Mission and Purpose of Collections

The mission of the Whitman College Collections is to enhance the educational mission of Whitman College and to preserve the material heritage of Whitman College, the Walla Walla community, and the Southeastern Washington region. As a major repository for art and artifacts that are important to the history and culture of the College and the wider community, the Collections serve multiple purposes:

  • To advance the educational objectives of Whitman College by presenting exhibitions and programs that support the curriculum, acquiring relevant objects and artworks, and providing study and research opportunities for faculty and students.
  • To contribute to the cultural life of the Walla Walla community and the greater Southeastern Washington region.
  • To preserve and present the history of Whitman College and the Walla Walla community and to serve as a historical resource for local, regional, and national audiences.

The Whitman College Collections consists of the Donald H. Sheehan Gallery (fine art/sculpture), Maxey Museum (historical and cultural artifacts), Whitman College and Northwest Archives (historical documents and books, historical records of the College and region), Science Collections and Specimens, and a variety of department-specific collections, such as maps and geological specimens housed in the Department of Geology.

Collections in the Classroom

Whether ancient Grecian coins, traditional agricultural tools, paintings by Pacific Northwest artists, fossils from our prehistoric past, or photographic and other records from the diverse communities who have called eastern Washington home over the centuries, our collections provide invaluable opportunities for students to learn concretely rather than just abstractly.   By using the College’s collections in their classes, our faculty literally put history, politics, anthropology, biology and many other disciplines into the hands of students. Innovative assignments that our faculty design around our collections further enhance students’ learning by giving them the chance to share their scholarly work through exhibits and presentations shared with public audiences.

Collection Committee Charge

In 2013 a committee was created to oversee Whitman College collections and to integrate use of the collections across the various programs of the College. It meets several times throughout the academic year to:

  • Evaluate collection policies and procedures
  • Review budgetary and facility needs
  • Direct proposed gifts to the appropriate campus college collections entity
  • Conduct other general business related to the care and functioning of all of the Whitman College Collections.

Committee members for 2018-19:

Daniel Forbes, Sheehan Gallery
Kynde Kiefel, Sheehan Gallery
Libby Miller, Maxey Museum
Ben Murphy, Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Dana Bronson, Whitman College and Northwest Archives
Celina Coffeen, Biology Lab and Safety Coordinator
Jenny Stratton, Herbarium Volunteer
Lisa Perfetti, Provost Office (faculty development), Chair
Rachna Sinnott, Grants and Foundations Relations
Sarah Hurlburt, French
Heidi Dobson, Biology
Krista Gulbransen, Art History and Visual Culture
Kisha Schlegel, English

The Collections Committee Policy Manual provides more detail on the Committee's responsibilities and the various policies it oversees.