“Fan-Tastic: A Collection of Hand Fans from Around the World,” is the title of a new exhibit currently on display in the Donald B. Palmer Museum of the Springfield Free Public Library.
Curated by Alexsandra Gizzi, an alumna of the Graduate Program in the Museum Professions of Seton Hall University, this exhibit features 26 items that were culled from the Palmer Museum’s collection of more than 70 intricately designed hand and folding fans and chosen either for their beauty or for their novelty.
One of the fans chosen for its beauty is the collection’s largest, a fan from Japan with a colorful rendering of Mount Fuji. Other fans in this category include those constructed of painted silk, intricately carved bone, feathers, or metallic inlay.
Fans chosen for their novelty include one that was used as an advertisement for the New York Zoological Park (later to become known as the Bronx Zoo), featuring a complete map and legend for the park while also constructed with a calibrated wooden handle that could be moved around the face of the fan to provide navigational assistance in getting around the park. Other unusual fans include a collection of three black mourning fans, used for that period of time when female family members were in the deepest stages of grief for their departed loved ones. The display also includes a linen and wood fan with a depiction of the Mangkunegaren Palace Hotel in Surakarta, Indonesia that was intended to serve both as a souvenir and as a method of advertising.
This exhibit will be on display in the Palmer Museum now through December 31 and admission is free to all members of the general public. The Donald B. Palmer Museum is located inside the Springfield Free Public Library at 66 Mountain Avenue. The museum is currently open in accordance with library summer hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am to 7:45 pm; Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:00 am to 4:45 pm; and Saturdays 10:00 am to 12.45 pm.
In conjunction with this exhibit, the library will also offer a virtual program, “The Language of Fans,” to be presented by Mrs. Gizzi via zoom from 7:00 to 8:00 PM on Monday evening, September 27.
Mrs. Gizzi will demonstrate the various ways that folding fans were used in bygone times to facilitate wordless communication, offer for flirtatious intent. Attendees at this program will be encouraged to have with them their own fans so that they can practice making these gestures during the course of the program. This Zoom program is free and open to all members of the general public.
To attend the program, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85224859437?pwd=NnEyTWxzVCt1VmV1T3RHdjlwcEtmQT09
For dial in access to this program, call 646 876-9923 and when prompted for the meeting ID, press 852 2485 9437 and then type in 471 703 when prompted for the meeting passcode.
This exhibit and the associated program are made possible in part by a 2021 HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of County Commissioners.