Women's History in House Museums: How Using Local Archives Can Improve Their Histories
AuthorClark, Jessica C.
AdvisorBruggeman, Seth C., 1975-
Committee memberKlepp, Susan E.
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/979
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AbstractWhile scholarship in recent decades has begun investigating women's history, museums and historical sites have been slower to do so. Although house museums are more open to interpreting women's history, the histories present often remain limited to the family and the house. In this thesis, I argue that by exploring local archival collections for women's voices, house museums can improve their presentation of women's history. Specifically, I investigate connecting nursing history to upper middle class lifestyles through the Chew family at Cliveden, historical house museum. This paper begins by exploring three local Germantown sites to analyze how women are currently presented on the house tour. Next, I investigate the letters and records of two Chew women, Anne Sophia Penn Chew and Mary Johnson Brown Chew for health concerns, care giving, and the presence of hired nurses. I then explore early nursing training programs at collections housed at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. Using the records of nursing training programs, including the Woman's Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, and the Visiting Nurse Society of Philadelphia, connections are made between the new trend for educated nurses and upper middle class women and lifestyle, specifically the Chews. Based on my findings, I then propose a method to interpret nursing history on the current house tour at Cliveden. For sources, I especially rely on the documents of the Chew family housed the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I also draw heavily on the various nursing program records at the Bates Center.
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