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

Final Reflections on Botany Hall

I began this project to rediscover a history of Botany Hall that had been greatly neglected in hopes that the work that these women dedicated their lives to no longer goes unnoticed. I also hoped that the lives of Dorothy L. Pearth, Hanne von Fuehrer, and Elizabeth Niedringhaus would help answer those broader questions concerning the relationship between museums and gender I posed in the introduction. How was the Natural History Museum accessible to women?  Was Botany Hall an environment which allowed women to flourish, one that confined them to a subject that was considered “appropriate”, or one that was passed off as “women’s work”? 

From the knowledge I have gained by researching the role of women in Botany Hall, I have come to realize that the varying degrees of agency afforded to women were reflections of society at that time. Receiving proper recognition of one's work was considerably more difficult than in the 1960s and 70s. No matter what decade, these three women found ways to defy and fight against the restrictions and obstacles of their time. 

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