacht portrays Martha Washington
Kim Hanley portrays Abigail Adams
The exhibit opened Friday and includes art, photographs, letters, and personal effects in tribute to the First Ladies. Taking center stage at the exhibit will be Martha Dandridge Washington’s wedding dress, wedding slippers, and shell cushion, on loan from Mount Vernon. These detailed reproductions have been exhibited across the country as part of Mount Vernon’s iconic “Discover the Real George Washington” Exhibit.
A fitting addition to the Exhibit is a portrait tribute to Laredo’s own “Marthas,” courtesy of the SMW. Examples of the stunning ornately embellished dresses worn by former Marthas are on display. The original deed to Mount Vernon, on loan from the Harlan Crow Library in Dallas, rounds out the unique exhibit.
The exhibit will be in place through Thursday, February 13. Opening hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit is available for groups of 10 or more outside of regular hours by appointment only.
For the Jan. 17 opening, noted author and lecturer Dr. Walter A. Ostromecki, Jr. shared his original letters and documents, offering insight into the “exploits and achievements” of Martha Washington and other First Ladies as related through their letters and manuscripts.
Ostromecki’s private collection includes over 11,000 items, including original letters by Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Rachel Jackson, Mary Todd Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and others. A reception followed.
The next day, Saturday, Jan. 18, the American Historical Theatre presented its “First Ladies First” performance. The Lucy Meriwether Chapter of the DAR sponsored the play.
Martha Washington was portrayed by Carol Spacht, and Abigail Adams, by Kim Hanley. Both entertained audience members with a lively dialogue about their experiences throughout the revolution and their husband’s presidencies.
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