Peace medals theme of exhibit, book

Gilcrease Museum exhibition opens Dec. 4
Published : 12/01/11
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On Dec. 4, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Okla., will open “Peace Medals: Symbols of Influence and Prestige,” a new temporary exhibition that explores the historical importance of Indian peace medals in America.  

The exhibition will close April 1. A book is being published in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit.  
The exhibit draws from the collection of peace medals assembled by museum founder Thomas Gilcrease. 
The Gilcrease holdings also provide historic paintings and photographs of important American Indian chiefs wearing identifiable medals. The portraits of Cunne Shote and Syacust Ukah, two Cherokee chiefs who traveled to London to meet with King George III in 1762, are treasures of the museum and striking examples of 18th century portraiture, according to officials of the museum.  
A few rare items from other institutions, such as the American Numismatic Society, the National Portrait Gallery, the Missouri Historical Society, the Oklahoma History Museum and Woolaroc Museum, will also be displayed.  
One of the Woolaroc Museum medals, an oval, hand-engraved 1792 George Washington medal, is featured. In examining the Woolaroc specimen for his article in the accompanying book, numismatist George Fuld discovered that the Woolaroc specimen bears the hallmark of a previously unknown silversmith.  
Companion to the exhibition, the hardcover book, Peace Medals: Negotiating Power in Early America, provides a more in-depth look at some of the topics. Numismatists, anthropologists and historians have authored the eight illustrated articles in the book.  
Peace Medals looks into the stories behind the medals and provides context for understanding their importance. Articles in the book address topics such as precursors to peace medals; the medals of Louis XV; medals given by Louis Philippe of France to Indian dancers who accompanied American painter George Catlin in 1845; Tomás Prieto’s Al Mérito Spanish medals; and the history of Keokuck, an important Sauk and Fox chief, to whom at least four medals were presented during his long and distinguished career.  
The cover of the book features a portrait titled Cunne Shote, Cherokee Chief, painted by Francis Parsons in 1762. The Cherokees were recognized as a sovereign nation by the British before the American Revolution.  
Medals featured on the book’s cover include:
• George Washington engraved oval medal, 1792 
• Louis XV Honos et Virtu silver medal, circa 1720s to 1750s 
• George III Proclamation medal  
• Carlos III Al Mérito silver medal 
Priced at $19.95, Peace Medals: Negotiating Power in Early America can be purchased by contacting the Gilcrease Museum Store by telephone at 918-596-2725 or by fax at 918-596-2727. It also is available through the University of Oklahoma Press ( 
For more information about the Gilcrease Museum, visit the museum website at ■
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