March 8, 2010

‘The House Beautiful’ lecture series returns to Evergreen Museum

A trio of illustrated talks by notable experts and authors in the fields of architecture, artistic design and decorative arts comes to Johns Hopkins’ Evergreen Museum & Library over a series of Wednesdays beginning March 24.

The House Beautiful returns for a third season to the intimate, whimsical setting of the museum’s Bakst Theatre, with lectures exploring historic homes that demonstrate a love of the theatrical, through the inclusion of private theaters, the idea of performance or grand theatrics in design.

All talks will begin at 6:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Following each lecture, a reception will be held in the Far East Room gallery, where audience members will have the opportunity to meet with the speakers.

Tickets are $20; $15 Evergreen members and full-time students with valid ID. Series tickets are $48; $32 Evergreen members and full-time students with valid ID. Seats are limited, and early registration is strongly recommended. Tickets are available online through MissionTix at, by phone at 410-516-0341 or in person at the museum. The scheduled talks are as follows:

Keith D. MacKay: ‘Ten Chimneys:

A Design for Living’

Wednesday, March 24

Ten Chimneys, the Wisconsin estate created by Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is unique among the country’s National Historic Landmarks. In pursuit of the perfect retreat, the married couple designed Ten Chimneys the same way they crafted their stage performances—with layer upon layer of meticulous detail. The best of the best in American theater and literature journeyed repeatedly here to rest, rejuvenate and collaborate. Keith D. MacKay, the estate’s director of historic preservation, will lead an exploration of Ten Chimneys’ whimsical interiors and discuss how Ten Chimneys Foundation uses the estate and its collections to inspire today’s visitors to embrace their own “design for living,” a play on the name of the comedy that Noel Coward wrote for Lunt and Fontanne.

Previously assistant director of Historic Savannah Foundation’s Davenport House Museum and a research assistant for the White House Historical Association, MacKay received his master’s degree from the Smithsonian-Corcoran History of the Decorative Arts program. He has two articles, “A House of Feasting: The Corcoran House” and “Caroline Harrison’s Music Room,” forthcoming in the journal White House History.

Susan G. Tripp: ‘Discovering Evergreen: One Degree of Separation’

Wednesday, April 28

Evergreen, the always-theatrical residence of Baltimore’s philanthropic Garrett family, was staffed by a number of former employees of John and Alice Garrett when Susan G. Tripp became curator of art in 1974 for Johns Hopkins, which now operates the house as a museum. In this talk commemorating the 20th anniversary of the mansion’s three-year $4.3 million restoration and opening as a public space, Tripp will address discovering Evergreen’s remarkable array of collections and how their presentation has evolved and changed. She also will reflect on how learning about the Garretts from those who knew them added an invaluable dimension to the restoration.

Tripp is vice president of the Columbia County Historical Society board of trustees and the restoration director of two of its historic sites, the Luykas Van Alen House and the James Vanderpoel House. During her 17-year tenure at Johns Hopkins, Tripp spearheaded the restorations of the university’s historic houses, Homewood and Evergreen, and co-authored The Garrett Collection of Japanese Art: Lacquer, Inro and Netsuke.

Victoria Kastner: ‘The Silver Screen: Hearst Castle and Hollywood’

Wednesday, May 26

William Randolph Hearst is best-known as the press lord who built his vast San Simeon estate (known informally as Hearst Castle and formally as La Cuesta Encantada, or The Enchanted Hill), from 1919 through 1947. He is less well-known as an early film pioneer and the producer of 120 movies. Victoria Kastner, historian at what is now known as Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, will detail the rich social and architectural history of San Simeon’s theater, designed in the 1930s in the spirit of an early movie palace by Hearst and architect Julia Morgan.

Kastner has written and lectured about San Simeon’s land and buildings for nearly 30 years. She is the author of Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House and Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land and also has written about Hearst for London’s Daily Telegraph, the American Institute of Architects and The Magazine Antiques. She has master’s degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara and George Washington University.

The 2010 The House Beautiful lecture series is made possible by sponsorship from the Evergreen Museum & Library Advisory Council.