The date Aug. 31, 1997 may not trigger your memory quite like Nov. 22, 1963 or Sept. 11, 2001.
But if you think back to a time when British royalty ruled the public eye, you might recall a veil of mourning covering the earth that day, with the untimely passing of â€œThe Peopleâ€™s Princess.â€
Now, 15 years since Diana Spencerâ€™s death at the age of 36, the Princess of Wales continues to captivate audiences, who look to her as a glorified example of grace and compassion.
In 2004, the world gained a greater glimpse into Dianaâ€™s enthralling public and private life with the award-winning traveling exhibition, â€œDiana: A Celebration.â€ Organized by Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI) in association with the Althorp Estate â€“ the Spencer familyâ€™s 500-year-old ancestral home â€“ the exhibit will make its latest stop inside the Frazier History Museum on Sept. 15, after visiting such places as Toronto, Budapest, and, most recently, Mall of America.
â€œThe objects (of the exhibit) themselves were organized or put together by Charles, (Dianaâ€™s) brother, and the rest of the family,â€ said John Norman, president of AEI. â€œEvery summer the (Althorp Estate) is open to the public for two months, and they put these objects together to have an exhibition. The rest of the year they wonâ€™t do anything with it, and the idea was to take those objects and create a touring exhibit.â€
The 7,500 square foot exhibition examines the lifespan of one of the most photographed women in history. Explored through nine galleries, youâ€™ll witness Dianaâ€™s many roles, from young school girl to reserved kindergarten teacher, mother of two, advocate and stunning bride fit for a king. Galleries will feature 150 personal pieces, such as rare home videos, childhood photos, 28 of Dianaâ€™s designer dresses and her iconic diamond tiara, veil and illustrious wedding gown, with its 25-foot-long train, worn the day she married Charles, Prince of Wales.
â€œ(Itâ€™s) probably the worldâ€™s most famous wedding dress,â€ said Director of PR and Marketing at The Frazier History Museum, Krista Snider. â€œPeople will be able to get pretty close to it. Weâ€™ve all seen the wedding … and I donâ€™t think you can really appreciate the detail and the craftsmanship of the dress on TV (like you can in person).â€
While celebrating her life, the exhibit also captures the melancholic air of Aug. 31, 1997 and its subsequent consequences, through an original text of the Earl Spencerâ€™s emotional tribute to his sister at her Westminster AbbeyÂ funeral and the score and lyrics of â€œCandle in the Wind 1997â€ by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
Books of condolence and space for reflection and remembrance also allow exhibit attendees to pay homage to the princess and appreciate her lasting significance.
â€œWe have a condolence book at the end of the exhibition and people can write what they thought of (the exhibit),â€ said Norman. â€œAnd itâ€™s interesting to read what people say â€¦ some people are fascinated with her childhood â€¦ and then some people are fascinated with the fashion. … You have the first dress she wore when she was 19 at a dinner with Charles, and then youâ€™ve got the last dress that she wore a month before she died in the car. So itâ€™s very interesting to see the transition she made in her lifetime.â€
The renowned â€œDiana: A Celebrationâ€ has averaged 100,000 visitors at previous venues, and is anticipated to bring in a Louisville crowd of fans, young and old, along with a new generation just learning of the royal legend. The exhibit will also help further the Frazier Museumâ€™s effort to make fundamental changes to its vision, in order to become a more comprehensive history museum.
â€œI think people are starting to get the idea that the Frazier Museum has changed and broadened its mission,â€ said Snider. â€œWeâ€™re a history museum and Diana is a historical figure â€¦ Someone who really changed the way we see the royal family and the way we interact with people who have AIDS . â€¦ This is someone who really left a legacy behind; she wasnâ€™t just a pretty face.â€
â€œDiana: A Celebrationâ€ will run through Jan. 13, 2013 at The Frazier Museum, 829 W. Main St. Admission, which is optional, and Frazier Museum permanent gallery access is $21.50 for adults (ages 15 to 59); $19.50 for seniors (60 and up) and $10 for children (4-14); children 3 and under are free. Online and phone service fees will apply. Special rates forÂ museum members, who receive early ticket access, and group rates are available.Â
For information onÂ â€œDianaâ€ group packagesÂ with the Galt House, call 502.753.5663. Museum hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday until 8 p.m.Â
â€˜A Royal Evening Honoring Dianaâ€™
Receive an exclusive preview of â€œDiana: A Celebrationâ€ inside the Frazier Museum at â€œA Royal Evening Honoring Diana,â€ Friday, Sept. 14. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., youâ€™ll savor a three-course, plated dinner (vegetarian option available), an open bar, decadent dessert and a trio of live musical performances within a posh, contemporary atmosphere styled exclusively by Bittners LLC. Cost is $300. To purchase tickets, call 502.753.5670 or visit www.fraziermuseum.org.
â€˜Knight for a Princessâ€™
Party in royal fashion on Sept. 15 at â€œKNight for a Princess,â€ featuring DJ Prism and Syimone. One free drink and appetizers are included with admission. Among the activities planned for the evening are sword fighting demonstrations, a Royal/British-themed costume contest with cash prize and entrance into â€œDiana: A Celebration.â€ Tickets are $50 for members; $60 for non-members for this 21 and older event. A portion of proceeds will benefit House of Ruth, a nonprofit community-based organization caring for families and individuals with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Purchase tickets at www.fraziermuseum.org or call 502.753.5663.
For more upcoming events related to the exhibition, visit www.fraziermuseum.org.
For more information on â€œDiana: A Celebration,â€ visit www.dianaexhibition.com. For tickets, call 888.71.842.5387.
All object images are courtesy of Althorp Estate.
All gallery images are courtesy of Arts and Exhibitions International.