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Perspectives on a Legacy Collection: Sallie Casey Thayer’s Gift to the University of Kansas

SKU: 9760913689990
SKU: 9780913689998
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Perspectives On a Legacy Collection
Sallie Casey Thayer's Gift to the University of Kansas


Edited by Celka Straughn and Kristan M. Hanson


In 1917, Kansas City–based art collector Sallie Casey Thayer offered her collection of nearly 7,500 art objects to the University of Kansas to form a museum “to encourage the study of fine arts in the Middle West.” Her diverse collection included paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, furniture, textiles, metalwork, ceramics, glass, and other decorative objects, primarily from Europe and Asia. Based on this gift, the University of Kansas Museum of Art opened its doors in 1928. The Museum’s collection continued to expand, and in 1978 was rehoused in a new building and named the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art to honor the primary donor to the facility. In 2007, the Spencer’s collection grew again when it assumed stewardship of the former KU Museum of Anthropology’s holdings of artistic significance, consisting of nearly 9,000 objects representing arts and cultures of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania.


Perspectives On a Legacy Collection is a heavily-illustrated volume containing essays about Thayer's gift of art to the University of Kansas. Authors and contributors to this work include KU professors, museum staff, KU students and graduate students, and other stakeholders on campus and friends of the Spencer Museum.


ISBN 9780913689998
Paperback, 460 pages


About the Editors
Celka Straughn joined the Spencer Museum of Art in 2009 and currently serves as the Deputy Director for Public Practice, Curatorial, and Research. Her teaching and scholarly work on museums explores collecting practices, museums and markets, colonial and global museum discourses, cross-disciplinary museum learning and engagement, and museum ethics. Her doctoral dissertation (University of Chicago) and related publications examine Jewish art and Expressionism in early twentieth-century Germany.


Kristan M. Hanson is a 2020-2021 Plant Humanities Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. She earned her PhD in art history from the University of Kansas. Her research applies digital humanities methods and tools to the study of Parisian art, society, and plant culture to chart female mobility at sites of horticultural labor and leisure, while elucidating issues of gender and power in transregional trade networks. She has received fellowships and awards from the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, the HASTAC Scholars program, and Hall Center for the Humanities. She has been the Andrew W. Mellon Coordinator of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art. Prior to that, she worked as a research assistant for the exhibition Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU.

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