Bliss Travel Award Recipients
Dumbarton Oaks offers travel grants to Harvard students for attendance of symposia. Two award recipients share their experience of the symposium below. More information about the awards is available here.
Leah Aronowsky is a second-year PhD student in History of Science at Harvard University. She is currently developing a project on the history of science exploration and natural history collecting in the mid-nineteenth century United States.
The symposium was a profoundly stimulating experience for me. I am currently training to be a historian of natural history in the nineteenth-century United States, and I am particularly interested in the history of technologies for representing objects found in the natural world in museum and laboratory settings (such as science illustrations, field notes, and taxidermy). Despite the differences in timeframe and geographic region, I found that many of the questions symposium participants ask in their research are relevant to my own interests: themes such as botany in the context of visibility and mobility of empire and the consideration of natural objects as a set of relationships and processes resonate deeply with my own work. The presentations prodded me to think about how the practices of natural history in the nineteenth century differ from those of the eighteenth. The answer to this is, of course, the task of an entire dissertation, but I am grateful that the symposium afforded me the opportunity to think about these issues in a more concrete way.
Jasmine Casart graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in History of Science last summer. During the summer, she was a Rare Book intern at Dumbarton Oaks.
It was a great joy to return to my summer home and job at Dumbarton Oaks for the symposium. I enjoyed working with Sarah Burke Cahalan and Deirdre Moore in putting the finishing touches on the online and onsite exhibit the week before the symposium. However, it was just as rewarding to present the exhibits to symposium participants in those action-packed two days of talks and tours. Volunteering and greeting participants during the symposium days was a great way to make visitors feel welcome and I loved meeting the diverse and friendly symposium-goers. A handful of participants told me how much they enjoyed the exhibits and talks, taking away new insights and pleasant memories from their few days at Dumbarton Oaks. This symposium and the exhibits were beautiful ways to honor the 50th anniversary of the Rare Book Room and brought knowledge and happiness to many people, myself included. A hearty thanks to Sarah, Deirdre, Yota, Francisco, the Bliss Award fund and the entire faculty and staff of Dumbarton Oaks for their warmth and generosity!