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Five (or More) Things We Could Do at the Norton That You Couldn’t Do at Home

A catalog of wonders in Shreveport

Published: August 30, 2019
Last Updated: December 1, 2019

Five (or More) Things We Could Do at the Norton That You Couldn’t Do at Home

R.W. Norton Art Gallery

Luristan bronze sword, ca. 9th–7th century BCE.

In any museum, there are wonders to be found: beautiful scenes of places you’ve never been and in some cases never could go (check the surrealists), sculptures that capture the many marvels of the human form, textiles of intricate beauty barely faded from the centuries. But the really special museums showcase palpable evidence of the mystique of past times and lives. Which is why, at the R W Norton Art Gallery, we can do things that you could never do at home. 

For instance, we could duel with a Luristan sword almost three thousand years old. The Lurs were a tribal people who lived in the western mountains of what is now Iran. Renowned for their bronze work, they crafted the weapon on display in our Origins of Western Art Gallery sometime between the ninth and seventh centuries BCE. This sword likely belonged to one of the Luristan mercenaries who served in the Persian military under conquerors like Darius I. If we preferred to duel with a more modern weapon, we could use one of the guns from the infamous John Dillinger’s last shoot-out, part of the Norton’s firearms collection. 

Should our pursuits tend more to pacific pastimes, we could enrich our spiritual lives by reading from (and enjoying the marvelous miniatures of) our fourteenth-century book of hours. Created by monks or nuns between 1350 and 1390, the Norton’s beautiful prayer book passed through the hands of both King Louis XI of France and Saint Francis de Paul before it found its way to our Candle in the Dark: Art in the Medieval Period Gallery.  

If our passions direct us more toward American history, we could enjoy a veritable feast of activity. From our Living in America Gallery, we could set our table with candlesticks once purchased by George and Martha Washington, serve our tea in a pot crafted by Paul Revere, and use a silver mug also made by the famous horseman to drink cider poured from a china pitcher given by our third president, Thomas Jefferson, to our sixth president, John Quincy Adams. And, in the midst of this Founding Father mania, if we really got ambitious (and actually had a laboratory with the proper equipment), we could clone George Washington from the lock of his hair contained within the back of one of our miniatures featuring the father of our country.”  

Whet your appetite for this Northwest Louisiana treasure hoard at rwnaf.org.