Students in History of Art class create exhibition with Johnson Museum

Tue, 04/13/2021

In Curatorial Practicum, ARTH 4110/ 6010, students work with Professor Samuels and with Curator, Nancy Green to create an exhibition, The Power of Portrayal: Envisioning Women's Representation.

H.F.Johnson Museum Link

Envisioning Women's Representation Exhibition Link

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote, this fall 2020 course explored visual and literary material surrounding women’s engagement in United States politics over the past two centuries and combined the expertise of museum curators, campus librarians, and professors in politics and cultural studies. The seminar was co-taught by Professor Shirley Samuels in the Department of English and Nancy E. Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of European and American Art, Prints and Drawings, 1800–1945, at the Johnson Museum.


Drawing from the Johnson Museum’s holdings and material at the Cornell University Library, students were encouraged to explore the politics of display, museum interventions and institutional critique in the process of developing their own on-line exhibition. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts we were able to expand our scope through discussions with guest speakers Mary Chapman, author of Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (OUP, 2014); Allison Lange, author of Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement (Chicago, 2020); archivists/historians Elaine Engst and Carol Kammen, co-authors of Achieving Beulah Land: The Long Struggle for Suffrage in Tompkins County, New York (Cornell, 2019); and Kate LeMay, curator at the National Portrait Gallery and author of Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence (Princeton, 2019). In addition, each student kept a diary following their personal trajectory over an unprecedented semester with hybrid classes due to the pandemic, limited social interactions, and a political year like no other. Some of these will join the permanent collection of student diaries in Cornell’s Kroch Library.

detail from webpage linked, red tan with shadows