June 7th – August 21st, 2011
On Friday evening, June 10, members and guests gathered at the Florence Museum to celebrate the opening of The Van Dam Collection of Rare Textiles. This exhibit is the first showing of several pieces recently donated by private collectors Andries and Linda Van Dam of Camden, SC.
Andries Van Dam, originally from the Netherlands, began collecting by way of being a dealer of antiques and fine art. Some of the pieces now at the Florence Museum have been part of the Van Dam’s collection for almost 40 years.
“There are some impressive works in the Van Dam collection,” said museum curator, Stephen Motte, “… too interesting not to be seen. An exhibit had to happen.”
One such piece, a costume from West Africa, stands on a platform in the museum’s main gallery. The costume is painted and printed to look like a leopard and was used by the Senufo people in ritual dances associated with the practice of divination.
In addition to textiles, the exhibit features several objects on loan from the Van Dams, including a copper axe and two silver ankle bracelets from the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
During a speech delivered at the reception, Andries Van Dam spoke about an experience he had as a child going with his father to see a performance by the famous Nobel laureate and organist Albert Schweitzer. He emphasized the importance of cultural learning, especially for children, and expressed his happiness about choosing the Florence Museum as, “a new home,” for his textile collection.