Please join us at The Peale for the opening reception for Founding Fossils!

Conceived of by Dr. Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, a Baltimore-based archaeologist and accessibility consultant, this multisensory exhibit will include 3D-printed versions of the fossils originally collected by the Peales and early American leaders. The replicas can be touched and experienced by sighted and blind visitors alike.

Dr. Fogle-Hatch has been working with Dr. Bernard Means, an archaeologist with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Virtual Curator Laboratory, who has scanned all of these fossils now in the collections at the Maryland Center for History and Culture.

The exhibition will interweave replicas of the mastodon fossils with selected panels from a graphic novel series imagined by Dr. Means and VCU artist Maggie Colangelo. In 2021, they published Founding Monsters, an innovative comic book about the surprising role that archaeology played in the politics and understanding of species extinction at the dawn of the United States. It was quickly followed by a second comic, Founding Monster Tales, to expand on the stories and themes that had attracted the most interest in the first book, including that of Moses Williams, the silhouette artist and exhibit preparator who was born enslaved to Charles Willson Peale as the American Revolution began.

To bring the graphic novel to life, VCU student and artist Anna Carter is sculpting various elements associated with the Founding Monsters comics, making the 2D drawings into a 3D tactile experience. The sculptures are 3D scanned and 3D printed to enhance the tactile aspects of the exhibit. These include busts of Charles Willson Peale and the Comte de Buffon, a French naturalist whose theories Peale’s excavation of mastodon skeletons disproved, as well as various elements in Peale’s paintings, including his Exhumation of the Mastodon, the seminal work of American art that is in the collection of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. Carter has also sculpted Ice Age animals known to the founding fathers, including a “Jefferson” ground sloth, first studied by Thomas Jefferson.

Founding Fossils is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council ( and Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Add to Calendar 20240519 America/New_York 225 Holliday Street Baltimore MD 21202 Founding Fossils