The Shelburne Museum and the Costs of Collecting

September 22, 2017

The collection of Electra Havemeyer Webb, now housed at the Shelburne Museum, is one of the most wide-ranging—and at times, eccentric—collections that we have encountered on our field studies. From a 2000+ piece collection of circus miniatures to a full-sized steamboat housed on its property, the Shelburne Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Webb’s collecting interests. The WPAMC Class of 2018 poses for a photo outside of the Shelburne ...

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Religious New England

September 20, 2017

Historic houses of worship tell important stories, often touching on issues like immigration and politics in addition to religious history. Two contrasting sites we visited in Boston, King’s Chapel and the Vilna Shul, illustrated the unique significance of historic religious sites that are still actively used by their congregations, and the contributions of such sites to their broader communities today. King’s Chapel exterior, as viewed from ...

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“Gauguin as Alchemist” at the Art Institute of Chicago

September 18, 2017

Over Labor Day weekend, I visited the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Thorne Miniature Rooms. While there, I also purchased a ticket to see the museum’s newest exhibit – "Gauguin as Alchemist." The exhibit sought to show the versatility in Gauguin’s artwork, highlighting his work outside of painting. Ceramics, textiles, wood, and prints were all among the media that he used over the course of his career. Coming from an interest in material ...

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Please Touch! Prompting Visitors’ Interactions with Each Other

September 15, 2017

During our trips, as WPAMC Fellows, we are not the typical museum visitors. We are often granted privileged access to objects and museum staff. In other words, we often are allowed to touch objects and openly discuss ideas in spaces that traditionally do not encourage this type of behavior. While I appreciate this type of access, during our class trips to museums, especially the summer Northern Trip, I noticed and appreciated instances where museums broke ...

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