Harry Ransom Center

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The mission of the Harry Ransom Center is to “advance the study of the arts and humanities.”  Located on the west side of the University of Texas campus, the Ransom Center is primarily an archive and library. The first floor is open to the public and features  two small permanent exhibits: a Gutenberg Bible is on display, one of five complete copies in the US, and also the first photograph, taken in France in 1826 or 1827. Larger, rotating exhibits are assembled from the Center’s extensive collection. Two of my recent favorites have been Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age and The King James Bible: Its History and Influence.

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Their current exhibit, The Making of Gone with the Wind, displays photographs, letters, articles, and other memorabilia related to the famous movie. Much of the exhibit draws upon the Ransom Center’s collection of producer David O. Selznick’s papers. Since the Margaret Mitchell book was already popular before the filming even started, there was much speculation about who would play the various characters, especially Scarlett. Famous scenes, such at the train depot and the burning of Atlanta, involved complicated logistics and new camera techniques.

This was all very interesting, but I was really there to look at the gowns worn by Scarlett (played by Vivian Leigh). Three of the five on display were originals; the other two were reproductions.

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My favorite was the red Ball Gown. However, this one was a reproduction.

IMG_1290This original costume, the Green Wrapper, was quite lavish.

IMG_1289The highlight of the exhibition, the original Curtain Dress, was worn in three scenes.

You can visit The Making of Gone with the Wind through January 4, 2015 or view the corresponding online exhibit.

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