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Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings: Consumer Culture in the Gilded Age explores the seemingly superficial personal and household objects consumed during the American Gilded Age (1870–1900), and how they were visible and powerful symbols of wealth, power, and social class.

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture received a Tennessee Association of Museums (TAM) Award of Excellence for the museum’s special exhibition Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings: Consumer Culture in the Gilded Age, which ran from May 26 to August 27, 2017.

The exhibition examined how Gilded Age (1870–1900) consumer goods––from fish forks to fashionable dress, furniture, and china––were visible and powerful symbols of wealth, power, and social class. It was curated by the museum’s Assistant Director and Curator Catherine Shteynberg and featured more than 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collections as well as items from other museums and private lenders. Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings is one of the museum’s most visited special exhibits in recent history; it incorporated a variety of public programming, including lectures, free family fun days and stroller tours, summer camps, and a cocktail party fundraiser.

TAM’s annual awards recognize, encourage, and promote excellence within the activities of the Tennessee museum community. Awards are based on creativity, originality, resourcefulness, success, support of the museum mission statement, and use of staff and volunteers. The McClung Museum was one of a handful of Tennessee museums honored at the association’s annual conference and award ceremony.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking kiosk at the entrance to Circle Park Drive during the week. Free parking is available on the weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

CONTACT:

Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921, cshteynb@utk.edu)

Stacy Palado (865-974-2143, spalado@utk.edu)