Women of Science : Working Women of CMNH's Botany Hall

The Funders Behind Botany Hall

As discussed, there were many women who were vital to the creation of the museum. Until now, we've only discussed those operating within the Natural History Museum. It would be foolish to ignore the funders of Botany Hall. The two primary organizations that funded the Hall based on the museum's archival documents were the Pittsburgh Garden Center and the Western Pennsylvania Unit of the Herb Society of America.  Unsurprisingly, women were the majority in both of these organizations. There are several letters of thanks from the Natural History Museum dating back to 1961. Together, the two organizations donated thousands of dollars for the construction of Presque Isle Habitat Group and the Kitchen Garden of Herbs Diorama.

The photographs shown above bring about a different issue that has yet to be discussed. This project highlights the various ways in which the museum and the subject of Botany were accessible to women. However, it is important to discuss which groups of women would have a better opportunity over others. Intersectionality, the connected nature of social categories like race, class, and gender, needs to be addressed. The women who were a part of these finding organization were predominantly white, middle to upper middle-class women. So these spheres of the museum and the role of the funders was only accessible to a very select group of people. 

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