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Visual Conversations: Looking and Listening

The Art Museum of West Virginia University announces a lecture by David G. Wilkins and Ann Thomas Wilkins, eyewitnesses to the 1966 Florence Flood.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, at noon in the Grand Hall of the Museum Education Center.

Professors David G. Wilkins and Ann Thomas Wilkins were "Mud Angels"—volunteers in the recovery efforts following the1966 devastating flood in Florence, Italy, one of the world’s great cultural centers. The worst flood in over 400 years took 101 lives as the Arno River burst over its banks and flooded the great Renaissance city, submerging churches, museums, homes and businesses in over 20 feet of roaring water, mud and debris.  The damage to works of art and rare books was catastrophic, and as the laborious job of recovery began, many artists and organizations from around the world began to help. 

David Wilkins and Ann Wilkins will discuss their impressions of the disaster, show photos of the devastation, and recount their experiences drying books and distributing aid to the Florentines after the flood.  They are known in West Virginia as the co-authors of the critically-acclaimed WVU Press book on Cass Gilbert's West Virginia State Capitol.  Retired from their positions in the Art History Department at the University of Pittsburgh (David) and the Classics Department at Duquesne University (Ann), they continue to teach a course regularly at the Duquesne campus in Rome, Italy. The lecture is free and open to the public.