In the second floor Thomas Nast gallery the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum presents more than fifteen examples of original images from the second half of the nineteenth century with the exhibit The Original Thomas Nast. A generous loan by a Nast descendant of original artwork has allowed the Museum to showcase a variety of Nast’s works—from an original oil painting to a copper engraving plate. These rarely viewed paintings and drawings represent a significant departure from traditional perspectives on Nast, and display an aspect of Thomas Nast’s talent that has generally not been recognized—or, more to the point, seen.
Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was America’s leading political cartoonist in the nineteenth century. From the studio in his Morristown, NJ home, Nast created many famous images such as Columbia, Christmas scenes, and life on the battlefield. Nast is known primarily for the many images that he published in Harper’s Weekly from about 1859 to 1887. In addition to his drawings that were ultimately transformed into engravings in nineteenth century newspapers, Nast also painted, drew with pen and ink, and sketched in pencil and crayon.
After an illustrious career in which Nast was instrumental in shaping American political opinion through his cartoons, he shifted focus to painting in his later years. These original pieces of artwork are often very difficult to find, which makes Macculloch Hall’s exhibit, The Original Thomas Nast, particularly unique. The themes illustrated in the images represent important characters popularized by Nast, including his iconic Miss Columbia, Dame Britannia and depictions from the battlefield. As a young adult in l860, Nast was sent by The Illustrated London News and the New York Illustrated News to follow Giuseppe Garibaldi in his war to create a unified Italian nation.
On a lighter note, the exhibit also includes two Christmas images, which Nast loved to draw. It was Nast who helped create the modern American image of Santa Claus. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is proud to offer this exciting exhibit of original works by Thomas Nast.
Macculloch Hall Historical Museum preserves the history of the Macculloch-Miller families, the Morris area community, and the legacy of its founder W. Parsons Todd through its historic site, collections, exhibits, and educational and cultural programs. The Museum is open for house and exhibit tours Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. The last tickets for admission are sold at 3 p.m. Admission is $6 Adults; $5 Seniors; Students 12 years and under and museum members are free. School tours, adult/senior tours and rentals may be scheduled by appointment. For information, call the Museum weekdays at (973) 538-2404, visit our website www.maccullochhall.org or find us on Facebook. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, 45 Macculloch Ave., Morristown, NJ 07960. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is a nonprofit educational affiliate of the W. Parsons Todd Foundation.