When it is 15 degrees outside, I tend to look for indoor activities. Luckily for me, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is hosting the Diana, A Celebration exhibit. So I spent Thursday Jan. 20th at GRAM. The exhibit is nine galleries of Spencer family jewels, childhood memorabilia, photo albums, film clips, Spencer family tree information, Diana’s dresses and of course, Diana’s wedding dress.
The exhibit starts out with the Spencer family’s stunning diamond tiara. The next room is filled with Spencer family jewels, paintings of the Spencer women, photos of the Anthorp estate and one wall with the Spencer family tree. (http://www.althorp.com/)
The exhibit takes you through Diana’s childhood with film clips of her first birthday and other childhood activities, all taken by her father. You are able to view her childhood passport and school report card among other personal items. These rooms educate the visitors with her background in preparation for the grandest room of all, the wedding dress room. The exhibit claimed that Diana said it was one of the best days of her life, no big surprise here. She was only 20 when she married Prince Charles and became Her Royal Highness. A film loop of the wedding day plays on the wall while her wedding dress, with the train fully extended, takes center stage. Included in the glass enclosure are the tiara she wore at the wedding, her shoes, and the bride’s maids dress.
One room of the exhibit is dedicated entirely to Diana’s charity work, including hand-written letters and many photographs. The next room in the exhibit is dedicated to her death. A large screen plays film clips of her funeral while Elton John sings his modified “Candle in the Wind” for Diana. The text of her brother’s eulogy is displayed on the wall. You can’t be in this room without getting choked up. Near the end of the exhibit is the room of Diana’s dresses. There are dress suits, short dresses and evening gowns from her early days through 1997, the year of her death. Many of the gowns are accompanied by photos of Diana in the dress. The dresses looked much better, more stylish, actually on Diana, than on the mannequins, but it was wonderful to see the actual dresses. One orange dress suit looked rather garish on the mannequin, but in the photo of Diana wearing the dress, it looked beautiful. This room was very crowded as the visitors took their time gazing at the dresses. I heard many conversations of which dress was a favorite, and other such comments. The day of my visit, I saw only two men in the crowd. The Today Show had been filming earlier in the day, for a Today Show segment to run today, Friday Jan. 21st.
The Grand Rapids museum also houses a collection of Andy Warhol works called “Endangered Species” and an exhibition called “100 years – 100 Works of Art” (http://www.artmuseumgr.org/).
From the 100 years / 100 Works of Art exhibit
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Joanie, who is planning on taking April 29th off from work so she can watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.