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The Gilded Years: The First Information Age

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The Breakers 44 Ochre Point Ave
Newport, RI 02840
April 20, 2023 6:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Tickets on sale March 1
  • Live at the Great Hall of The Breakers and via Zoom video conference
  • Virtual attendance is available, you will receive your zoom link 24 hours in advance
  • Please arrive at The Breakers in time to be seated for the Lecture
  • Advance registration required.
Ticket Type Price
Single Program Purchase: in-person $20
Single Program Purchase: in-person, Members $15
Zoom: Single Program (members and non-members) $10
Zoom: all 6 lectures $50

The Information Age was introduced with the advent of the computer in the second half of the 20th century. But long before that, new technologies (the telegraph, phonograph, photography and even the sewing machine), were revolutionizing communication, connecting and shrinking the world, and creating the vast fortunes which define the Gilded Age. Matthew Bird will discuss the technologies involved, the fascinating accidents of progress and the people responsible, and will explore how the real Information Age was actually a 19th-century phenomenon.

Event thumbnail photo credit: Standard Home Phonograph. T.A. Edison, c. 1900.

Matthew Bird, Industrial Design Faculty, Rhode Island School of Design

Matthew Bird brings his professional experience as a product and exhibition designer into the classroom at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he teaches design and design history. His knowledge of manufacturing techniques and materials informs his teaching and writing about design history. He also curates exhibitions that introduce design to fine-art museums and their public.

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