Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

6/1/2016 - 6/30/2018

Funding Totals

$99,948.00 (approved)
$97,595.52 (awarded)

Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College—Bristol Collection Reference Resources Project

FAIN: PW-234728-16

Beloit College (Beloit, WI 53511-5595)
Nicolette B. Meister (Project Director: July 2015 to June 2019)

Cataloging 436 historic Mexican textiles and related artifacts from the Frances Bristol Collection and Archive, as well as rehousing related archival materials, digitizing 7,444 slides and 276 archival images, and creating a comprehensive finding aid for the collection as a whole.

Beloit College's Logan Museum of Anthropology seeks a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation grant in the amount of $99,948 from NEH to make the intellectual content of the Frances Bristol Collection and Archive widely accessible through cataloging, digitization, rehousing, and finding-aid creation. The Bristol Collection is an important scholarly and cultural resource that documents over four decades of craft production, ethnic and linguistic identity, cultural tourism, economic development, and community change in Oaxaca, Mexico and includes an associated archive of notes and images constituting 34 volumes and over 8,995 slides and photographs. Because the Bristol Collection is so well documented, it is extremely well positioned to be a unique resource for scholarship, education, and public programming.

Associated Products

Oaxacan Textiles, Markets, and Communities (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Oaxacan Textiles, Markets, and Communities
Abstract: The Mexican state of Oaxaca has a centuries-old market system that links artisans and communities in a complex economic network with ties to the wider global capitalist system. In his talk, Dr. Wood will address how the “lives” of the Oaxacan textiles in the Logan Museum’s Bristol Collection began in this complex web of artisan-weavers and the market towns where such items are bartered, bought, and sold
Author: Dr. William Warner Wood
Date: 12/8/17
Location: Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Primary URL:

Developing and Funding Curricular Resources (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Developing and Funding Curricular Resources
Author: Carolyn Jenkinson
Author: Nicolette Meister
Abstract: Much attention has focused on how academic museums employ object-based learning to make curricular use of collections that engage faculty and students. But how do academic museums develop intellectual points of access to collections that make these curricular connections possible? This session will focus on how strategic planning, project development, and federal grant writing can foster greater access to collections and provide students invaluable experimental learning opportunities. The Logan Museum of Anthropology has a successful track record of securing federal grants to facilitate collections preservation and access. The museum is currently implementing a National Endowment for the Humanities funded project focused on digitizing and cataloging a collection of textiles from Oaxaca, Mexico. Ms. Meister will speak to how the museum used strategic planning and project development to position itself to be “grant ready” and how infusing student opportunities in grant proposals can strengthen project significance and relevance. Ms. Jenkinson will discuss the project’s implementation and how to strike a balance between project objectives and meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students. By modeling best practices in project design and implementation this project can serve as an example of how these methods can engender positive student outcomes: critical thinking, problem-solving, confidence, and the ability to work independently.
Date: 6/22/18
Primary URL:

Attention to Detail (Article)
Title: Attention to Detail
Author: Whitney Helm
Abstract: Frances Bristol assembled an important textile collection that documents cultural changes, especially in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her chance meeting with a Beloit professor led this rich resource to the Logan Museum of Anthropology.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Access Model: open access
Format: Magazine
Periodical Title: Beloit College Magazine
Publisher: Beloit College Magazine

Symmetries in the Woven Tunics of Oaxaca, Mexico (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Symmetries in the Woven Tunics of Oaxaca, Mexico
Author: Dr. Darrah P. Chavey
Abstract: The clothing weavers of the state of Oaxaca in Mexico create highly decorated “huipil” tunics, which generally consist of multiple geometric patterns woven together. As with many cultures that enjoy such designs, all 7 strip symmetry groups appear in the collection of huipils we investigated, but some strip patterns were substantially rarer than others. There appear to be weaving reasons for some of the difference in frequencies. One strip pattern, pmm2, essentially only appears on the shoulder bands of these tunics, and may be related to a desire for a 3-dimensional “front-to-back” symmetry imposed upon the symmetries that appear in a more “standard” Oaxaca design. A surprisingly large number of variations of strip symmetries appear in these huipil, including 3-color and 4-color symmetry; combinations of adjacent strips with varying symmetries; and deliberate symmetry breaking. One huipil gives the impression of a weaver consciously playing with, or experimenting with, glide reflections. We will look at this collection of huipil tunics as an example of the interaction between geometric art and the cultural standards of the Oaxaca weavers
Date: 1/13/18

Ancient Looms, Modern Threads (Exhibition)
Title: Ancient Looms, Modern Threads
Curator: Carolyn Jenkinson
Abstract: Through textile displays, videos, and diagrams this exhibition investigates the present-day production and use of a traditional woman's dress-like garment called a huipil (pronounced wee­ peal) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Showcasing huipiles from the Logan Museum's Frances Bristol Collect!on, the exhibition explores : How do indigenous weavers In Oaxaca construct huipiles on backstrap looms? How have these garments been adapted and preserved as expressions of cultural identity? How have these textiles changed over time to include new materials, new designs, and new audiences?
Year: 2017
Primary URL: