Welcome to Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom.

Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Imagining Freedom is a virtual exhibition that explores the history and enduring legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s concept of the Four Freedoms.  The exhibition also highlights the important role played by Norman Rockwell and other American artists in communicating and advancing these universal values.

America had not yet entered World War II in January 1941 when President Roosevelt introduced the idea of Four Freedoms as the core human rights that all people deserve. Americans would need to preserve these freedoms in the face of the threat presented by the rise of fascism: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

It would be the job of America’s artists to turn President Roosevelt’s abstract ideas into unforgettable images. Chief among these artists was Norman Rockwell, whose series of paintings became a national sensation, inspiring Americans then and now.

Organized chronologically the exhibition begins in Depression era America and explores how Roosevelt’s words and Rockwell’s artworks became inseparable in the public imagination. The exhibition goes on to look at Rockwell’s work of the 1960s. These Civil Rights Era paintings reflect Rockwell’s longstanding commitment to tolerance and equality and show him grappling with the new social issues of the day.  The final section of the exhibition asks contemporary artists to consider what freedom and democracy mean to them today.

Imagining Freedom brings together over 400 artworks and objects organized into 8 thematic galleries. Viewers can explore layers of content drawn from the Museum’s collections and archives, including audio and video, reference photographs and studies, interviews, historical documents, letters and artist’s statements.

To navigate the virtual exhibition:

Use the menu at the left, the map at the bottom, or move your cursor through the galleries to explore on your own. Click on the Introduction in each gallery for a general overview on the themes and content. Further information about every work on view can be found by selecting the object and choosing from a menu of options. More specific instructions on how to use this experience can be found by clicking on the (?) button at the top right.

We hope you enjoy Norman Rockwell Museum’s first-ever virtual exhibition.

Exhibition Curators:

Stephanie Haboush Plunkett – Chief Curator, Norman Rockwell Museum
James J. Kimble, Ph.D. – Professor of Communication, Seton Hall University

Exhibition Supporters: