Browse Exhibits (14 total)
Repository Research Fellow and New Orleans-based artist, Natan Diacon-Furtado used Wylie House Museum and IU Archives collections to inform his projected light patterns in the museum. His pieces are representative of the lives of three lesser-known individuals who called Wylie House home for varying periods of time. Exhibit opening: September 17, 2021.
This exhibit highlights the leadership of Andrew Wylie, Theophilus A. Wylie, and, by extension, Indiana University Bloomington between 1829 (Andrew Wylie’s first year as president of Indiana University) and 1895 (Theophilus Wylie’s death). It explores primary materials related to nineteenth-century publication, education, presidential addresses, public science, scholarly libraries, science and religion, student experiences, and the Civil War.
Eight professional Indiana artists created new pieces for “Call and Response: Creative Interpretations of Wylie House,” an artistic extension of the Wylie House Museum’s commitment to share the lesser-known histories of people associated with the home. Sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Council at Indiana University, “Call and Response” is part of Indiana Remixed, the Council's program celebrating the arts and ideas that shape Indiana today.
Capturing the likeness of yourself or your loved one was not always as simple as pressing a button. The Indiana frontier had few professional artists, and faithful oil portraits were expensive and hard to come by. Itinerant silhouette cutters filled the gap, and later, daguerreotypes and other forms of early photography brought lifelike portraiture to Indiana. Theophilus Wylie was a pioneer of photography in the state, and soon other photographers followed in his footsteps.
One of the Wylie House’s more notable and surprising archival collections consists of letters to Louise Bradley, great-granddaughter of Theophilus A. Wylie, from Elizabeth Bishop, Pulitzer Prize winner and one-time Poet Laureate. These letters, which span 25 years, paint a unique picture of Bishop’s development from precocious adolescent to accomplished writer and preserve a friendship that played an important role in both women’s lives.
What was life like for Elizabeth “Lizzie” Breckenridge (1843-1910), an African-American woman who spent most of her life living with and working as a domestic servant for the Theophilus Wylie family? Pulling from a variety of primary sources, this exhibit pieces together her life experience in the second half of the 19th century in Bloomington, Indiana.
Theophilus and Rebecca Wylie moved into the Wylie House in the mid-nineteenth century, when households were transitioning from large-scale agriculture to small-scale leisure gardening, or floriculture. This exhibit showcases the June 2018 field school run by a team of Indiana University students and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology staff to learn more about the Wylies’ garden “pits,” subterranean cold-frame greenhouses that insulated their flowers from harsh weather.
As Theophilus and Rebecca Wylie moved their family into Wylie House in 1859, a movement was
overtaking American society. An interest in horticulture, or appreciating plants apart from their
nutritional value, was no longer only for the elite, but became popular throughout all levels and
locations of American society. Americans of the Victorian era believed that getting back to nature was
the cure for industrialization and the ills of modernization. The wealthy of America were encouraged to
practice horticulture as a way to distance themselves from their material possessions. The middle class
was pushed to garden as a cure for the mental strain of modern life. Many organizations worked to
provide gardens and green space for the lower classes believing that gardening would inspire them.
Conservation was also in its infancy. City parks which gifted green space to those living in crowded urban
areas gained popularity. The first national parks were also carved out during the nineteenth century. The
people of 19 th century America appreciated the natural world and its benefits after witnessing an ever-
increasing industrialized landscape.
If anyone recognizes Louise Bradley’s name today, it is probably due not to her own talent as a writer, but to her connection with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop. This great-granddaughter of Theophilus and Rebecca Wylie had a creative life of her own, however, and the diary she kept in the early 1930s sheds light on her writing, her time in college and after graduation, and her career as a research worker during the Great Depression and World War II.
Andrew Wylie’s daughter Maggie married Samuel Martin on May 17, 1849. Six months later, on November 22, the Martins boarded a ship to China in answer to the Presbyterian Mission Board’s call for missionaries in the city of Ningpo. The couple were surprised by the premature birth of their first son, William Boone Martin, on a steamer north of Hong Kong on April 29, but they arrived safe and healthy in Ningpo one month later. Although the Martins had to leave China in 1858, their eight years in Ningpo deeply impacted the rest of their lives.
The Wylie Women reflect contradictions between the maternal ideal, represented in women’s advice literature, and the complex realities of Midwestern, middle-class childrearing in the late nineteenth-century. This generational study of Elizabeth Louisa Wylie Boisen, Margaret Wylie Mellette, and Sarah Seabrook Mitchell Wylie examines the effect of social and economic factors on mothering experiences, revealing a shared struggle to uphold the expectations of nineteenth-century women.
In the spring of 2020, Indiana University MFA student Christine Wang recieved an IU-Bloomington Public Arts Grant funded by the office of the Vice Provost of Research and the Arts and Humanities Council and planned to conduct several paper-making workshops and install artwork at the Wylie House Museum. Unfortunately, her work was cut short due to COVID-19. This exhibit displays the artwork she installed in the Wylie gardens and explains her message of environmental consiousness and the connection between art and the earth.
The Andrew Wylie and Theophilus Wylie families occupied the Wylie House for nearly eight decades, from 1835 until 1913. In 1912, the family gathered at the Wylie House for one final visit to celebrate the 100th birthday of Theophilus Wylie’s wife, Rebecca. Click on the photographs in this exhibit to learn more about these several generations of Wylie family members and their connections to the Wylie House.
Quilts are valuable examples of practical folk art. The Wylie House quilt collection contains examples of 19th and 20th century quilts, as well as a robust collection of modern reproductions of period quilts by a volunteer group of quilters. Explore our collection and learn more about the role that they played in the lives of the Wylie family and others throughout history.