Rules of Civility

This sculptural installation extended throughout the first and second floors of the historic Powel House in Philadelphia, combining sculptural, textual, and auditory elements with objects from the museum's collection. It was based upon the life and times of Elizabeth Willing, who was the wife of Samuel Powel, the mayor of Philadelphia both before and after the Ameriican Revolution.


The Powels were avid entertainers and hosted guests such as George and Martha Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayette.


Hydrostone casts of shoes, writing implements and books were interspersed with both original artifacts and their reproductions. Each book was printed with selections from a period ladies manual — Eliza Leslie’s Behaviour Book and images of Elizabeth.


A soft female voice reciting manners appropriate to each room could be heard emanating from the fireplaces.

Listen to a sample audio track from Rules of Civility:

"The Dining Room"

All artwork on this site © Virginia Maksymowicz.

Most photographs are by Blaise Tobia or Virginia Maksymowicz

other photos are credited.

Some works are collaborative.

Some permissions for use and distribution

available through a Creative Commons License

Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs 3.0