Peoria Riverfront Museum Opens with Three New Exhibits

The Peoria Riverfront Museum will open with three new exhibits open on Saturday, February 19:  Disney Classic Art, Op Art Illusions and Exploring Our Moon.  The new exhibitions, located in the museum’s redesigned Experience Gallery, will replace the T Rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit and are sponsored by Visionary Society.

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Classic Disney ArtThe Classic Disney Art from the Collection of Steve Spain exhibit will feature rare pairings of original Disney cels and backgrounds with a focus on the ground-breaking conceptual work of artist Mary Blair from the world’s first three full-length animated films.  “With this special selection of animation celluloids, drawings, and posters from the Disney Collection of Steve Spain, we celebrate three of the most iconic animated features in history. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” (1937) and “Pinocchio” (1940) became the earliest animation-style films while “Cinderella” (1950) became the most commercially successful film to that date for Walt Disney. Together these animated works are remembered as culturally transformational, defining a new category of film which has endured for generations.” said Museum Chief Curator Bill Conger.

A film festival with screenings of the classic Disney movies will be held at the museum’s Giant Screen Theater with commentary by Disney author J.B. Kaufman in conjunction with the exhibit.  The film schedule is still to be determined.  Kaufman is a film historian and author specializing in Disney animation history and silent films who wrote the books “The Fairest One of All”, “Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic”, and “Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse”.

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Op Art IllustrationsThe second new exhibit, Op Art: Illusions from the Permanent Collection, will display how the masterful use of dizzying patterns and jarring color relationships play with visual perception, as well as creating an illusion of movement, warping and three dimensions.  “Long before digital technology, artists sought to excite the eye with dizzying patterns, optically playful color relationships, and meditative illusions. Op Art emerged during the 1960s and 70s as a visual language of painting that plays on perception, hypnotic color and surface distortion. Our exhibition looks at Op Art and earlier objects that seeks to jar the visual senses through optical tricks.” said Museum Chief Curator Bill Conger.  The exhibit will include vintage coverlets to 1960s Op Art, paired with family friendly interactive experiences to explore this art form.

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Exploring Our MoonAnd the third new exhibit, Moon, features the 13-foot illuminated Moon created for the museum by U.K. artist Luke Jerram.  Jerram used more than 1000 images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create the object.  The Moon exhibit also features NASA artifacts and hands-on exhibits.  “People have been dreaming of visiting the Moon for hundreds of years. In 1969, humanity first achieved the stupendous feat of sending astronauts to the Moon and returning them safely to Earth. Only twelve people in all of human history have walked on another world. Will we return?” said Planetarium Director & Science Curator Renae Kerrigan who designed the exhibit in partnership with Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum and Purdue University, Neil Armstrong’s alma mater.

Engineering Day will also take place on Sunday, Feb. 20, from Noon – 5 pm and admission will be free.  Explore high-tech demos by Caterpillar Inc., Society of Women Engineers, American Society of Material, Code Ninjas, FIRST Tech Challenge, Illinois Society of Professional Engineers, iSTEAM, ISU Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Illinois State, River City Labs and University of Illinois 4-H.   The American Society of Civil Engineers Bridge Building contest will take place beginning at 1:30 pm in the Giant Screen Theater.  All events for engineering day, plus the exhibitions and daytime Dome Planetarium shows are included in the free admission day. Engineering Day is sponsored by Caterpillar and local engineering groups.

And the American Verses Virtual Festival will also take place at the Museum beginning on Monday, February 21 and runs through Friday, February 25.  Exploring the art and stories of Terry Adkins, Mark Bradford, and Kerry James Marshall featured in the Museum’s American Verses exhibition, learn how your life and experiences can be expressed through any type of art form.  For a complete daily schedule, click HERE

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