Prof. Mary-Catherine Ferguson
Module 3-2 Short Answer: Virtual Tour
1. Choose two cultural works that catch your attention. Identify the name of each cultural
work and describe why you chose each one. Share a link for each.
2. Compare your chosen works. How do you think each cultural work reflects its time
period? Point to specific details that you see to relate them to elements of culture, such
as what is valuable or meaningful to a group of people or what elements reflect history,
beliefs, experiences, or other effects of culture.
3. Now state a question about key aspects of human culture in relation to one of the cultural
works selected. For example, what does a specific urn tell us about the nature of death?
4. Then, briefly explain how you might go about doing research to find an answer to your
question. For example, what keywords might you use in your search, where might you
begin your research, or whom might you consult?
After browsing through the module resources, I chose one cultural work from the National
Portrait Gallery, and the other from the Smithsonian Museum. From the National Portrait
Gallery, I landed on “Every Eye is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States”. First Ladies of
the United States exhibition: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery | The first major exhibition to
explore the historical significance of this prominent position through portraiture. My reasoning
for choosing this work is by reason of being a woman myself, the headline promptly captured my
attention. Many times, we do not get to see behind the scenes of our president’s lives, including
family life. I needed to learn more about the women behind the men who have run our country
and what their perspective was. The next cultural work I chose is “Cat in Eakin’s Yard”. Cat in
Eakins's Yard | Smithsonian Institution (si.edu) I have always been an avid animal lover for as
long as I can remember, and it was easy for me to choose this piece, as I wanted to know more
about it and its origin.
Martha Washington, wife of George Washington would be considered the inaugural first lady of
the United States, although the term was not coined until some time later. Some of Martha’s
duties included being culpable for governing the presidential household as well as controlling the
private dealings of Mount Vernon. Being in the public eye, everyone is not only watching the
behaviors and decisions of the president, but they are watching his partner as well. The amount
of stress and pressure that this creates is unimaginable. In the times of George Washington, the
role of first lady was to oversee all things homely; but that portrayal has since evolved over the
centuries. During the nineteenth century, first ladies kept a low legislative profile. A majority of
first ladies are the president’s wives, but there are times where the president is a bachelor or a
widow, and in these instances members of the family will be elected to fill the role. Fast forward
to the beginning of the twentieth century. Increased precise obligations were added to the first
lady’s job description. Presently, first ladies routinely dedicate their energy to honorable causes
and campaigns for the duration of their terms. (For example, Nancy Reagan and the “Just Say
No” campaign to combat the war on drugs, and Betty Ford worked on removing the negative
connotation attached to addiction, while promoting recovery). Albeit first ladies are not elected
officials, they still hold a powerful position in the White House and can have the ability to
influence the President.
Thomas Eakin’s was most known for being a realist painter, sculptor, photographer, and fine arts
instructor. Eakin’s has been recognized as one of the most meaningful artists in American art
history. His main subject matter was of friends, family members, and others from his hometown
of Philadelphia. Quite honestly, I could find little to no information on the “Cat in Eakin’s
Yard”, no matter how much I searched. I will speak on the influence of Eakin’s work since there
was more material on that. During his tenure as an artist, Eakin transformed art culture,
implementing practices that are still used today. Furthermore, he stressed the relevance of
anatomy and depicting from live, nude models. At this time, this idea was frowned upon, and not
everyone agreed that men and women should be mixed observing the nude body. Upon digging
deeper into the life of Thomas Eakin’s, I found disturbing information that could account for his
interest in the human body. Eakin’s had been accused of sexually molesting his niece, as well as
engaging in incest with his own sister. Although these assumptions never produced actual
evidence, there was a numerous amount of these accusations throughout Eakin’s life. The most
shocking part in this is that these allegations of sexual infractions are commonly left out of
textbooks and sources in relation to Thomas Eakins.
The question I am proposing is with reference to Thomas Eakin.
Would society today ignore the same sexual allegations made against Eakin because
of an individual’s notoriety?
To find the answer to my question I would utilize the resources provided to me. Resources
including the SNHU library, my professor, my classmates, and the internet. From what I have
gathered thus far, I feel that my professor would be a valuable resource. Reading her
introduction to the class, response to discussion board posts, and her feedback on
assignments, it is obvious that she is knowledgeable on the arts and humanities.
o allegations against
o sexual harassment
o famous sexual assault cases
First Ladies of the United States exhibition: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. (n.d.). First
Ladies of the United States Exhibition: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Cat in Eakins’s Yard. (n.d.). Smithsonian Institution. https://www.si.edu/object/cat-eakinss-
The First, First Lady. (n.d.). George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
First Lady’s Role | George W. Bush Library. (n.d.). Www.georgewbushlibrary.gov. Retrieved
May 23, 2022, from https://www.georgewbushlibrary.gov/research/topic-guides/first-
Adams, H. (n.d.).IThomas Eakins: Brilliant painter, gifted photographer ... sexual predator?IThe
Conversation. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://theconversation.com/thomas-eakins-