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Clash of Empires Opens

OEC’s Special Exhibitions Division (SED) opened Clash of Empires: The British, French and Indian War, 1754-1763 on December 15. Truly a collaborative effort, the exhibit was originally organized by the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center (a Smithsonian Affiliate), in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution and the Canadian War Museum/Museum of Civilization. The exhibit opened in Pittsburgh and traveled to Ottawa before coming to the Smithsonian’s International Gallery.

The exhibition marks the 250th anniversary of the British, French, and Indian War and explores this 3-sided struggle for North America and its effects worldwide. It tells the story of the war that gave 22-year-old George Washington his first taste of military experience and set American colonists on the road to revolution. Clash of Empires features nearly 300 rare artifacts on loan from 63 lenders around the world and nine life-like models of historic figures from the conflict.

SED worked with the Heinz History Center for over a year and a half on the logistics of bringing this complex show to Washington.

The exhibition was originally to close on March 15, but due to strong visitorship, it will remain on view through Sunday, July 15, 2007.

top photo: This life figure, representing an anonymous French Officer at the capitulation of New France in September 1760, was created by Gerry Embleton. Photograph by Ken Rahaim.

middle photo: Andy Masich, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, which operates the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, gives a tour of Clash of Empires at the opening. Photograph by Ken Rahaim.

bottom photo: General Johnson Saving a Wounded French Officer from the Tomahawk of an Indian by Benjamin West, is exhibited for the first time in North America. Courtesy of Derby Art Museums and Gallery, UK

Other high-resolution images of objects in the exhibit can be seen at the Smithsonian Newsdesk.

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