Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Esteban M. Gómez, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bonnie Clark

Third Advisor

Hava Gordon


Femininity, Molly Brown, Museum, New museology, Performativity, Victorian


Despite making up around half of the global population, women are consistently underrepresented in museums. Where women's experiences are present in exhibitions and programming, they are often misrepresented within an entrenched heteronormative and patriarchal framework. Through this thesis, I show how Denver's Molly Brown House Museum works to upset traditional narratives through their dynamic interpretation of the life of their namesake, Margaret Tobin Brown. Using new museology, feminist anthropology, and performance theory, I analyze data from staff interviews and tour participant observation to explore how the museum deconstructs popular understandings of historical femininity. Through visitor surveys, I measure the extent to which the museum is changing visitors' perceptions of womanhood in the past. By relating Mrs. Brown's experiences to those of modern-day visitors, the museum joins several other notable institutions nationwide in re-shaping the way museums represent women.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Emily Starck


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

212 p.


Museum Studies, Women's Studies, American History