The art history majors spent June
and July doing primary-source research
at the Packwood House Museum in
Lewisburg, after taking a course last
fall semester that explored how the
West has historically perceived other
cultures. Topics covered in the class
taught by Professor Janice Mann, art
& art history, included what it meant
for Europeans to collect non-European
objects in their homes and the role of
female curators in the United States.
Mann’s students visited the Packwood
House, former home of Edith
Fetherston, Class of 1905, M1908.
An inveterate U.S. and international
traveler, Fetherston collected objects
from her many journeys to employ as
motifs in her original paintings.
Finding Fetherston intriguing, the
three students seized the chance to
spend the summer creating a digital
collection to help others learn more
about this painter whose work was
shown in New York City.
The students delved into Fetherston’s
life, examining boxes of postcards,
photos and stencils she used for her
paintings, as well as correspondence she
had with the Smithsonian Institution
about objects the museum was
“Researching in the archives is like
weaving a pattern,” says Adams. “It’s
like nothing I’ve ever experienced —
every day is a hunt. Each document
drastically changed my opinion of what
I think was important to her.”
As their work progressed, the
students began to feel like stewards of
Fetherston’s story. “We were reading
her letters, going through her house,
her bedroom, bathroom, closets —
so we saw this side of her that’s very
personal,” Senackerib says.
To support their research, Adams and
Senackerib received Bucknell Program
for Undergraduate Research grants,
while Reeve’s funding came via an
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation faculty
research grant awarded to Mann through
Library & Information Technology. BR
What is it like to spend the summer sitting in a muggy, third-floor museum archive looking through old letters, postcards and paintings? To Nicole Adams ’ 18, Rebecca Reeve ’ 17 and Ariel Senackerib ’ 17 it’s
like being on an intellectual treasure hunt.
Stewarding the Story
Trio of art history majors delves into the archive of an artistic Bucknell alumna.
By Paula Cogan Myers
The interns and Professor Janice Mann sort through
photos and other artifacts in the Packwood House archives
with the museum’s Jennifer Snyder. From left, facing
camera: Ariel Senackerib ’ 17, Mann and Nicole Adams ’ 18.
Back to camera: Rebecca Reeve ’ 17 and Snyder.