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Gallery Talk: Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment

A diagram depicts different views of the interior of a slave ship, labeled with figure numbers and letters. There is a body of text underneath the diagram.
Printed by James Phillips, British, Description of a Slave Ship, 1789. Engraving. Houghton Library, Gift of O. Peck, 1845, p EB75 A100, TL42422.5.

Gallery Talk

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Join Houghton Library curator John Overholt for an in-depth discussion about one of the most important and consequential prints of the 18th century: Description of a Slave Ship, on display in the special exhibition Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment. Overholt will share insights about how the print argued effectively and urgently for social change.

Featuring approximately 150 works on paper and other related objects, Dare to Know explores how the graphic arts inspired, shaped, and gave immediacy to new ideas in the Enlightenment era by encouraging individuals to follow their own reason when seeking to know more. An illustrated catalogue with 26 thematic essays—an A to Z exploration of the Enlightenment quest for understanding and change—accompanies the exhibition.

Our galleries are full of stories—this series of talks gives visitors a chance to hear the best ones! The talks highlight new works on view, take a fresh look at old favorites, investigate artists’ materials and techniques, and reveal the latest discoveries by curators, conservators, fellows, visiting artists, technologists, and other contributors.

Led by:
John Overholt, Curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and of Early Books and Manuscripts, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Gallery talks are limited to 18 people, and it is required that you reserve your place. At 10am the day of the event, reservations will open and may be arranged online through this form. The gallery talk reservation will also serve as your general museum reservation. If required, visitors will pay the museum admission fee upon arrival.

Please meet in the Calderwood Courtyard, in front of the digital screens between the shop and the admissions desk.

Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museum.

This exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the exhibition is provided by the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Robert M. Light Print Department Fund, the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Support Fund, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The catalogue was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.