You are here:Home/Research/ Library and Archives/ Institutional Archives/ Historical Records/ Oral History Project/ Loa Traxler

Loa Traxler

Oral History Interview with Loa Traxler, undertaken by Jeanne-Nicole Saint-Laurent on July 12, 2009, at the University of Pennsylvania. At Dumbarton Oaks, Loa Traxler was Assistant Curator of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art in the Pre-Columbian Studies program (1998–2003).

JS: We are here today at the University of Pennsylvania. It is Monday, July 13. My name is Jeanne-Nicole Saint-Laurent and I have the honor of interviewing Loa Traxler. If you would please tell me, what were your first impressions of Dumbarton Oaks and how you first became affiliated with it and the beginning of your story with your knowledge of Dumbarton Oaks and how that began for you?

LT: Well, I first learned about Dumbarton Oaks as a student through a couple different channels, first being having access to the publications of the conference proceedings that Dumbarton Oaks has assembled and published for years and years and years. My scholarly work and my graduate studies have all been in New World archaeology, so of course the publications from the Pre-Columbian department are part of the basic literature that you read for all kinds of topics in New World studies. So, there were lots of occasions when in the course of my graduate training in particular I had reason to pull Dumbarton Oaks conference volumes off the library shelves and had to pore through them. And over the wide spread of those publications, of course the ones early in the series of conferences from the Pre-Columbian department include not only the scholarly presentations and chapters, but also at the end of the volume those early years also include transcriptions of the question-and-answer period after the conference, so that I always found very entertaining. And then as I progressed in my graduate work there were various conferences that came up that were relevant to the scholarly direction that my studies were taking, so I had the opportunity a couple of different times to actually attend the Pre-Columbian symposia in the fall at Dumbarton Oaks.

JS: When would this have been? In what era?

LT: I started graduate school here at Penn in the Anthropology Department in 1987, so I took courses actively for three years with varying professors here, including Bob Sharer and Clark Erickson – both were former Senior Fellows from the Pre-Columbian Studies department – and also just generally across other courses the Dumbarton Oaks volumes were always on a bibliography for lots of different classes. And then I would say by the early ’90s and certainly through the ’90s there were several of the Pre-Columbian symposia that I attended because those symposia are always a really interesting program, it’s held in such a beautiful setting, you always feel – it’s always a special event to go to Dumbarton Oaks for a symposium because they’re typically very engaging and also really very good events to get to know people and to see people in a context outside of the classroom, which is always very important.

JS: Right. And in which area were you primarily affiliated with Dumbarton Oaks within Pre-Columbian Studies?

LT: Well, I was the assistant curator for Pre-Columbian Studies from August of 1998 until the very end of the calendar year 2003. So, at that time Pre-Columbian Studies was one umbrella department which included both the museum curatorial side, which was my responsibility, as well as the scholarly program side, which was at that point the primary responsibility of Jeff Quilter, who was the Director of Pre-Columbian Studies when I worked at Dumbarton Oaks. So, it was all folded within that study department at the time whereas now in 2009 and for several years it’s been slightly parceled out a little bit differently than it had been in some previous times. So, my main responsibilities were museum collections-related primarily, whereas Jeff was primarily the program director and he had responsibility of course for all the academic and the publication aspects of the day-to-day job, whereas I tended to have more of the responsibility for the collections and the gallery work as well as working with photo collections and loans – was responsible for the early digitization work that we did that the institution took and as it was carried out in Pre-Columbian Studies, that whole swirl of much more collections-driven and gallery-driven activities were really primarily my responsibility.

JS: While you were there were there a lot of changes going on in the collection or how things were being curated or handled, or with whom were you working, or whose position were you connected to when you came, or was that a new position when you arrived?

LT: No, when I arrived there had been an assistant curator for – that position had existed for many years. The departmental history, which I’m sure you have from other sources, there was one point person who was the head of the Pre-Columbian department for a long time, Betty Benson of course, and then with the more formalizing of Pre-Columbian Studies and Garden Studies as academic departments and programs more on similar footing as the Byzantine Studies had existed for a long time at that point, the formalizing of Pre-Columbian Studies in the early ’80s of course was associated also with Elizabeth Boone’s time as the Director of Pre-Columbian Studies. So, by the time I – and under Elizabeth Boone’s period I believe is when the assistant curator position was first created. And when I came on board there had been an assistant curator who had been at Dumbarton Oaks for several years, Carol Callaway, who had sadly passed away. I had never met her. She had been the assistant curator for several years and had passed away of cancer before I came to Dumbarton Oaks, and I in fact inherited the position from a person who was holding it for one year after Carol had passed away. I can see his face and why can’t I say his name? I just saw him a month ago at Dumbarton Oaks. His name will come to me, I apologize for not remembering. Oh, I can see his face and I can’t say his name! He was someone that Jeff Quilter knew very well and came in for, essentially, as a one year replacement following Carol’s passing. And so, I inherited the job from him and it of course had been somewhat a topsy-turvy time for him because he was trying to put in order a lot of things that Carol had had in process, so everything from the various catalog projects that were ongoing in Pre-Columbian Studies to all kinds of ongoing external loan discussions, and all sorts of things sort of came to me with lots of different chapters of their evolution documented. But other parts of the department had been quite stable and ongoing for several years, of course. My office mate at the time – my office was in the basement level at that point in the Johnson Wing, and my office I shared with Bridget Gazzo who was the Pre-Columbian librarian, and our office space was the very northeastern office at the basement level in the Johnson Wing. So, that’s where we hung our hat. And at the time the area southeastern of the basement level was where Jeff Quilter’s office was as a director with the front area defined as the administrative assistant, who initially when I started was Janice Williams, and then there were a couple different changes in that position. People, you know – it was often a fairly, a shorter term job because bright people went on to bigger and better things. There were a lot of really great administrative assistants that came through that position. So yes, we basically held down the eastern half of the basement of the Johnson Wing, and so much of Pre-Columbian Studies was really quite stable and happily in process when I arrived on the scene.

JS: And so, who was the director at that time? Was that Ned Keenan when you came?

LT: When I was hired, I was actually hired by Angeliki Laiou.

JS: Oh, you were. Okay.

LT: I was, at the very end of her tenure as Director. In fact, I met her briefly when I interviewed for the position and then when I actually came back to start preparations for moving to Washington, etc. she already had decamped at that point. So, that was the summer of ’98. And Ned Keenan did not in fact settle in until the very end of the summer. And I think that very first year he still had teaching responsibilities in Cambridge so, I think I’m remembering right, that first year he traveled back and forth quite a bit before completely moving to Georgetown and settling in initially at the old director’s house and then the new director’s house that’s across from the Fellows Building, now Guest House. All the buildings have changed names of course since the new library construction and all the reorganization of spaces and relocation of various things.

JS: And were they still acquiring – what was the acquisitions like at that time, or was it things had already been collected or was it – ?

LT: Oh, the Pre-Columbian collection had been in essence been very stable and not an actively collecting department for years. In the mid-’70s there was a lot of discussion between Betty Benson and the Senior Fellows. The Senior Fellows Board at that time in the ’70s was, oh, at one point it was really quite large, up to say a dozen scholars, but the spectrum of affiliated scholars who were the Senior Fellows in that period were quite emphatic, for all sorts of very good reasons, that the Pre-Columbian Studies department not pursue purchases of objects for the collection. So, there were various things over the ’70s, particularly following Mrs. Bliss’ departure, her passing, when there were things given to the collection, to Pre-Columbian Studies, and that’s really the only avenue through which the collection grew much in the ’70s – well, in the past thirty years – and for very good reason. There was enough concern in the scholarly community, particularly in New World studies, that acquiring things from the art market galleries and dealers was potentially encouraging the illicit antiquities market. There were a lot of concerns, with good reason, for wanting to really do everything possible in the scholarly world to discourage the trafficking in illicitly acquired material, which at that time, and still today, there are many, many archaeological zones and sites that had been devastated, particularly in the ’60s and ’70s in the tropics of Central America as well as all along the Andes and the coast of Peru particularly, as well as in all of the west coast of south America. So, there was a pretty conscious set of decisions made in the mid and late ’70s by the Senior Fellows and the Director, the head of Pre-Columbian Studies at that time, to no longer purchase material but to allow the collection to grow through gifts or other kinds of loans or other kinds of arrangements. So, there really had not been very many acquisitions, accessioned material, entering the Pre-Columbian Collection. It’s a pretty stable collection. It really is this iconic slice in time. The Bliss history of course in terms of acquiring Pre-Columbian materials is, well, there are many people who can speak more eloquently about it than I, but essentially it was Mr. Bliss’ fascination during his adult life and retirement, and he was very much interested in stone sculpture and metal objects etc., so that was really his focus of Pre-Columbian material. And after he passed away, Mrs. Bliss added various things to the Pre-Columbian Collection: ceramics, Maya pottery and vases, etc. A lot of those came in after Mr. Bliss had gone but while Mrs. Bliss was still adding things to the collection. And then when she passed away there were a lot of things given in their memory to the collection. But primarily it’s still at its core Mr. Bliss’, you know, the objects of his affection, as it were. And it’s only on rare occasion in the years after, in the ’90s and current decade, that anything has really been accessioned. And at present, to my knowledge, the only things entered recently have been things given and accessioned as part of the study collection. The Bliss collection per se is really in essence a closed collection. There was a gift in the late ’90s by a woman, a resident of Washington D.C., Mrs. Espinosa. She gave – oh, now I’m trying to remember how many objects – maybe between probably twenty-five and thirty objects to Dumbarton Oaks as a set. It was Pre-Columbian material that her husband had collected. He was an orchestra conductor from South America and they had lived for years in Washington and had retired in Washington and it was his personal collection. So, that came to Dumbarton Oaks as a gift, and instead of being integrated into the Bliss collection, it’s a study collection. And there in recent years have been a few things here and there that have been given to Dumbarton Oaks in similar fashion and those are all held, in essence, separately as study material because the Bliss collection really is this very iconic early expression of interest in Pre-Columbian art in the United States. His collection is one of the most – it was really very important early on for presenting to the art world as well as to society what art – in that era it was all glossed as primitive art – but, what art expression looked like in the Americas at a time when even the dating of all kinds of cultures and the materials in the collections couldn’t be very accurately assigned a date or even a date range. So, from that standpoint the Bliss collection is really quite important in the history of Pre-Columbian studies.

JS: Right. That’s very interesting. What were some of the more exciting elements in terms of what your responsibilities were or things that you got to do or be a part of or projects that stand out in your memory both while you were there and then even up until today with your continued association with D.O.?

LT: Well, there were a lot of things that we put in motion while I was working at Dumbarton Oaks. The transition from Angeliki to Ned Keenan was of course a pretty significant institutional change. All of the work that was set in motion to really bring the collections into the digital management and digital age to be at all comparable to the way the library had transitioned into a more modern management and union catalog approach etc., all of those changes were put in motion while I was there. So, it was everything from – when I first arrived at Dumbarton Oaks we began the process of evaluating collections management software to basically capture and handle all of the information reflecting the diverse collections across the institution – objects, photography, paper arts, the House Collection, the decorative arts, the whole gamut – because prior to that – I mean, one thing that Ned Keenan really did try to do was to integrate the library as a library whole, and in like fashion the museum and the collections and the historic museum material as a comparable whole –

JS: Unit.

LT: Exactly. So, part of that was creating an integrated management approach and the underpinning, underlying database and shared policies and practices across the different study areas to support that kind of integrated work with the object collections, the art collections. So, in the library domain that’s all very standard practice, but for Dumbarton Oaks which has a museum with actually a very small and very atomistic sort of organization, each study program had exclusive control over its collections and really were pretty internal in the sense of how various kinds of activities were organized or managed with very little cross departmental – certainly no cross departmental responsibilities – but very little cross departmental exchange of standards or what have you. So, when we were looking at how to really integrate all the different information in the hands of the different departments into one database, for example, that took quite a bit of doing to get everybody to the same point realizing that this was well worth the effort and that it would make a lot of aspects of everyone’s day to day work much more manageable. So, that was one big effort. All of the various things that related to that, all of the work to move toward the renovation and the reorganization of activities across the institution, all the preceding steps that led up to the library construction and the renovation of the historic buildings, the creation of new spaces and integrated storage for the object collections, the reorganization of where people’s activities took place, all of that took lots of discussions and lots of planning that really pulled lots of people together in ways that hadn’t really been part of your day-to-day life before. So, those were all very exciting projects to be part of, even just the press to begin packing and moving the collections which started my last year there. So, in Pre-Columbian Studies I was responsible for working with, in essence, the move team to really plan and execute the beginning of the collections move, and then that was taken over by my successor Juan Antonio Murro after he came on board and completed the move, and then of course ultimately he and Miriam worked on the reinstallation of the galleries. And fortunately I was able to come back as a consultant for the reinstallation and the work for the display texts and signage and all that work to reopen the Johnson Wing, which was very exciting. I was really pleased to be able to help with that because it was very difficult for me to leave in 2003 at the point when I had to step down from my position there. I had an opportunity to come into a position here at Penn Museum at that point in time, and so it was awfully hard to leave my curatorial job at Dumbarton Oaks, so I was very pleased at the end to be able to come back and help with the reopening of the Johnson Pavilion and Pre-Columbian galleries because that was something that was very much of interest to me.

JS: It seems like you really got to bridge several different – there was a lot of different time – “era” would be maybe perhaps too strong of a word, but you were a bridge between several different steps in that, in the recent history of the Pre-Columbian Collection. Did you, or how do you today see, or what role do you see Dumbarton Oaks, specifically the Collection and the work that’s spent on the Collection and publications about it, what role does that fulfill for the greater field of Pre-Columbian studies? That is to say, how is Dumbarton Oaks serving the field as you see it today?

LT: Oh, well Dumbarton Oaks – well, certainly for Pre-Columbian studies in a similar way as it serves the Byzantine studies world – Dumbarton Oaks is still one of the most important pieces of the ongoing scholarly support from lots of different angles. It not only provides well-funded and tremendously enhanced fellowship opportunities for students, the publication series is ongoing from the conferences, and because Dumbarton Oaks is able to subvent the cost of those publications it means that students really can afford to buy conference volumes, which is colossally expensive in academic publishing. The events themselves are extremely important and often quite timely in terms of particular themes, relevant themes, in Pre-Columbian studies, and just the fact that the library continues to grow, that the fellowship program continues to expand even if it’s not as great in expansion in terms of fellowship slots as we might like to see, it’s still a tremendously important resource for the field because it’s not only available to North American students but it’s truly open to international students from all over, and that’s a huge benefit. The library is such a strong resource and it’s just a tremendous resource for scholars studying art and archaeology in the New World. So, the various publications that in fact we are continuing with at Dumbarton Oaks – I’m participating right now in the production of another collection catalog, the Maya art at Dumbarton Oaks is now in the writing phase for that catalog. We just had a study phase in June of this year looking again with the group of scholars looking directly at the objects and talking amongst the group about ways to approach the catalog, and that’s going to be out published in very short order. So, that contribution to Pre-Columbian studies is extremely important. We have – the Andean catalog really set a very high bar for not only intellectual content but the production and the presentation of the material in the Bliss collection, and so now following that – and that was initiated after Elizabeth Boone’s era – so following from that we’ve had the Olmec catalog come out by Karl Taube, we’ve had the Central Mexican catalog come out, it’s on the verge of being printed, under Susan Evans, the Maya catalog will come out in short order, and we hope down the road to be able to actually return and revitalize the Lower Central American catalog which would be extremely important to have the intermediate area catalog as well. And just all of the scholarship that went into the reinstallation of the galleries is a tremendous contribution in the field. The institution just has tremendous resources and because it’s had the luxury of having the financial underpinning to keep a lot of these scholarly efforts going long-term, it’s still an important anchor in the field. Hopefully Harvard and the administrative committee will be able to maintain the good stead of the endowments and keep it going for decades to come because it’s an important part of New World scholarship. There are very few other – gosh, there just aren’t other opportunities like that in the field.

JS: Do you have a specific academic, social, or otherwise favorite memory from your time at Dumbarton Oaks, or a specific anecdote of a funny story that you would like to share? It’s okay if you don’t, but –

LT: Oh, well there are just so many times at Dumbarton Oaks that are really quite fond memories. You were asking earlier about other projects and things that I was involved with. The whole recapturing of parts of the history of the institution that came about in the early digitizing work that we did when we digitized a lot of the photo archives that were held in the Pre-Columbian department, that was a lot of fun. And just getting more familiar with Mr. Bliss and his travels and how that intersected with his ideas about Dumbarton Oaks and his interests – and he and Mrs. Bliss’ shared interests in collecting fine art – how that intersected with archaeological work in my area of expertise, in the Maya area, was really quite interesting. And I was talking with James Carder just a couple of weeks ago when I was there about a book project that I’m quite interested to pursue about the history of Mr. Bliss and Dumbarton Oaks as it intersects with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and I know James is quite interested in that as well, so hopefully we’ll find a way to get that in motion. But all those different photo exhibits and various things that we did, working with the great staff at Dumbarton Oaks was always just a very rewarding experience, and to this day the happy memories of Dumbarton Oaks are just how many good people, good colleagues, good fellow staff members that I still keep in touch with. It’s just a very special place in that regard, just fabulous people to work with, a beautiful place to show up for work every day, and just across the board lots of very good people to see and talk with every day.

JS: Oh, excuse me, go ahead.

LT: I was just going to say the whole gamut of everything from really difficult times to just fabulous events. I was just thinking the other day about all of the events that swirled around the garden library basement flood in the August of 2001 and all of the work that we did with Sheila Klos. She and I were really the head of the emergency response group for that flood event, and then she and I were essentially the leaders of the efforts to put together the first emergency preparedness program and protocols for the institution. All of that work in the summer of 2001 and the months following were really intensive but extremely rewarding personally for me, just expanding your working familiarity with all kinds of areas that are outside of your little wiggy scholarly world, that was really quite memorable. And of course just as soon as we were ready to reopen the libraries to prepare for the beginning of the academic year that fall season – we were ready, the library was ready to reopen after that flood and we were set to reopen on September 11 that year – and then of course the world completely changed. So, that was a very – I’ll just never forget those days in Washington, and that whole series of events at the institution were really very, very sharply, drew your attention quite sharply. But they’re just fabulous times – many lovely afternoons at the end of the day by the pool chatting with Fellows and staff members enjoying the beautiful gardens and dusk. The literal end of the work day at Dumbarton Oaks in the gardens is quite a delightful place to be. So, just, there are so many very good memories from the time that I was there, so it’s always a happy place to go back to.

JS: It’s very interesting what you mentioned about Mr. Bliss because some of the older Fellows who were old enough to actually know Mrs. Bliss and saw him a few times, Ihor Ševčenko, they didn’t have much of an impression of him one way or the other. He was a quiet man, and she was the one who was really putting on the show for the Fellows as it was. And so it’s interesting that you got to see perhaps through those photo archives more of who he was and what a dynamic individual he was behind that.

LT: Indeed.

JS: And what a team they must have been together.

LT: Yeah. And James can certainly verify they had this very close, understandably so, a very close, intimate correspondence. Whenever they were traveling separately they wrote quite frequently to each other, they kept notes and journals of their travels and really this ongoing dialogue even when they were apart.

JS: Did he learn any of the languages, the pre-Columbian languages, or did he – ?

LT: No, not to my knowledge.

JS: Was this just a hobby, or a sort of interest, or was he – ? How well informed was he, say, about pre-Columbian – ?

LT: Well, I think –

JS: Or self-taught?

LT: No, he was very much self-taught but had very good contacts and so he maintained very good and ongoing friendships with some very prominent scholarly folks in that time. And particularly at the time in his life when he retired from the diplomatic corps, when he, in ’33, ’34 – oh, James would know off the top of his head exactly when he retired – in the months following that change in his busy day to day work life, he took advantage of some free time to really do something different and it was during that period when he was really being able to relax from the pressure of a diplomatic post and responsibilities. He was able to indulge his interests in art of the pre-Columbian world and in archaeology broadly speaking, and he and Mildred traveled quite a bit and he took the opportunity to travel with a gentleman from Connecticut who was on the board of trustees for the Carnegie Institution of Washington at that time. And this gentleman, I mean, they had known each other in various capacities, but in ’34 Mr. Bliss accompanied this trustee of the CIW to visit all of the current archaeological projects that the Carnegie Institution was running in the Maya area. So, that really was a very both educational and eye-opening experience for Mr. Bliss because it was not only something completely different that he hadn’t had a chance to do – I mean, they started with much more easy entry tourism destinations in Mexico, but by the time he traveled to Guatemala and Honduras and with his traveling companion they went to some extremely remote areas and traveled by horse and mule and traveled by all of the different modes of transportation that were current in Central America at the time, under not very glamorous conditions at all. I think it was quite invigorating to him, this opportunity to really get out and see the world in a different way, and he came back quite invigorated and jazzed about the idea of Maya archaeology and pre-Columbian art generally speaking. In his notes and diary from that trip he even mused about the possibility of sponsoring an excavation in the Maya area. He of course later on sponsored – was one of the underwriters for excavations in Panama that resulted in some of the material in the collection coming to Dumbarton Oaks. But he really surrounded himself with quite well-informed and engaging people and through that channel really learned quite a bit and assembled a lot of things in the collection that are really still today extremely important in the array of works of art at Dumbarton Oaks. There’re some extremely important pieces that came, that he brought to Washington. Through those notes and diaries and correspondence you get this sense of him as a person in a way that because I’d just not had reason, never met Mrs. Bliss of course, but also have not had reason to pore through her papers or correspondence, I have a better sense of Mr. Bliss than I have of Mrs. Bliss. And it was quite an interesting time. I mean, just during that era, of course, it was a very interesting period before the Second World War because that phase in his life he was really reopening up a lot of directions of interest that they had which, of course, when the war began they had to look at things slightly differently and their lives shifted somewhat. But he’s quite an interesting character and there are all sorts of interesting little vignettes of the social swirls that revolved around Dumbarton Oaks.

JS: Well, that’s very interesting and I can probably close this up pretty soon. I don’t want to take too much more of your time, but did you have any other final thoughts? Perhaps a good place to end might be, what types of work Dumbarton Oaks would continue to do or something new, what you would envision for the role that Dumbarton Oaks would be playing in the next decade say for pre-Columbian studies or new avenues that you would like to see explored, perhaps?

LT: Well, I think so long as it’s able to really continue to do well the things that it is important and crucial – the library resource, the fellowship program, those are all quite important in the field, and if it can continue and in fact grow those opportunities for scholars, I think that would just be tremendous. The work and the investment in the reinstallation and the reinterpretation of the collections in the museum spaces and in the historical building I think are fabulous, and that is always an important contribution for an institution like Dumbarton Oaks to continue to make. And to reinterpret and revitalize those spaces on a regular, not immediate, but certainly on a regular basis means that it’s an opportunity for current scholarship to have a voice in pre-Columbian studies, because of the resources that Dumbarton Oaks has it’s important for it to be attentive to those sides of the scholarly need. But also just to continue supporting and perhaps finding avenues to be a more – to think of new ways for public outreach. The museum spaces now are much more open and attended –

JS: [Unintelligible].

LT: Well, yeah, and in important ways. And in that regard Dumbarton Oaks, because it has such focused study areas it can speak to, it can carry out a different kind of public outreach and speak to not only the scholarly community but the general educated public in a way that some other kinds of institutions can’t. So, for instance, an institution like Penn Museum here where we’re talking, it has an enormous array of cultural areas represented and an enormous burden of public outreach and education. Dumbarton Oaks has a more focused set of resources and interests so it can channel its energies in a much more targeted and strategic way. And where Dumbarton Oaks has succeeded in spades is in its focus and emphasis on the scholarly world and where, I think, if it can find opportunities to try to expand that to outreach efforts that really bring more of that scholarly heft to a broader audience, I think that is well worth it. And that’s always, there’s always – looking for a strategic opportunity is the way to do that, whether it means working with other kinds of traveling exhibits, or other kinds of – collaborating across outside the institution. It’s a very interior looking institution in many ways, for all kinds of reasons and historical predispositions, but where Dumbarton Oaks shines very well is when it also finds good ways to collaborate with other institutions. So, for instance, there was an attempt at supporting Dumbarton Oaks fellowships or teaching post-docs in other countries in the Pre-Columbian Studies program. There are a couple of positions that are funded through the Byzantine program for faculty members at other institutions in the United States, and Dumbarton Oaks had successfully begun that in Pre-Columbian Studies, and of course Joanne Pillsbury is a fine, delightful example of the Dumbarton Oaks faculty position that had been sponsored at the University of Maryland. If the institution could look for ways to reach beyond northwestern Georgetown to support the intellectual life and vigor of pre-Columbian studies, either at other academic institutions or through other kinds of fellowships elsewhere or post-doc positions or some other kind of broader international reach, I think that would be good for the field. I mean, it is a small institution with its resources, as robust as they are, they have to be carefully tended so that they continue to be robust, but finding ways to strengthen the dialogue across the Americas not only for scholars but the public is always well worth the investment. North America is a place with ever increasing Latino audiences, and Dumbarton Oaks has lots of opportunities to really be a voice in what we know about the Americas, particularly in pre-Columbian times. If we can think of how to cultivate those opportunities and take advantage of them when they come together, that I think it’s well worth it. It has a lot to say.

JS: That’s wonderful and I’m so grateful that you were able to share with us your thoughts today. And I’m going to turn this off now. Thank you very much.