New exhibition invites public to “Join” the Collecting Conversations at Stark Museum of Art

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Special to The Leader

One family, three generations, timeless treasures…The Stark Museum of Art presents

Collecting Conversations, a new exhibition, opening August 6, 2016, that invites the public to connect with the Collection of the Stark and Lutcher family in unique and interesting ways.

Everyone collects something. People buy keepsakes to remind them of their travels. They keep treasures to pass down through their families. Some seek objects that can teach them about the world. Others collect items that are valuable, beautiful, rare, or quirky. Such “stuff” tells stories, sometimes about the objects, sometimes about the collector and often about both.

The Starks and the Lutchers of Orange, Texas collected “stuff” just like other families, obtaining many types of objects for a variety of reasons. Although known for collecting fine art and rare books, they also collected objects that reflected who they were as people. Collecting Conversations explores objects the family collected for beauty, history, knowledge, and simply, self-expression. This exhibition encourages Museum guests to follow the collecting styles of three generations of one family and allow this experience to prompt them to think about what they collect and why they collect it. The public is invited to “join the conversation” and consider what stories their “stuff” tells.

Upon arriving at the Stark Museum of Art, guests will be met in the lobby by three beautifully restored automobiles: a 1922 Ford Model T Runabout Truck, and a 1911 Hupp Motor Car Company Roadster, Hupmobile, both used by the Stark family on their ranch in Colorado, as well as a 1950 Crosley Super Sport, owned by H.J. Lutcher Stark.

The exhibition includes items collected by Frances Ann Robinson Lutcher, (1841-1924) Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark, (1859-1936) and by Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark (1887-1965). Included are a silver pitcher, a bronze sculpture, brilliant cut glass, china, pottery, Navajo weavings, jewelry, paintings, and rare books.

A closer look reveals insight into H.J. Lutcher Stark’s collecting methods through a group of Hennings paintings, and Miriam’s interest in lace, as well as brilliant cut glass by T.G. Hawkes and Pairpoint Manufacturing.

Also on view are rare books of historic and intellectual importance by John Milton, Charlotte Bronte and John James Audubon. Guests may enjoy getting to know the “purse-onality” of the female family members with a look at their beautiful and decorative purses and all are likely to appreciate the display of 134 fun and quirky blown eggs, decorated to resemble famous historical figures!

The exhibition also features two loaned books from the Miriam Lutcher Stark Library, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin: A first edition King James Bible and Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies. Published according to the true original copies.

Additionally, Collecting Conversations allows the public to get to know the Lutcher and Stark family in a new and personal way in a special hallway exhibition, Treasures & Trinkets: Collections from the Archive, featuring items that belonged to family members that have never been exhibited before. These items help tell stories about the history of the family, the community, and even the nation. Included are such objects as Lutcher Stark’s notepads, a collection of his favorite number, “13” and gardening notes regarding Shangri La Gardens.

Also included are items from Lutch’s Boys, Bengal Lancers, and the Bengal Guards, all student organizations founded by Mr. Stark. Family Bibles, travel souvenirs, postcards, automotive items, University of Texas memorabilia and memories of Miriam Stark’s participation in the area Shakespeare Club fill the hallway cases. Lutcher’s grandfather, John T. Stark carried a diary notebook as a Civil War soldier and this, along with his father’s pistols, are featured in the hallway as well.


Stark Museum of Art offerings for the fall reflect the Collecting Conversations theme.


August 6 at 9 a.m.

Collecting Conversations opens


August 6 from 2 p.m.- 3 p.m.

Collecting and Care: Disaster Recovery

Held at The W.H. Stark House, special guests from Heritage House


September 10 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Adult Studio Art Workshop: Watercolor Painting*

Get e-tickets at, special guest artist Shirley Marshall

$35/Adults; $25/Members


September 17 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Favorite Things Family Day

FREE for all ages!


September 24 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Smithsonian Museum Day Live!*

Register online at


October 6 from 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Members’ Exclusive Event: Out of the Box*

See the glass case lifted from Audubon’s double elephant folio

The Birds of America & view incredible special pages


October 14 from 10 a.m.. – 11 a.m.

SMA Playdate: Icky, Sticky Glue*

Register online at


October 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

CREATE! Workshop: If You Build It…*

Register online at


October 22 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Collecting and Care: Cars

Held at Stark Museum of Art, special guests Darin Rosenblad & Fred Thompson


November 5 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Autumn Fair – Shangri La Gardens


November 11 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Teacher Workshop: Exhibit This!*


December 3 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Adult Studio Art Workshop:Paper Marbling*

Get e-tickets at, special guest artist Tony Vela

$35/Adults; $25/Members


*Advanced registration needed

For details or registration information one may contact 409.221.6685 or visit

Admission to the Stark Museum of Art is currently free until September 3, 2016, as part of a free summer admission program for Stark Museum of Art and Shangri La Gardens.