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Orient Express

Filthy-rich people show off their fancy Asian souvenirs.

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The exotic locales of 19th-century Asia come to life in Adventures Along the Silk Road: A Taste of the Orient, now on view at the University of Akron’s Hower House. The exhibit features dozens of souvenirs collected by Akron’s Hower family during their frequent trips to the Far East over the past century. The keepsakes range from silk wall hangings and copper gongs from China to hand fans and rose-medallion dinnerware from Japan. There’s even a 24-inch-tall “foo dog” statue that once guarded the clan’s mansion.

Back in the day, Milton Hower ran several local corporations, including a cereal-manufacturing business that became part of the Quaker Oats Company. To keep up with their affluent friends, he and his wife would fill their 28-room manor with treasures collected on their overseas trips. “People who had the money, means, and time traveled,” says Linda Bussey, assistant director of the Hower House. “[There was an] aesthetic movement to collect an eclectic blend of furnishings and textiles. It was a show of wealth.”
Sundays, 1-4 p.m.; Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-3:30 p.m. Starts: June 3. Continues through Sept. 2

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