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Reece Museum

The Center for Appalachian Studies & Services

Current Exhibits at the Reece Museum


  • (detail)Paradise 32 - Preparation of the last prayer by Salvador Dali

    Salvador Dalí and the Divine Comedy, Part III: Paradise

  • Postcard image of a house repeating, with the text " Find the Pattern and Break it" in top left corner.

    Find the Pattern and Break it

  • Sandburg giving a speech at Harvard.

    On the Radio: the Poetry of Carl Sandburg



Salvador Dalí and the Divine Comedy, Part III: Paradise­


Salvador Dalí and the Divine Comedy, Part III: Paradise, April 3-June 15, 2018, is the final installment of a three-year Reece Museum celebration of Dalí’s series based on Dante Alighieri’s narrative poem masterpiece. A panel discussion and opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 5, from 5-8 p.m. The panel discussion, entitled Dalí’s Divine Illustrations, will feature guest of honor and donor of the Dalí prints Dr. Frank Barham; ETSU Literature and Language Professor Dr. Josh Reid; and ETSU Adjunct Professor in the Department of Art and Design Sam Boven.

On Thursday, April 12 from 12 noon to 1 p.m., Rieppe Moore, a student in the Department of Literature and Language, will recite three original poems inspired by Dali’s illustrations. Entitled Dante to Dali: Ekphrastic Poetry, Moore has written one poem on each of the three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy: “Inferno,” “Purgatory,” and “Paradise.”

“Paradise,” the third section (or canticle) of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century poem, is an allegorical telling of Dante as he ascends through the nine celestial spheres of Paradise or Heaven. Depicted as a series of spheres surrounding the Earth, “Paradise” consists of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, the Primum Mobile, and the Empyrean. As Dante ascends through the various spheres, he converses with great saints including Saint Peter, John, and even Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The first seven spheres of “Paradise” deal with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, and Temperance. The eighth sphere, the Fixed Stars, contains the souls of those who achieve the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. In classical, medieval, and Renaissance astronomy, Primum Mobile, is the furthest or outermost moving sphere in the geocentric model of the universe. This sphere holds the angels who have never been tainted by original sin. Finally, the Empyrean or tenth sphere, is a region beyond physical existence and contains the very essence of God.

In 2016, the Reece Museum displayed Salvador Dalí and the Divine Comedy Part I: Inferno and in the spring of 2017, the second installment, Part II: Purgatory. The two previous sections, “Inferno” and “Purgatory,” are based on various classifications of sin. That said, “Purgatory,” and “Paradise” each contains 33 subsections (or cantos) while “Inferno,” the first section (or canticle), contains an additional canto to serve as an introduction to the entire poem.

Between 2014 and 2017, Dr. Frank Barham donated 96 of the 100 prints of the Divine Comedy to ETSU. He has since donated the additional four prints to complete the “Paradise” section. A graduate of ETSU, Dr. Barham earned his medical degree from the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. After practicing medicine for some time, he then earned a master’s degree in health services administration from St. Francis University and worked as a hospital administrator. Later, he earned a master’s degree in medical humanities, majoring in bioethics, at Drew University where he also studied for a Doctor of Letters degree in ethics.

Additionally, Barham is the author of a number of books: Saving the World One Dog at a Time; Puppy Love; The Religious Right is Wrong: The Ethics of Religion; and a novel, Milk and Murder, to name a few. Simultaneously, he expanded his interests to sculpture and found representation at 14 commercial galleries. His sculptures are also part of the collections at the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island and the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art.

Barham, who now lives in Center City, Philadelphia, sought a permanent home for his Dalí works when the time came to downsize his collection. He decided East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum seemed like the perfect place because of his personal ties to the university and the region.

The Reece Museum is located on the campus of East Tennessee State University and is free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibition or events, please call 423-439-4392 or visit

Find the Pattern and Break It, an exhibition of work from ETSU Master of Fine Arts candidates will be on display April 11 through May 4, 2018. A reception for the event will be held April 19, 2018, from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. with over 20 works from 11 artists spanning across several different mediums. Featuring work from first-year MFAs Kehren Barbour, Ross Byrd, Ashley Gregg, Nicholas Raynolds, Larry Reid, Meg Roussos, and Brittany Sparks; second-year MFAs Alice Salyer and Jordan Whitten; and third-year MFAs Bradley Marshall and Maria Risner.

On the Radio: The Poetry of Carl Sandburg, curated by Dr. Scott Honeycutt is on display at ETSU’s Reece Museum through May 18. The exhibition explores the work of poet Carl Sandburg, especially his radio recordings. A free and open to the public talk entitled Carl Sandburg on the Radio will be presented by Dr. Honeycutt on Thursday, April 26 at 4:00 p.m. The event will feature music by Patrick Spencer and a special guest appearance by Carl Sandburg. A reception will be held following the talk.

On the Radio: The Poetry of Carl Sandburg utilizes both Reece Museum’s and Dr. Scott Honeycutt’s collection of radios, along with other items from the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. The exhibit showcases the life and work of Carl Sandburg as well as features popular radio models from the twentieth century.  Sandburg is most well-known for his Chicago Poems (1916), his Pulitzer Prize winning biography on Abraham Lincoln (1939) and his poetic magnum opus, The People, Yes (1936). In 1945, he and his family bought the estate named Connemara in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

From the early 1920s until the mid-1950s, radio existed as the primary source of electronic mass medium. Before the advent of television, radio personalities such as Norman Corwin provided listeners with dramatic retellings of written works. With the backing of big name studios such as CBS and NBC, both radio hosts and poets like Sandburg were given a platform in which poetry could take the center stage, and millions of Americans would gather around their radios each week to tune in.

Scott Honeycutt holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Georgia State University. Honeycutt teaches in the Department of Literature and Language at ETSU. The design and cultural significance of radios caught the attention of Dr. Honeycutt in 1998 when he bought his first antique radio. Since then he has added over ten radios to his collection six of which are featured in the exhibition. Like many literature teachers, Honeycutt first encountered to Sandburg through reading his poetry. Dr. Honeycutt confided that “My hope for this exhibition is that interest in Sandburg’s poetry will be resuscitated for students here at ETSU. After all, he lived only an hour away from the main campus for over twenty years – that makes him practically an Appalachian poet, right?”

As visitors explore the exhibition, we welcome them to consider how spoken language has the power to entertain and inspire. Imagine past generations huddled around the radio, listening to the wonderful world of poetry.

The Reece Museum is located on the campus of East Tennessee State University and is free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibition or events, please call 423-439-4392 or visit




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