Burundi style baskets made by Venantia Mukangeruka in 2010.
Plastic woven over wicker. Idaho State Historical Society, 2010.19.17, .20, .32.

This project was made possible by the dedicated students of Women in America: The Western Experience at Boise State University during spring 2012.  As the course instructor, I challenged them with a project unlike any most of them had attempted before. Not only did I require them to undertake small group work throughout the course, I asked them to work together as a class of 40 students on the same project. I required them to work with artifacts, and many of them had never considered material culture as historical evidence prior to this project. They had to undertake research in primary and secondary sources, and many found such sources to be scarce, but they persisted. Finally, I asked them to learn the WordPress platform as they edited and posted their essays.

Much of the collaboration among students inside and outside of class was eased by the generous loan of 40 iPads from the Mobile Learning Scholars Program at Boise State University. Students used their iPads extensively in researching this project, sharing documents, and editing their work. View a list of student curators.

This project also depended on the tremendous assistance of Sarah Phillips, the curatorial registrar at the Idaho State Historical Museum. When I was looking for a theme for this online exhibition, it was Sarah who suggested art and craft, and it was again Sarah who located and identified the objects you see on this site from among the approximately quarter-million objects in the museum’s collection.  Sarah laid out objects to be photographed and placed elaborate Victorian gowns on dress forms so the students could better study them.  Finally, she coordinated all photographic and online publishing permissions from the Idaho State Historical Society.

Accordingly, we also owe a debt of gratitude to the historical society for its willingness to open its collections to us and to allow my students to use the images on this site free of charge.

Finally, a few groups used Creative Commons-licensed photos from  Many thanks to the photographers who made their images available under Creative Commons.

Many thanks to everyone involved in the project.  It was a pleasure working with all of you.

Leslie Madsen-Brooks
Boise, Idaho
May 2012