A Progress Report

January is a good time to reflect on accomplishments and think about future goals. Sure, most people do this around December 31-January 1, but I like to think of the whole month as an introduction to the new year. I started this blog just over a year ago–and the entire Wisconsin decorative arts project more than two years ago–so I wanted to take some time to recap what’s been achieved so far.

  • 792 catalog entries online in the Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database, including manufactured and handmade furniture, ceramics, art pottery, china painting, quilts, needlework, metalwork, and much more. To browse the database, click here.
  • 31 content contributors from all over the state, ranging from small-town historical societies to major museums. Click here for a full list of the sites I’ve worked with since beginning this project. Behind this list are the dozens of dedicated volunteers and staff members at these institutions who have so generously shared their time and knowledge with me.
  • The Finest in the Western Country: Wisconsin Decorative Arts 1820-1900 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This exhibition was a wonderful opportunity to introduce this subject to a broad audience and to show off the work of some of the many skilled craftspeople in early Wisconsin.
  • Equal to Any in the Market: The Furniture Trade in Mineral Point, Wisconsin at Pendarvis State Historic Site. This exhibition of furniture made and used in Mineral Point is coming up on its final (of three) seasonal runs at Pendarvis. The site opens for its 2009 season on May 12.
  • Internships–I’ve partnered with the Material Culture Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to provide internship opportunities for several students. Calli Neumann, who recently received her B.A. in Art History from UW-Madison, and Maggie Ordon, a graduate student in the UW-Madison Design Studies program, both helped me with image processing, data entry and research. Theresa Haffner-Stearns, a recent graduate of the Design Studies program, spent the summer of 2008 working with the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society.
  • Presentations–I’ve shared information on building metadata for three-dimensional objects in panel sessions for the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians, the Wisconsin Council for Local History and the Upper Midwest CONTENTdm Users Group. I’ve presented a lecture on Mineral Point furniture for the Mineral Point Historical Society’s annual meeting and lyceum and a lecture on early Wisconsin decorative arts at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

My goals for 2009 are to expand the database content, incorporating artifacts from private collections as well as public institutions, and to increase awareness of the program through public programming and more student outreach. Stay tuned!

Posted by Emily Pfotenhauer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s