Nation’s ‘First Ladies’ at TAMIU Friday, Saturday
Posted: 1/16/14

Nation’s ‘First Ladies’ Subject of Special Exhibit,
Performance at TAMIU Friday, Saturday

A first-ever exhibit and performance at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) will celebrate the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States Friday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 18 in the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA).

TAMIU has partnered with George Washington’s Mount Vernon to bring a unique historical and educational opportunity to Laredo that is free of charge to all.

Carol Spacht

Carol Spacht portrays Martha Washington

On Friday The First Ladies Exhibit Grand Opening will take place at 5:00 p.m. at the TAMIU CFPA Art Gallery. Included are 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.

Kim Hanley

Kim Hanley portrays Abigail Adams

Noted author and lecturer Dr. Walter A. Ostromecki, Jr. will share 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 will follow. 

The exhibit will be in place through Thursday, February 13.  Opening hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 pm, and Saturday’s from 10 am to 5 pm.  The exhibit is available for groups of ten or more outside of regular hours by appointment only. 

The next day, Saturday, The American Historical Theatre “First Ladies First” performance will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the CFPA Recital Hall of the Center for TAMIU’s Fine and Performing Arts. The Lucy Meriwether Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is presenting the play.

Martha Washington, portrayed by Carol Spacht, and Abigail Adams, portrayed by Kim Hanley, will entertain audience members with a lively dialogue between about their experiences throughout the revolution and their husband’s presidencies.

Exhibit and event organizer Toni Ruiz said the recognition provided by both events is long overdue.

“This exhibit will serve to give our First Ladies the recognition they deserve,” Ruiz, said.

“A fitting addition to the exhibit will be a portrait tribute to Laredo’s own “Marthas,” courtesy of the Society of Martha Washington.  Examples of the stunning ornately embellished dresses worn by former Marthas will also be on display. The original deed to Mount Vernon, on loan from the Harlan Crow Library in Dallas, rounds out this unique exhibit,” Ruiz noted.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu