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National Liberty Museum Unveils Upcoming Fall Exhibition, truth*

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Deanna Sabec
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National Liberty Museum Unveils Upcoming Fall Exhibition, truth*
Bold new exhibition will explore the compelling power of “truth” with an interactive experience, art installations and a rich educational program

Philadelphia, PA (August 4, 2022) – The National Liberty Museum (NLM) has announced its latest exhibition truth*, the fourth in the Museum’s 2022 series exploring the meaning and practice of liberty today. The exhibition will be installed in the Museum’s lower-level gallery, and will be accompanied by an interactive learning experience and art installations. The multi-part exhibition will be on display from Friday, September 9, 2022 and continues into 2023.

Topical and timely, truth* begins with the premise that truth – how it is defined, by whom and for what purpose – sits at the heart of our seeming cultural and political divides. In an immersive space imagined by an interdisciplinary team of thinkers and creators, the exhibition explores different pathways to truth – science, religion and history, for example – and the many personal and societal forces that shape our perceptions of what is or is not true. Visitors are invited to consider what happens when the compelling power of “Truth” overtakes our natural curiosity and connection to the world around us. Through a series of didactics, interactives and reflection points, visitors will learn and practice actionable skills for navigating our world of hyper-communication and information.

“As we embark on a bold new direction for the Museum, this conceptually focused show is a first for our team,” said Dr. Alaine Arnott, Chief Executive Officer of the National Liberty Museum. “This exhibition and associated programming demonstrates our new desire to tackle today’s issues and to host open and challenging dialogues embracing diversity of thought. truth* is the culmination of a full year of exhibitions and programs that have explored the contemporary meaning and practice of liberty, bringing new ideas to Old City.”
As they enter the exhibition, visitors are introduced to the asterisk in the exhibition’s title as a means of highlighting the subtle but significant difference between “truth” and “Truth.” With a glossary of relevant terms to contextualize their experience and an invitation to proceed with an open mind, visitors are invited to see the search for truth as part of the human condition. A timeline traces philosophical understandings of truth, while a series of testimonies convey the personal significance of truth in religious faith. A section dedicated to technology, media, and politics acknowledges the many forces that influence our understanding of what is true and how they can contribute to feelings of polarization and isolation. The exhibition concludes by asking what is at stake in a world of competing truths and empowers the visitor to see truth as a journey, not a destination, making a case that the search for truth – and an openness to new thoughts and ideas – is fundamental to liberty.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors are introduced to actionable strategies for pursuing truth; these include a small café table where visitors can engage in constructive dialogue with others; a reflection space in which visitors are invited to share their own personal truths; and a take-away “roadmap” to truth, that calls on us all to see truth as a journey. The asterisk appears throughout, reminding visitors to look beyond surface level and be mindful of their own biases and perceptions.

A companion experience in the Liberty Learning Lab features three interactives that call on visitors to employ skills of perception, analysis, and critical thinking. These include a “Truth Investigation Station” and a talk-back wall inviting visitors to share their own strategies for reading and assessing new information.

In addition, two installations by Philadelphia-based artists complementing the exhibition provide opportunities for reflection on truth is our times. Joseph Lazaro Rodriguez, a multidisciplinary artist residing in Philadelphia, uses his personal experiences to create paintings, drawings, sculptures, and large-scale multi-channel video installations. williamCromar, a Philadelphia-based artist hybridizing a variety of media expressions into immersive art experiences, is director of the MakerSpace at Penn State Abington College, where he teaches new media art.
A robust public program will accompany the exhibition, including a line-up of speaker programs and discussions; a voter information session in advance of the upcoming mid-term elections; NLM at Night programs, and a family event. Field trips – onsite and virtual – are available for schools, and teachers can take part in an Educator Open House or download free educator resources to explore media literacy in the classroom.

“Ideas surrounding truth are at the core of our global society’s discourse.,” said Dr. Elizabeth Grant, Chief Program Officer of the National Liberty Museum. “This exhibition and the associated programming invite us all to take a step back and consider how we construct our own understanding of what is – and is not – true. We think this is especially important ahead of our country’s next election cycle and hope to see visitors of voting age join the conversation here at the Museum.”

truth* was created with the input of a panel of expert advisors who provided a foundation for our understanding of truth and the pressing issues and concerns at stake. The Advisory Group includes: Hammam Aldouri, a teacher in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University; Lauren Cristella, the Chief Program Officer of the Committee of Seventy; Lee McIntyre, a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University; Kermit Roosevelt III, the David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania; Jason Steinhauer, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute; and Rachel Zimmerman, the Founding Artistic and Executive Director of InLiquid.

For more information about the exhibition, please visit here.

About the National Liberty Museum
Through robust programs and dynamic exhibitions, the National Liberty Museum illuminates the strength and fragility of liberty and presents the stories of people whose positive actions inspire us to protect and advance liberty for all.

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